I’m about to fall asleep inside a small hut a few steps from the top of San Jacinto peak at an elevation of 10,800 feet.
The climb from Idylwild was straight up for close to 10 miles and with 6 days of food in my pack it was a struggle. If I didn’t have Chris’ feet to follow I don’t think I could have made it, but after hearing about the hut at the top we were both determined to reach there before dark.
The day started with a visit from Dr Sole and coffee and scones with Wendy. She wanted to hit the trail early but I still had a few chores on my list including buying lunch food, cleaning out my tent and re-visiting the post office. Chris and I went back to the Red Kettle for lunch with another hiker called Austin. Once we’d ingested as much food as could possibly fit I asked a lady who was about to get into her car if we could have a lift to the trailhead. Not only did she drive us, she also gave us extra water to take with us when Chris realised he hadn’t filled up before leaving town.
We met a lot of day hikers coming back from the peak who all seemed to think it would take us a lot longer to reach the top, especially from the look of our heavy packs. The climb reminded me slightly of Kilimanjaro, just one foot in front of the other, breathing hard because of altitude and feeling slightly light headed. When we reached the hut we dropped our packs and booked it up the rocks to watch the last bit of sunlight dip beneath the horizon.
There wasn’t another soul up here even though we were told the hut may already be full of hikers. There are two bunk beds inside with sleeping mats and bags on them. I freaked out about bed bugs so I took all the bedding off and replaced it with my own. We then set up both stoves and had a sophisticated dinner on the floor of the hut consisting of chicken and vegetable pasta, carrot cake for dessert and peppermint tea.
I’ve got the alarm set for 4am so we can run up to the peak and watch the sun rise. After that we have a long hot stretch without water so a siesta may be in order. It’s such a novelty to be sleeping in a bed this high up in the wilderness.