Saturday, April 24, 2021
Elevation gain/loss: 6306’/12,703′
Start: campsite at Tahquitz Valley Trail Junction
End: water spout by old rusty pipe
After a later night where I was awakened by a loud group of young men hiking past at 10:30pm, I was up at 5am and on trail by 5:50am.
The rocks and extended areas of melting snow slowed me down, reducing my pace to perhaps 2-2.5 MPH for most of the morning. This put my long, endless descent towards Cabazon at the end of my day and in the brutal, direct sun. I was carrying 4 liters of water, since there were no sources for 20 miles. I wanted to quit as I hiked down, intensely miserable. I nearly stepped on my second rattlesnake; this one was just chilling with half of itself in the middle of the trail. It appeared to be a Red Diamond Rattlesnake. It only rattled at me once and then just chilled in the bushes by the side of the trail. I had to climb into the uphill bushes on the other side of the trail to give it a wide berth.
I stopped in the shade a few times and reoriented myself. I had cell service and so I called Toby to chat with him for a few minutes. It was helpful to remember I have agency in this situation, and can leave at any point.
Recharge and Soulsister were at the campsite too. We all hunkered down, finding every single divot in the ground to give us just a little more protection from the howling wind as it raced down the valley between the mountain peaks. Cabazon had a high wind warning for that evening and the next day. Despite that, I found the wind less severe than my first night on trail. I had a good night’s sleep, and was happy with my addition of 2 stakes and guylines to further stabilize the tent, purchased in Idyllwild.