Today was a day of grinding uphill. After a somewhat restful nights sleep with the exception of the periodic gusts of wind, we started on the trail at the usual time of 6:30. Continuing to follow Mission Creek for the first few miles it was a good initial warm up. Low scrub regenerating from recent fires was reflective of the desert landscape with lizards and snakes abounding. One particular lizard shows a remarkable tendency to turn blue and start doing push ups when spotted near the trail. After reaching a nicely situated campsite five miles from where we camped, the trail began to climb and didn’t stop until lunch. It was on this section that we came to familiarize ourselves with the infamous poodle dog bush. Touching this plant is likely to result in a burning rash much like poison oak, and is a common plant to establish after a burning event. Avoiding these bushes we climbed up and out of the valley we had been in for 15 miles and into the San Bernadino National Forest. It took a while for the desert to secede its place, with cacti still to be found amongst pine needles. Water and lunch was had at Mission Springs, a campsite with picnic tables and situated at over 8,000 feet. In the last day and a half we climbed over 6,000 feet to reach the cooler environs of the mountains. Two other hikers soon joined the area for lunch, capitalizing on the use of a table. After a relaxing two hour break we headed to the east to wrap ourselves around the mountains. Gorgeous views over the surrounding valleys characterized this segment, with the cool mountain air providing perfect hiking temperatures. Walking into the Coon Creek camping area we ran into Jane, SWC’s wife, who informed us he was hiking in behind us. Deciding that the valley was a little cool, we hiked up and over the next hill and down into the neighboring valley. Here we found a flat section of sand perfect for a campsite, cooked our dinner and retired at the late hour of 7:00 pm.
Miles hiked – 19