19 Mar, 2020

Day 3 – Way up high

Written by: Russ

South Downs Way

Distance:

miles

Time:

hours

Elevation gain:

feet

Day 3 route overview

From Mount Laguna, you join the road which leads back to the trail. Following the windy and gradual descent, the trail feels very similar to the previous day. Walking parallel to the Sunset Highway you get close to the road and pass a number of picnic areas and viewpoints before walking adjacent to a huge cliffside and wind your way through the desert shrubs and switchbacks.

Elevation

Upon leaving Mt Laguna it’s a steady descent to the Sunrise Highway, the trail levels out before ascending again after numerous picnic areas.

Over the M3

The cloud finally lifted

The entire trail so far had been shrouded in a blanket of cloud. I hadn’t realised exactly how high in elevation the trail was until suddenly, the clouds completely lifted and parted a gap on the horizon while revealing an impressively clear rainbow. I could see all the way down into the valley which looked hot, dry and baron while up here I was walking through a winter wonderland. “Ahh, the weather’s finally clearing up!” I gasped as the clouds wisped over while breaking across the hilltops. I turned back and could see the enormous mountain range I just hiked over.

Over the M3
Over the M3

Back to winter

A few miles of sunny weather had me in high spirits, but all too quickly the weather turned again and I was plunged into another vast expanse of grey and white. The wind picking up carried hail and snow along with a strong westerly wind. I couldn’t bear the hail scraping the skin off my shins as I walked through the wilderness alone. I almost gave up, as I came up to a road there was a parked car with two people still inside, I was so tempted to ask them for a ride, but I decided to press on another few miles before finding a tiny tent site right next to the trail.

After snuggling into my quilt, I checked my mileage for the day and realised I had crushed 30 miles! The weather had distracted me from checking my progress along the way, but I must have been hiking pretty fast in an attempt to stay warm and keep moving. It was a peaceful evening in the end as the wind died down around 9pm. It’s safe to say, I slept very well.

Over the M3
Over the M3

Gallery

Overview

  • Views and vista 60% 60%
  • Difficulty 90% 90%
  • Elevation gain 90% 90%

Start time:

07:00

Camp time:

19:00

Points of interest

Garnet Peak

Explore

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