Sunday, March 27, 2022

PCT Day 18: Mission Creek Camp 1 to Whitewater Canyon (Mile 226-218.5)

 PCT Day 18 Recap

See Day 18 Section on YouTube (coming soon)

Finally, our last of our three day adventure.  The first two days were a long and a lot of hard work so we thought we were in the homestretch with less than 8 miles back to the 2nd car we had at the trail exit.   I awoke and first thing was walk over to apologize to Oobrianoo for passing out without saying good night.    We were slow packing up camp as we had a water pump malfunction as well as had to tend to Mai's blisters, but eventually we were ready to hit the trail.

I praise Oobrianoo for his diligence of checking the FarOut app and letting us know we were actually a mile closer to our finish than what we thought.  Yeah!  However moments later he shard with us we have two uphills which totaled another 1,000 ft we had to climb to exit the canyon.   We started out the morning exiting Mission Creek where we heard gun shots.  Ends up at the end of Mission Creek there must be a dirt road that goes to a gun range so perhaps there would have been a way to break up the hike into 2 days + 1 instead of 3 straight.  

Leaving the riverbed we soon had our first hill of the day and climbed up onto a beautiful plateau which offered grand vista's of the Palm Springs basin not to mention the best panoramic views of San Jacinto.  On the plateau we ran into whole bunch more of northbound hikers.

Mai's blisters slowed her down and I think the 3 days in a row were wearing down Oobrianoo.  I still had a heavy pack so I had my own aches and pains I was dealing with.   Any one of the three of us were always ready for a break when the first was tired.   We took 3 long breaks on the 8 miles.  

We passed 25 northbound hikers on Saturday and another 25 hikers again on Sunday.  They were from all over the world including Norway, Netherlands, France, Germany, England, Iseral, and the Chech Republic.    We also passed other hikers from Washington, Michigan, Wisconsin, Utah, Virginia, and North Carolina.  We were surprised the number of solo hikers and even solo female hikers.  I guess there is even a name for friends you meet on the trail that you hike together with which is "tramilies" (trail family).

This early in the year most of the floral we saw was in the last day of the hike as it was the lowest elevation not to mention the hottest.  Spring was absolutely beautiful.  Coming off the plateau were beautiful views of the Whitewater canyon.   Also we we started running into day hikers that were doing about a 10 mile out and back hike from Whitewater Preserve to check out the scenery.  

Eventually we recognized in the distance where the PCT merges from our December hike when we also finished at Whitewater Preserve.   We had a celebration with high fives and hugs when we finally reached our car.   Running water in the bathrooms was spectacular to freshen up as well as finally taking off our hiking boots in exchange for flipflops.   

The Preserve is a popular tourist stop it appears as there were many families having bbq's.  Only one group, a pair of German hikers were in the park.  I donated 2 Mountain Dews and a coconut water as we shared pleasantries of our hikes together. 

Next was the long drive back up to Onyx summit to retrieve our 2nd car.  Sunday afternoon eastbound traffic on the I-10 was a nightmare like always, but soon we were on our side road to Rt. 38 and headed up the canyon road where most people were heading back down to the city.  

What a great experience and another bonding weekend amongst all of us!  In 18 days we have covered 252 miles of the PCT!    Oobrianoo we started at Mile 111.5 together so now the 3 of us have traveled 140.5 miles together on the trail.   We couldn't have been more lucky to make such a great friend.   Oobrianoo's help in planning has helped keep our PCT dreams.  Of course, that's not to mention long drives and general trail logistics alone would have been so much harder without him.