Day 17 – 4/29/15
Mission Creek Trail Camp
Miles – 16.1
Total Miles – 257.6 (PCT 240.0)
Since our campsite was on the top of a ridge, we got very early sun. This means that Mama Raven gets everyone up and moving sooner. That’s OK we had a very long up today. We spent the whole day going up the North Fork of the Mission Creek. We climbed about 6000’in 16 miles. The nice part about this climb was that it followed the creek, which was running most of the way up, and it has trees, for shade. As we headed up the canyon, we were past by others that had started from the Whitewater Preserve around 4 this morning. At our first break, we filled all of our water bottles. It was going to be a long dry climb. By mid-day we had hiked less than half the distance we needed to. We took a long rest and soaked our feet. That is one of the greatest and rarest pleasure when you are hiking in the desert.
By this time many hikers were hiding under trees and in big bushes, where every they could get out of the sun We knew that the best place to be was at a higher altitude so off went. Soon after the water in the creek dried up. That was OK because the was water farther up the trail. About mid-afternoon we stopped in the only shade, there was a breeze and we ate what we could. Our water bottles we almost dry when we came upon a small trickle of water. We each took 1L of water to tie us over until we got to the top.
For the most part, the hiking was a gentle up along the creek. Every now and then we would have a steep climb a shelf to get around some rocky protrusion. After hiking 11 easy miles in the hot sun, the trail starts to steeply climb. It is some of the hardest hiking we have done so far, and it went on for 5 miles. In the end, we slowly drug ourselves up to the top and joined 10 other hikers who had made it this far. Hiking up Mission Creek was not one of our favorite things!
Day 16 – 4/28/15
Above the North Fork of the Mission Creek
Miles – 14.6
Total Miles – 241.5 ( PCT 223.9)
Last night was our warmest night on the trail. When the simple act of putting your shoes on and climbing out of the tent creates sweat on your forehead, you know the rest of the day is going to be miserably hot. It is also the beginning of the biggest elevation gain of the whole PCT . . . a 7,000 foot climb! We set out soon after the sunrise. We only had 1L of water each to reach our 8 mile goal. We thought about stopping by Ziggy and The Bears to get more water, two trail angels nearby, but decided not to. As the trail goes north from Hwy 10, it passes through the Mesa Wind Farm. There was a note saying they had water so we went over. We filled all of our water bags with bottled water and made Gatorade that they provided. Now we had the water we needed to get to the Whitewater Preserve which is just half mile off trail. The trail over to the preserve was not hard, it was just hot. We got to our goal in the later morning. The Whitewater Persevere use to be a fish hatchery but now a hikers oasis in the desert. It has five pools of different depths, four of them with trout in them. Big trout! 18″or more. The fifth pool is for people to wade in. There was picnic tables under many Sycamores and green grass. They let PCT’ers camp. It was a great place to just sit around and wait for the temperature to go down. We and many other hikers sat around through the middle of the day. Most thru-hikers decided to spend the night, but six of us set out for the North Fork of the Mission Creek in order to reduce tomorrows huge up. It was only 6 miles away. After relaxing in the shade and the pool for several hours, we did not want to get going. Nonetheless, we slowly got moving. The sun had set before we reached our destination. Therefore instead of walking the last bit down to Mission Creek, we camped up on a ridge with a great view of the lights down in Palm Springs. Tomorrow we hike up the biggest climb on the PCT.