Tuesday apr 11 — day 16

PCT mile 205.74 to 225.94

I cast a long shadow in the morning sun.

Friend and snake expert Greg Watson viewed the snake dancing video I posted on Facebook yesterday’s and suggested the wrestling Rattlesnakes were likely both male and fighting for dominance. That seems logical because it did seem one was trying to push down the other. If so the that means there was likely a third, female rattler that I did not see. Yikes.

Greg also identified the first, pale-ish rattler as a Speckled Rattlesnake and the battling males as Red Diamondback Rattlesnakes. Thanks Greg!
Also, I forgot to mention that my frozen shoes thawed and dried quickly once hiking.
When my pack is too heavy it hurts my hips. I think i an carrying too much food. I did not take a day to climb San Jacinto and will not be taking another day to climb San Gorgonio. Also, I’m not eating the portions I have provided. So this morning I sorted all the food into two piles- keeping and getting rid of. It was surprisingly hard because the food has value and I kept trying to convince myself I may eat it: things like Kind Bars, oatmeal, hot Cocoa and freeze dried dinners. I cut about 1/3 of the food and could have done more I think.  
Today’s hike is down the alluvial fan of the San Jacinto Mountains an up the alluvial fan and river valleys of the San Gorgonio Mountains.  Here’s a shot looking back at San Jacinto.

My first stop today will be the Trail Angel Station under I-10 about 5 miles from Cabezon. I’ll bet you did not know it was there! I didn’t until recently. Thankfully it was there, and while it lacks the ambiance of the Walden site a few days ago ( due to all the cars and semis passing overhead), it did have a sign-in board, food donation bucket, plus water and snacks! I drank a cup of RC Cola and snacked on goldfish and cookies as I signed in and donated my extra food to the bucket.

Sitting under this freeway I started recollecting the times past when I was driving/riding on it to destinations like Joshua Tree, The Salton Sea, Palm Springs, etc, and then recalled on the drive back sometimes stopping in at Hadley’s for date shakes. I would love a date shake now. I wonder if those giant dinosaurs are still there? 
I saw a lot of interesting patterns walking through the desert- here is my attempt to go artsy on you.

The canyons I am walking towards are covered in yellow blooming ceanothus.

I came across this beautiful Common Kingsnake as I walked up towards them. He/she let out a foul odor, so I refrained from picking it up, but these are docile snakes.

A bit on I came across another Speckled Rattler, but he took off before I could snap a photo. Soon after I came across this beauty: a Rosy Boa, another friendly snake that I did hold for a bit. It’s been another great day for snake sightings!

I hiked close to a windmill farm that had a PCT water and shade station (nice!) and then climbed over a pass into a beautiful meadow area.

I climbed over meandering ridges and then dropped down to the Whitewater River – named for the stone around it, not for its rafting potential, I think.

And here are some of the flowers I saw today 

I hiked over one more ridge that meandered for miles and finally dropped me down to Mission Creek.  I took a wonderful but chilly bath and dried off on a giant stream polished slab of granite.

I slep cowboy style again (no tent).  Great night but that moon really is too bright.

Thanks for reading!

8 thoughts on “Tuesday apr 11 — day 16”

  1. Enjoying your posts Dale. Thanks for taking the time!
    My son Conor (23 yrs old from Berkeley) is hiking 2 weeks behind you (started April 12) and will be picking up ice axe/crampons etc in Idyllwild. I’m following your blog to give me some idea of the conditions that lie ahead!


    1. Hi Julia! My guess is that, unless there is another snowstorm the trail will be much more passable in two weeks due to melting and more foot traffic. Glad you like my pats!


  2. Dale, what great reptile photos and flower photos on Tue 11 Apr! For what it’s worth the Rosy Boa in that area has been renamed, now Northern Three-Lined Boa (Lichanura orcutti). Either way, an amazingly docile snake and such a pleasure to pick up and hold. You got a stunning collection of wildflower photos: sand verbenas, datura (Jimson weed), golden cholla, strawberry hedgehog cactus.


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