Water: Flowing in creeks almost the whole way
Despite the incredible welcome, I have a restless night’a sleep. Powerful gusts of wind intermittently slam into the metal pole and tarp structure set up as hiker shelter and it sounds like sailboat going down. I wake swaying with memory of sleeping at sea.
The trail criss-crosses an access road for a wind farm, no surprises about why that is here. The windmills up on the ridges provide an otherworldly soundscape. A low mechanical hum overlaid with alien whistle-chirps and the occasional creaks.
Up over a ridge and the San Gorgonio Wilderness full of surprises. There is a gaping canyon, gusting wind, the kind you have to lean into, threatening to throw me off the edge and a huge river plain laid out far below. With water in it. Cool clear water for drinking and soaking feet and rinsing hair.
I walk up and across the braided channels, all dry except the first. An afternoon ridge walk is pleasant, with more views back to San Jacinto, still snowy and imposing. Down again at Mission creek, I break in the shade of a tree, with other hikers. The creek here is warm and full of tadpoles.
I walk out with Grey for he late afternoon again, hoping to catch the rest of our group. I have zero energy this afternoon and need footsteps to follow. The trail weaves back and forth across the small creek. There is water everywhere today. It should all be incredibly pleasant, it all uphill and the trail notes warn of poodle dog bush, which is like poison ivy but worse. Except we are not 100% sure what it looks like. I expend considerable effort avoiding two top contenders. Nervous each time any of he many plants brushes my legs. Until I catch up with Greyhound, who is full if local knowledge, and he says there hasn’t been any yet. Well then.
We see the rest of the crew just as they are leaving to do a few more miles. But we are done for the day. My baby blisters are not especially worse, but in need of rest. We cowboys camp with other hikers, where the valley opens up. Again with the gusts of wind and the ants. The wind is cold and still strong and blowing sand. I hide my head in the humble wind shade of my back, and sleep.