Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike: Descent into Madness

Darwin passes 200 miles!

Tantalus stands in a pool of clear, sweet, water, in the shade of a fragrant fruit tree. He is racked with an insatiable hunger and is dying of thirst.  But, every time he stretches his boney fingers towards the tree or his cracked lips to the water, it moves just out of reach. As I made my way down the 167th switchback of Fuller Ridge, and I wasn’t halfway down yet, I understood Tantalus’ predicament- temptation without satisfaction.

Camping at 9k feet. Before the ridge!

The PCT descends over 6000 feet in 15 miles of unending, shadeless, and waterless switchbacks. Sure, it could have been worse if it was uphill, but going down has the unique ability to see where you are going way before you actually get there.

I saw the water fountain about 4 hours before I actually reached the damn thing. It was literally a stones throw away but around d the bend the trail goes, all the way to the opposite end of the mountain to drop down ever so slightly and come back the same direction. Over and over again. Oh hi water fountain! Oh nevermind! And repeat. The effect is quick maddening and will put you in a funk.

San Jacinto looming over the trail

The views however,  are magnificent. San Jacinto looms over you the entire walk down and just screams at you to take a picture…from every angle. I probably have a shot from each switchback, each time just changing the angle by a few degrees.

26.2 miles was the total for day, though the last 5 were done in the dark, as there is no moon and we were grooving to hard to take out our headlamps out.

Hikers at Ziggy and the Bears. Early morning.

We made it to Ziggy and The Bears, a home open to hikers to sleep, eat, find shade, or spend a zero day. The hikers here are Apache, HandMeDown, w
Whisper, Recon, Spidey, Goldilocks, Dr. Chip Feinstein, Legend, and DangerZone. 

Hikers making merry in idyllwild. Pictured: Finna, Handstand, Doc, Nip, Tuck.

It’s hot out here, so we ate night hiking 16 miles tonight and taking it easy at this lovely hiker oasis.

Published by Darwin Karch

Devin (trail name Darwin) is 26 years old, the founder of Travel and Trail, and is devoted to adventure and pushing his limits, both mentally and physically. Devin attended New York University, studying Media, Marketing, and Communications, and played as the starting center on the Men's Basketball team. After graduating in 2013, Devin used his new found freedom to hike, climb, paddle, and travel around the world. So far he has traveled to 35 countries on five continents, spent three consecutive months in the Patagonian wild, Thru Hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, and Thru Hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

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