Miles: 19 (17 on-trail)
From water cache at 143 to San Jacintos, mile 160
The sun rises directly into our faces, and Buckeye is rocking Queen on his smartphone to start the day. Time to get up. All these AT veterans are showing their thru-hiker chops – we may be keeping pace with them during the day, but they pack up their gear about three times as fast. We’re bringing up the rear again.
I had thought that the valley down to the west was where we were headed, but the trail winds us north instead. Suddenly we are hiking in and out of steep, narrow valleys with striking views. J and I are both feeling good this morning. This is the first time I’ve really walked the miles, instead of trudging, limping, or mincing them. We nearly keep pace with the AT crowd, and we’ve managed to hike eight miles by 11 am. Onpoint is waiting at the junction of the PCT with highway 74, hoping to find a hiking buddy for the day.