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