Jacob Leistra / "Game Boy" / PCT 2019

Day 11: A Section Of Ice And Fire

Mile 151.8 -> Mile 176.4

Excuse the terrible title, but I just watched the series finale of Game of Thrones, and today’s hike inspired the title. (Spoiler: The last episode was hot garbage.)

We left Idyllwild after a breakfast of coffee and 50% off day old pastries. I think it took me about 60 seconds to eat two giant donuts with pink glaze and topped with Fruity Pebbles. We hitched back to Paradise Valley and hauled ass up the mountain with an inkling our campsite at 8300 ft. would be a good place to stop. Another spoiler: it wasn’t.

But the nearly 25 mile hike up the mountain was pretty incredible. Easily the toughest day so far, especially if you include the night’s “rest.”

From about 7100 - 7300 ft., the landscape was recently affected by fires. This year, in fact, was the first year the whole section was available and didn’t require alternate routes. As such, we saw sage brush and poodle dog bush thriving up and down the trail. As the elevation went up, the snow became more and more common. By the last two hours of the day, we were hiking across packed snow (melted, frozen, remelted, and refrozen a few times over the last few days). It was unlike anything I had seen on the trail so far.

By the time we were approaching our campsite, we were above the mountain ridge we were skirting the whole afternoon. The clouds behind us–the very same clouds that drove us mad with wind–were now falling off the ridge like a waterfall.

After setting up camp we descended into our sleeping bags. Time to sleep, right?

Main Photo: Trashalope taking in the views above Idyllwild, CA on May 20.