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Monday, November 17, 2014

Zipping to Ziggy's (and the Bear's)

Day 142 11/1
Mileage 36
Camped at Ziggy and the Bear's

We did it! After a night with tumultuous winds battering our little cabin, we woke to a few wet snowflakes being blown about outside. It hadn't stuck, and we set off down the clear (if damp) trail. The winds were outrageous. We were buffeted about as we ascended. We walked through stands of tall pines, and as during one particularly strong gust, I felt a large thump on my back. I looked behind me and saw a giant Jeffrey Pinecone rolling down the hill next to me. It had missed my head by maybe six inches. Large pinecones were apparently called "widowmakers" back in the gold rush days, and for good reason. Falling from 150 or so feet, a two pound pinecone is going to do more than leave a bump. As we walked, we were treated to maybe the most spectacular sunrise I've ever seen. The storm clouds were making some vibrant colors, and we could see sheets of rain and a few dust storms in the valley thousands of feet below us. We found water in a neat, semi-underground spring just off the trail, where a large hole in the ground revealed clear, cold water dripping from a partially buried tree root. Our bottles filled, we began the day's 10,000 foot descent. The trail wound through a very nice valley, and we listened to some music, took our lunch by Mission Creek, as the landscape transitioned from pines and firs to yuccas and cacti. The end of the day had us climbing one last big hill, with ominous clouds just ahead that were always just ahead of us. The clouds made for a wonderful sunset, and I finished the hill in the dark with Arctic Fox. After a long, cow-eroded, sandy push to the top, we descended to Ziggy and the Bear's. They greeted us very warmly, with gatorade (yay!) and hot chocolate (even more yay!) We cooked dinner outside and sleep for days, maybe. I can't, though, because we're climbing up Mt. San Jacinto tomorrow, a continuous 8,000 foot ascent.

Arctic Fox was really excited about walking into those clouds

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