Today’s hike was the hardest on me so far. Truly a brutal day.
I started at 5am in the coolness of the morning. It was still dark, so I used my headlamp until light enough to see. I started descending and the trail wasn’t too bad. My first goal was the water fountain in 12 miles and I figured I could make that in four hours.
Then the trail went to hell. That 9-10 miles of Fuller Ridge trail was awful; it would disappear for 10-20ft at a time, or it had collapsed and there WAS no trail. Over and over. I was trying to make time so I wouldn’t be in the plains at noon.
It took six hours. That was just for for the 12 miles to water. The heat hit about 7:30am and got progressively worse. There was no shade on the east facing ridge. So after tanking up at the water fountain, I started the last five miles to Ziggy’s just after 11:00am.
After a 0.5 mile walk down the paved access road, I entered this massive flood plain; Nothing but sand and short scrub brush for the next 2.5 miles. And the heat. The PCT markers every 200-500ft the only guide. I started calling this section the “Blasted Plain”, and I was certain Mount Doom was just around the corner.
It could have been worse, because I had my umbrella! I thanked God I had the foresight to carry the damned thing. I honestly think it made that section even possible. As it was, I was very, very slow since I expended so much energy on the Ridge. The plains were HOT and the sand was difficult to hike in. I finally pulled into Ziggys at 1:30, wrung out and exhausted.
The cold Gatorade I was handed was inhaled. Then I bought a Pepsi and I didn’t quite chug it. But it was the shower that brought me back. I was closer to heat stroke than I have ever been. The thermometer on the wall said 101 degrees.
I’m sitting in my bathing suit and I haven’t the energy to examine my feet yet. I did hand wash my socks and shirt and they are hanging on the line to dry. (It’s been 20 mins…they’ll likely be dry already 😓) Here is the fountain and the view where I have to hike to today. Ziggy’s is one of the last houses in the distance.
Here I am (note the salt stains on the shirt…like I care at this point) and a last view of San Jacinto.
Here is Ziggy’s backyard. There are maybe 25-30 hikers here right now. She makes you sign in and my “number” is 554. That’s how many people have been through here since March. I just peeked and number 567 is signing in now. They expect 2000+ for the season…
8 thoughts on “Ziggy’s”
Wow, it looks tough but some of those views are awesome and you have many more awesome views ahead. I’m really enjoying your blogs! Feels like I’m right there.
Sounds like some tough heat. Hang in there. The rest of this week should be tough too but keep those Sierra’s on your mind!
I look forward to your updates! Yep, that desert heat is BRUTAL! I totally get it. Keep it up, you are doing awesome and having a fantastic adventure!
Whoah, so hot!!! Glad you made it and found hydration and showers and people. Hopefully you’ll have a good night sleep and will recover enough to handle the next day. Sending you some of my strength over the waves 🙂
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Michael, I am going to post some of the photos and story from your descent off of Fuller Ridge (titled ‘Ziggy’s) on May 8th on http://www.pcttrailsidereader.com . . . I must admit that the stretch from a couple of miles before the water fountain Whitewater Creek and a little beyond were some of my least favorite on the entire trail. The heat and exposure just sap you!
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No problem, Rees. Thanks for letting me know.
Half fast did you notice that Turtle and Cowgirl are in your picture at Ziggy’s. Did you remember seeing Rocky or any of the rest of Team AARP ? Professor
Wow! Sure enough, they’re there. We hadn’t decided to hike together yet so I didn’t pay them much mind. It was crowded at Ziggys and I was still recovering from the death walk across the “Blasted Plain”.