May 1, 2016: Rested, but still wrapping up our injuries, Jameson and I went to get a final cup of coffee with our PCT hiker discount. It was a beautiful morning and saying goodbye to Idyllwild was hard to do. After one final picture in front of the Idyllwild town center, we got a ride up to Humber Park and the Devil’s Slide Trail that would take us back to the PCT running through the San Jacinto Mountains in the San Bernardino National Forest in the late afternoon.
The beautiful morning quickly clouded over and Jameson and I found ourselves putting our pack covers on as rain, then hail, then sleet, then snow followed us up the steep series of switchbacks taking us up Devil’s Slide. About half way up, Oden and Freya joined us and we made our way up, planning to camp just after Saddle Junction at the first campsite and take the San Jacinto peak alternate the next morning. It was getting truly very cold, and the snow was really picking up at thunder could be heard. We made it up the Devil’s Slide and to Saddle Junction in the early evening. The storm began to pass, leaving no trace of the snow in its wake and clear , clear sky giving us a view of forested Idyllwild on the one side and desert Palm Springs and the Salton Sea on the other. What an amazing contrast.
We had planned to go to a campsite desginated on the Halfmile App we all used to navigate (and knowing that once we entered San Jacinto State Park there was only one allowed campground). But we found an amazing campsite with a view right before. Anticipating that we could not find a lovelier spot, we all settled in, Jameson and I pitching our tents and Oden and Freya planning to cowboy camp under the stars despite the cold. Jameson built a lovely campfire and we all sat around enjoying the much needed warmth and the good company. It was a great evening after a quick but difficult climb. It was good to be back on the PCT!
Elevation gain/loss: 1715/-52 ft.