Monday, July 14, 2014

San Gorgonio Wilderness Backpack

With the family gone, I decided to make up for some canceled trips and head up to San Gorgonio.  I decided on a one-nighter along the Vivian Creek trail and was able to secure a permit for Friday night camping at High Creek.  I got to the trailhead around 2:00p and was hiking at 2:30p.  After a bit of a crummy road walk and crossing Mill Creek, I hit one of the steepest trails I have ever hiked.  The next mile was tough going up to Vivian Creek camp.  After that, the trail leveled out somewhat for a 4 mile steady climb past Halfway Camp to High Trail Camp which I made in 2.5 hours.  At High Creek, I stopped for a snack and chatted with volunteer Ranger Dan who was very helpful.  Since I was ahead of schedule, I decided to head up to the summit to camp for the night.  About halfway up the hike to the ridge crest, I started getting nauseous.  I know I suffer from altitude sickness but hoped this would just be a mild case and hiked on.  After making the ridge and seeing the Choachella Valley below, I knew I couldn't continue; the nausea, headache and fatigue were too much.  After a short break, I headed back down to High Creek.  I wanted to tell Ranger Dan my change of plans since he signed off on my permit change.  I quickly set up camp, washed up and lied down to recover.  The night was restless and had a few sprinkles to make me get a bit nervous about cowboy camping.  In the morning, I decided not to tempt fate again and quickly descended down the mountain.  I got the trailhead in 1.5 hours, put on some fresh clothes and headed home with a quick stop at the Elkhorn General Store for a much needed cup of coffee.  Overall, the hike was great, weather was great, altitude sickness not so much.  I intend to go again but will not try to go above 10,000 feet on the first day.

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