Ziggy and the Bear to Mile 226, (17 miles incl detour to Whitewater preserve)
Cost: Camped, free
People started to wake up around 6am and most people were slow to get up, not wanting to leave the comfort of Ziggy and the Bear’s. There was hot coffee ready in a thermos and cinnamon buns on the table… I didn’t want to leave either!
The trail went straight up a hill, past a wind farm and at the top I had an incredible view of a canyon with lush green trees In the valley.
I descended into the valley and there was an option to visit the Whitewater Preserve, 0.6 mile off the trail. I’m so glad I took the detour as it was like a little oasis. There was a wading pool that I could soak my feet in (nice cold water), picnic tables where I had lunch with Cashmere & Physio, a ranger station and a really lovely ranger who came out to chat with us (and gave us sweets and chips) and a lovely area to camp, although it was still morning and I felt I needed to walk a few more miles before calling it a day. There were also groups of elderly women who had come on a day trip from nearby Palm Springs. One lady was shocked that I was walking by myself and wanted to make sure I knew what “bear poop” looked like (apparently like human’s but with seeds in it she told me) and that if I was going to be attacked by a rattlesnake then to make it first bite my hiking pole as it should lose most of its venom… Good things to know 🙂
I started listening to an audiobook (thank you Uncle Alan), called “The Widow and Her Hero” by Thomas Kennealy. Just as I climbed back up out of the valley onto the ridge, I burst into tears because the main character found out that her husband had been killed at war. I felt a bit silly crying on top of a mountain but there was no one around so I let the tears flow as I continued listening to find out what happened next.
I descended again into another valley following a stream and found a lovely place to camp in a space near a girl called “Bugs.” I needed to get some water from the stream but I had been concerned about my sawyer squeeze (water filter) ever since I got caught in the storm up Mt San Jacinto as they can stop working if they freeze. The website said the best test to do was to back flush it then try to filter some water and if the flow rate was considerably faster than usual, then it was broken (if it was faster it meant that the filters inside weren’t filtering). I tested it and it seemed to come out quite quickly so I resorted to using my backup Aquamira drops which you mix part A & B in a cap, wait 5 minutes, then add the mixture to the water and wait a minimum of 15 minutes.
It’s such a peaceful little spot where I’m camped and I’m going to fall asleep to the sound of the stream and frogs croaking.