25 Mar, 2020

Day 9 – The San Jacinto approaches

Written by: Russ

South Downs Way

Distance:

miles

Time:

hours

Elevation gain:

feet

Day 9 route overview

A long stretch of the desert lies ahead before arriving at Highway 74 near paradise café and the gateway to the San Jacinto Mountains. Along the route, you’ll continue to meander around the hills with some pretty lengthy ascents before reaching a large trail angel oasis called 2020 Vision, maintained by a trail angel named Mary. 

Elevation

The ascents throughout the day are short, but steep and full of switchbacks before reaching Highway 74.

Over the M3

Onward to Highway 74

The entire day I spend making my way through some of the more arduous parts of the trail up and down and around. The trail gets quite elevated and a level of endurance is required to keep a steady pace. Views of the vast San Jacinto loomed in the distance and were edging closer with each mile. “Surely I’m not going right over that lot?” I asked myself in my mind. Checking the map it looked as though the trail went more around the range to the west for most of the way ahead. Further inspection of Guthook and the San Jacinto trail report as well as checking Instagram accounts of hikers ahead of me led me to believe otherwise.

Over the M3

Too late for the Paradise Café

The Paradise Café, usually open until 18:00 was closed earlier than usual due to COVID-19 issues at 15:00. I made it to Highway 74 at just after 16:30 and came across a hiker sleeping next to the road. “I’m beat dude” he added, “I’m waiting for a ride to the café, I can’t head into the San Jacinto like this.” I felt concerned for the hiker, but surely the mountains ahead aren’t that bad. Next to the highway is a signpost with notices explaining what to expect from the mountains. They were all faded and difficult to read in parts, but it made me cautious for a good reason but gave me plenty of extra knowledge about the terrain ahead.

I continued into the mountains before camping at a pretty sweet, sheltered spot in a small forest.

Over the M3
Over the M3
Over the M3

Overview

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

Start time:

09:00

Camp time:

15:00

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