Day 32 – Monday morning was spent with g’ma & g’pa before Wrightwood Dan generously gave us a lift to Inspiration Point and we returned to the PCT at long last. We only went a few miles before camping at Jackson Flat for the night. Anna made a rip-roaring fire in the massive fire pit to keep warm as cold moist clouds raced by us.
Day 33 We’d had our fill of snow in the San Jacintos so we decided to skip Baden-Powell and instead hit the High Desert Trail to meet up with the PCT again at Islip. The detour seemed simple enough, but it did take us outside the range of our maps. Initially the trail was easy to follow. Criss-crossed by streams of sweet snow melt, we followed the erroded path down to South Fork campsite. From there we were to take the South Fork trail along the river before climbing up into the canyon above to eventually cross Hwy 2.
However the “trail” was basically just walking in the rocky riverbed, constantly having to cross to the opposite side because of cliffs on alternate sides. We kept looking out for the trail to emerge on our right, going up the mountainside but all we saw were steep, pathless cliffs. Eventually the river split and using our navigational skills we decided the path had to be somewhere high above us. Attempting to scramble up the crumbling cactus-ridden mountain was fruitless, so we followed a dry creekbed (more like a waterfall bed really!) up and up, keeping our eyes peeled for a path.
Finally we came upon it! Oh the joy! Bushwacking… through bushes, boulders or riverbeds is so much more difficult that following a trail. Our “easy” detour to avoid the difficult ascent of Baden-Powell had turned out to be an arduous struggle. We made it to Islip, ate and crashed.