Day 16

Day- 16
Date- 2-29-16
Location- Palm Springs
Elevation- who knows
Distance Traveled Today- 16.3 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 206.8 miles
Weather/Temp- clear 40s-70s
Injuries- object in leg
Pain level- low
Spirits/Morale- High
Days without shower- 2
Hunger/craving- low
Thoughts/Stories-

This morning was quite freezing, but the skies were clear and blue.  The ice was falling off the trees in big chunks as it melted in the morning sun.  It almost sounded like the branches were snapping,  but it was only the ice cracking off the boughs. 

It was all downhill today,  going from almost 8000 feet,  to less than 2000 feet.  
Within a few miles of downhill hiking,  we were out of the chilly, icy,  Alpine terrain,  and back into hot,  shadeless desert.  It was incredibly disorienting, but no less fantastic to go between two extreme environments so quickly on foot. 

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To get back to level ground,  the trail had to take us through more than 16 miles of switch backs down the side of this mountain.  It was absolutely monotonous.  Katana walked most of it,  but once midday set in,  I carried her the last several miles down, crossing the 200 mile mark on the way. 

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The views down were incredible.  You could see Palm Springs to the east,  and Cabazon to the west, with hundreds of windmills around and in between them on either side of interstate 10. 

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The entertainment of the day was the multitude of lizards throughout this section.  The trail and rocks were crawling with them. I saw at least two species that I couldn’t identify, and I never had a prayer when it came to catching them.

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Besides the lizards,  it was a long,  hot,  repetitive day down the mountain.  The desert scrub was overgrown, rubbing against my legs for a good chunk of the trail.  Too bad desert plants aren’t soft,  as most have the texture of a toilet brush, or worse. 

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Encountered my second rattlesnake laying across a small paved road that we had to walk down in order to make our way to more trail leading to I-10. This southwestern rattlesnake had some fire to him,  and after attempting to subdue him,  to no avail,  I scooped him off the road with my staff and continued on. He was simply whipping around too fast and frantically to make the capture worthwhile.  He surely would have injured himself had I tried to pin his head,  so in the end I let him be.

No pictures of that one ūüė¶

We managed to procure a ride into cabazon,  then palm Springs. The next 50 mile section of the trail is closed due to forest fire damage (again!), so we have to find a shuttle around it to the city of Big Bear, then pick up the trail from there. 

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(Outside taco bell in Cabazon)

This trail has been very frustrating in regards to closures and detours,  but it’s supposedly like this every year.  It’s an aspect of this trail that thru hikers deal with annually.  I hate it,  but I’ve heard that this is the last one on the trail…so long as there are no more fires this year. 

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