Opening Statement

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Monday, June 19, 2017

PCT 8 - Cruising and Climbing - Big Bear to Idyllwild - 87 PCT miles

Coon Creek Historic Cabins

This was the section where I finally felt like my "hiking legs" had returned, bringing to mind a quotation from "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," "just like thread unwinding from a spool, I want the past to become present."  In a sense, this is a hike backward through time, as day by day I hike off accumulated stress (and fat) and my fitness returns to a level that I once could take almost for granted.  Right now my fitness is similar to what I remember in my 40's.  That works out to about one year for every 50 miles hiked, so at that rate I'll have the energy of a two year old by the end of the summer.

View from the Top of Mt. San Jacinto

The big event of this section was the climb from my camp spot in the desert at the base of Mt. San Jacinto at an elevation of 1,730 feet to the peak of Mt. San Jacinto at an elevation of 10,833 feet.  Worrying that I might get caught in the heat, I started the climb at 5 AM, carrying five liters of water against a 20 mile stretch to the next reliable water source.  My timing was good since by the time the day got hot on the desert floor, I was already above 5,000 feet and enjoying cooler weather.  I camped at 8,350 feet, for a net increase of 6,620 feet that day, and hiked on to the summit the next morning.  For comparison, the Bright Angel trail from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to the Colorado river has an elevation change of 4,380, so my first-day climb covered over 50% more elevation increase.  I was tired, but felt satisfied that I could cover that much elevation in a day.

Cool Weather Again up on Mt. San Jacinto

My first night into this section I made it to the Coon Creek historic cabins and was the sole visitor that night.  The San Gorgonio Wilderness was very beautiful and still had plenty of water, making it even more enjoyable.  It was also interesting to pass by the exotic animal cages of the Predators in Action company, although a bit sad as well since these animals have limited space to live in.

With my hike down Devil's Slide trail into Idyllwild, I've now completed the trail between Campo at the Mexican Border and the Kennedy Meadows Campground at mile 704.  I saw very few Northbound hikers in the last few days, and was also the only camper at the State Park campground in Idyllwild.  A friend that lives nearby came to Idyllwild to pick me up, and I went back home via Amtrak.

My plan is to get back on trail at mile 1232.33, which means temporarily skipping over the Sierras and hiking at lower elevations for awhile due to the snow.

Here's a link to the photos for this section:


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Kevin,

    Nice to see all these beautiful pictures.

  3. Love the Benjamin Button meme, looking forward to some baby pics. Keep it up, Kevin. This is great reading...

  4. Hey Kevin - love this! I bookmarked your site when you first sent out the news, and am thrilled to see you well into your adventure. Keep it up, and all the best luck in the world to you! Diane Frye