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We are currently on another long distance hike, and the third leg of our "triple crown", the Continental Divide Trail (the "CDT"). Come along with us if you can - if not in person then by following our grand adventure via our "posts from the trail".  Check out our Flickr Photos, which we'll update periodically, and see it through our eyes!

Our Credo...

"Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!" ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday May 4

So, yesterday with the nagging foot pain it was hard to appreciate the beauty of the great desert divide and even harder to desribe. After some foot care, draining of the blood blister and some overnight rest, today was much better.

The Great Desert Divide seperates the high desert around the Palm Springs area from the sligthly cooler and the moister climate of the Southern Coastal Cailifornia. The difference is dramatic. As the divide rises to meet the higher elevations of Mt San Jacinto the change in vegetative zones is also dramatic.

Starting out in the hot desert with cactus and climbing through chapparel and/or oaks depending on which side of the divide the trail finds itself, to cool pine dominated forests on top live the ascent is awesome.

Many views of Palm Springs sweltering below us in the continueing record breaking heat wave. couldn’t help but ponder the friends I have in the hotel business at work down there in their air conditioned offices….ahhh air conditioning, but, argggg….work……

In our camp at Cedar Springs we were surrounded by old growth, tall Incense Cedars, various Oaks, and Big Cone Douglas Firs, some that wer 3 to 4 foot in diameter.

The hike was a rollercoaster of ridge walking, constantly gaining and losing elevation, staying fairly true to the crest. Overall we started at about 6,000 ft elevation and ended up at over 9,000 before dropping into Idylwild on the Devils Slide trail. But the actual elevation gain/loss was at least twice and maybe three times that differnce with all the intermediate ups and downs. Very dry. No on-trail water from our camp for at least 14 miles. And slow going. Some place were as steep as the PCT will get and with many small rocks there is a fair argument that this is one of the most dificult stretche of the entire PCT. I wouldn’t dissagree. And, with the high mountain vistas its also certainly one of the best so far.

We encountered our first on trail snow. Nothing serious, just a few patches, but a nice change of pace. Very different than in 1994 when I rounded Red Taquhiz to a vast sea of white.

On top, the trail winds basically level for several miles with stunning old growth Ponderosa Pines, big Cone Doug Fir, Western White Pine, Jeffery and Coulter Pine Incense Cedar and several types of Oak. Many trees are dying, more than I recall from 10 years ago. Drougth and Bark Beatle are the chief culprits although I’m sure there are other pathogens at work too.

A good bird day, with woodpeckers, hawks and Mountain Chickadees to name a few.

The wildfire season has begun in Southern California, something like 18,000 acreas burned in the last couple of days. And the smoke hangs thickly in the air, as high as 9,000 to 10,000 feet obscuring even the LA smog/haze that normally creeps up.

The feet were fine most of the day, until we started our descent to Idylwild, then the miles and the downhill took their toll. Including the “non PCT” miles it was another 20 mile day. The drop off the PCT and down the Devils slide trail to town is 2.5 miles and aout 2,000 elevation loss. Then its another 3 miles and 2000 foot on pavement. Fortunately we had great luck and even though it was 7pm we got a ride from the trailhead parking lot at the very moment we arrived.

Checked into the Idylwild Inn, had a shower, beer and dinner and crashed into bed for 10 hours of sleep….ahh sleep…

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Clicking on any of these photos will take you to that specific photo on our Flickr Stream, where you can view these and many, many more photos from our latest adventure....or use this shortcut to all photos.....we hope you enjoy them!

People Shots

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Flora & Fauna

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