Day 13: The Good Side of Snow and Rain

Sunday, May 7
Start: Fuller TH
Stop: Interstate 10
19 miles

The wind is constant but there are gusts that blow into the tent and I can feel the wet spray of ice hit my face. During one gust I hold my hands up and I wonder what would happen if me and my tent just started tumbling away. And then there is silence and that can only mean one thing. Snow.

As the world brightens, I hit the sides of the tent and some of the snow slides to the ground. Beams of light now cast into my tent and I lay there warm and cozy in my bag, Bubby tucked in next to me. I listen as the camp slowly starts to come to life. I heard one hiker get up and leave early and I suspect that it’s Toe Gap. A few days ago he was feeling like he was done with the trail. Yesterday he told me that today would be his last on trail. I honor his decision and tell him that Mt. San Jacinto and storm are an awesome way to finish. Hey, 210 miles is way more than most will ever try!

I reluctantly get out of my bag and put on my hiking clothes. At least they are not wet (like that one time in Washington)! Drum Solo informs us that it’s 27F. I load up my backpack and then I don my gloves with latex gloves over the top. I’ve learned how impossible in can be to pack up a freezing wet tent with non-waterproof gloves. I’m so damn proud of myself because I’m totally unfazed by the tent-packing process. Poor Venus is struggling like I have in the past. 

We awake to 2-3 inches of snow
The juxtaposition of two worlds. Here’s Venus in the snow but far behind him is a view of the desert floor.

Venus, Dorian and I start down through the white wonderland. It’s truly beautiful and the chance of seeing this landscape coated in snow is a rare treat. The 15 mile, 6500 ft. descent is slightly less painful because it’s cool and shaded by clouds. Every now and then hail and rain spits from the sky but it’s nothing serious. I have cell service so I make a phone call because of distressing information I received last night. 

Last night as I lay in my tent, braced against the wind, I found that I had intermittant cell service. I got a text from Lil’ Buddha that we really need to talk. He informed that my Mom is in the hospital in London (my parents have been on a three month world trip) and that he was told not to tell me. I’m pissed as hell that my family is trying to keep me out of the loop. I call my Aunt Mare because she and Tom were supposed to meet my parents in SF upon their return. But with my Mom in the hospital, their return flight is delayed until an unknown day. It turns out that Mare has known since Friday so she and Tom cancelled their trip to SF. Next, I cancel my parents SF hotel reservation. Another layer to this is that my brother Darwin is trying to oust Lil’ Buddha and take over on the mountain. He’s even trying the have Lil’ Buddha bring him one of my parents’ vehicles. I’m loosing my shit over this because he is not trust-worthy. I leave him two messages (one last night in the snow storm and one as I hike down) stating that Lil’ Buddha has a flexible schedule and can stay until my parents return. The whole being kept out of the loop really weighs on me and I am sad, and mad, and outraged. I try to be rational about it and consider the source of the information. But it’s just so hard to be calm when the two people who have been taking care of Smart’s Mountain for the last 3.5 months (me and Lil’ Buddha) are not the ones who are contacted about its continued care.

It’s down, down all day. Between all the climbing yesterday and now this descent, I’m hurting. I could really go for a break long enough to lay down but the group is already pushing out down the trail from the Snow Creek fountain. Against my better judgement I join them but it’s always worth it. We talk and joke and laugh and I forget about my pain. Dos Tacos laughs her laugh and all is right in the world.

We roll into the Interstate 10 early evening. Venus unsuccessfully tries to order pizza as I text with Toe Gap saying I’m sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye. He’s got a room at the casino down the road, he’s in the bar with another hiker, and that sounds just so wonderful. It isn’t until later that he suggests Lyfting into town to get some reward food. Dang, if only I’d thought of that earlier. Now, it’s dusk and I’m writing journals in my tent looking out at the snowy San Jacintos. Finally about 930pm I can write no more and I slip into slumber.

Lots more pics on Instagram.

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