PCT Day 18: 209.5-218.5



I woke to the sound of a train in the middle of the night. Clicked play on my music and dozed back off. By daybreak I was up, packing things away and getting ready to head out. The other hikers that camped under the overpass were following suit.

In the distance I saw a woman walking up with 2 bags in her hands towards the group. “Who was this?”, I thought. I soon found out it was Deborah, a trail angel that lived in the neighborhood nearby.

She greeted us with a smile and brought breakfast and coffee, what a treat! I scarfed down a donut and said my goodbyes to the group. I hiked into the desert and the blustering wind.

Jacket on, buff pulled up, I was decently warm, and mostly glad that it wasn’t raining! I hiked in the foothills towards a dark grey cloud with windmills lining the ridgeline. I pressed on, past the neighborhood just north of the I-10, and soon hidden into the mountains to the north.

How far again??

Don’t mind the power poles!

The duality of the old broken down ranch pen (on the left) to the new modern transformer plant for the wind turbines (on the right) was a mark of the times.

I trekked through the valleys and up the sidehills chatting to hikers as we met. Marie, from France, was welcoming with a smile and wave. Her blue hat was capped over her red hair and jacket zipped up to warm her. She deliberated on stopping at a windmill Trail Angel stop that was supposed to have coffee, I pressed on.

Up and over a pass I went meeting both Nocoat and Jaime as I did. The views were great! Thunderheads grew in the distance to the north and the wind just seemed to blow harder. I hurried along, chatting as we went until finally dropping off the last ridge into the valley that housed the Whitewater Preserve, my home for the night.

Thunderheads forming

Bridges at the preserve

The preserve was pretty cool, it was an old trout hatchery that was converted to a wildlife preserve. Mountain lions, bobcats, lynx, bighorn sheep, roadrunners, lizards, dirty thu hikers, all the animals of the desert were welcome here. It was a nice place to rest, and I set my tent up for another windy night.

Map of San Gorgonio, w the PCT

Nice pool out back

Hiker Profile:

Jaime – From Minnesota, got his undergraduate and graduate degree studying insects, focusing on bees and their interactions with pesticides. Moved to SoCal with his now wife who works for the forest service monitoring bee habits. After working for the department of agriculture, decided to take a break, move in w his partner and trek the PCT.

Jaime on left, Nocoat on right

Marie – 20s very nice but shy and polite red headed hiker from France. We chatted a bit but never got past the formalities before she pulled off for a break and bid her well.

Trail Angel Profile:

Deborah – Awesome, nice, goodhearted woman rockin some trifocals and a huge smile. Came and dropped off fresh coffee, including cream and sugar with a side of donuts for the crew under the bridge!