JOURNAL ENTRIES

Of Storms and Sickness

The prospect of crossing the trail on Mt. San Jacinto in a snowstorm was ill-advised, so we have taken the recommended detour around the rockslide and gotten off trail to wait out the weather. Upon returning home, it seems society has taken another step towards madness. My attempts to restock have been hampered by rows of empty shelves at the markets. Today, I’ve learned that 9 million people in northern California have been ordered to shelter-in-place. My plan is to return to Mt. San Jacinto on Saturday after the storm. I hope that COVID-19 does not impact these ambitions. While executing a proper resupply strategy was a tricky prospect in previous years on the PCT, it seems that the PCT Class of 2020 is going to be uniquely impacted by stock shortages and business closures in resupply towns. I will try to remedy this problem by packing my bounce box full of dry goods and toilet paper, as I anticipate that these items will be harder to come by on trail for the foreseeable future.

Hard Start

It is raining and the trail is shadowed by storm clouds. Beginning this long endeavor in the middle of a squall is not what I had hoped for, but my permit is clear that if I am to go, it must be now. There is snow in the forecast for Tuesday through Friday.

However, the weather is not my only concern. The permit I was issued indicates that my trip is to start at SR 74 Pines to Palms scenic byway - 150 or so miles north of the Mexican border. While not starting at the southern terminus is a little disappointing, the real issue lies in a trail closure about 20 miles north of my starting point.

There has been a rock slide, and now a massive boulder around 10 feet tall is blocking the trail like a whomp block from Mario. To the left of the bouder is the mountainside, too steep to climb over. To the right of the boulder is a sketchy drop off into a steep ravine. The Pacific Crest Trail Association has given hikers notice about the blockage, and has acknowledged that the only way to clear it includes explosives.

I am currently researching detours around this obstacle. I have some fear of getting into a route-finding situation off of the official trail during a snowstorm. - 14 MARCH

Preparing for Departure

I know that I cannot fully conceptualize the journey on which I am about to embark. I have to acknowledge that I feel guilty for the worries that these plans put on my loved ones. Even still, thoughts of this dream leave me restless. I hope that my preparation and training has put me into a position to succeed. - 07 MARCH