PCT Day 18: Canyon Oasis

​April 28, 2017

Whitewater Preserve – Mile 235.48 (218.55 – 235.48)

16.93 miles

I slept like a baby last night. It was glorious. My alarm went off in the morning and I actually felt rested. When I emerged from my tent, I saw that even more tents had sprung up overnight. There must have been at least 40. I was out and hiking just before 6:30. The sun is rising earlier now, so I think I’m going to start getting up a bit earlier too.

About a mile and a half into the day, we had to ford Whitewater Creek. There was no way across without getting wet feet, so I ended up taking my shoes and socks off. The morning views were gorgeous, with the sun’s first ray’s illuminating the hills. A couple of miles later, after a climb, I perched on a rock to have my morning coffee shake. The view was absolutely incredible. San Jacinto was on one side, and San Gorgonio on the other, with rolling desert hills all around. My brain couldn’t comprehend the fact that it was even real.

With caffeine in my veins, I was ready to crush some miles. The hiking this morning was awesome. The views were gorgeous, it wasn’t too hot, and I felt awesome after a good night’s rest. I was flying. After walking along a ridge for a while, we descended into some kind of canyon oasis. Water flowed in abundance, and trees stood along the shores. We made countless creek crossings, and wound through many thickets of shade. The trail even passed through a couple wetland-like areas, where it became more of a mud pit than a trail. I stopped briefly at the first crossing of Mission Creek, to drink the cool, clear creek water and eat a few dried apricots to fuel me for the next few miles to lunch. 

Whitewater Creek

About 11 miles into my day, I stopped at a campsite by Mission Creek for lunch, aka various snacks stuffed into a tortilla so that it somewhat resembles a meal. I love when I get to take breaks by a creek. I laid in the shade of a tree while a hummingbird cleaned its beak on a branch above my head. 

Today’s coffee break view 

After lunch, the afternoon began to drag a bit. It was hot, and the scenery was fairly unchanging. The canyon walls were gorgeous though. I was just feeling super tired. I was drinking a ton of water because it was so hot, but there was basically no shade for the last few miles of the day. When I finally found a patch of shade, it was only three quarters of a mile before my planned camp spot, but I immediately sat down in it anyway. The heat had drained me. I only sat there for a few minutes, but even the briefest rest in a shady spot instantly rejuvenates me. I got up and headed for camp. 

I got to camp super early. It’s kind of nice to end so early, but I’m planning to start doing longer mile days in the next section. Gummies was already there, and we both set up our tents. We’re camped in a nice shady spot by Mission Creek, which we wound around and crossed several times today. It wasn’t long before more people started rolling in. And more. And more. And more. Guthook’s app says there’s room for 3 tents at this spot… We have 16 tents pitched, and 3 people cowboy camping. It’s insane. There are about 4 other people (including Cougar and Dr. McDirty) who had to go to another spot just up trail because this one was so full. It’s really awesome though, because I got to meet a bunch of new hikers. I think we’ve definitely entered a new bubble, because I haven’t seen most of them before. Charlie Brown is here though, which is awesome because I hadn’t seen him since Scissors Crossing. 

Tetris tents by Mission Creek

I’m going to try to pull my first 20 mile day tomorrow, and then it’ll be just 10 miles into Big Bear the next day. 

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