Day 9: Rattlesnake

Start: Mile 126.9 Junction to Mike’s Place

End: Mile 144 Trailside Campsite

Today we were up by 5:15am and hiking out of Mike’s Place by 6:40am. It was another beautiful morning with clear blue skies and a light wind. Early on it felt like it was going to be another warm day. As we climbed higher we had views back towards Mike’s. You can see the large water tank on the right above the structures.

When you hike the Southern California section of the PCT, which is primarily a desert environment, our first thought every morning is where do we get our next water and how much water do we need to carry to get us there. Today our next option for water was at a spring called Tule Spring. It was 10 miles from Mike’s Place. Donna and I each carried almost 3 liters of water for this 10-mile stretch.

About two hours into our hike we encountered our first rattlesnake on the PCT. I was leading and froze in my tracks as I spotted a large rattlesnake crossing the trail about five feet in front of me. His head had already entered the brush on the right side of the trail, but the majority of his body and the large rattle were out in the middle of the trail and were unmistakable. I called out “rattlesnake” and motioned Donna to move forward up to me. Her jaw about dropped open when she saw how big he was. This is the best photo I could get as he lazily moved into the brush on the side of the trail.

The rest of our morning was uneventful. We were both dragging a little bit this morning – was it the heat or was the trail taking it’s toll on our sixty-year old bodies?

We finally reached Tule Spring about 11:45am. The spring is down amongst all the green trees in the following photo.

We took a nice rest break and had lunch in the shade of the trees. The water source, however, was minimal and somewhat questionable. I was able to collect several liters of water and filtered and treated it with Potable Aqua (chorine dioxide tablets). Donna and I still had about one liter of water left so we decided to push for another 6 miles to a possible water cache at Mile 143. Luckily, when we arrived, late in the afternoon, there was still a couple of gallons of water left so were able to fill up for the night and not drink the questionable water from the spring.

We camped amongst some large boulders right off the trail with other PCT hikers and enjoyed another great sunset to the west.

Thanks for following our PCT adventure.

2 thoughts on “Day 9: Rattlesnake

  • You guys are doing so good. Almost wish I was you. I am amazed at how many small outlets that are out there to provide food and water. Who would have imagined pizza at mile 126. Looking forward to seeing both of you on Tuesday in Morongo.


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