Day 11: Slack-Pack

Start: Mile 166.6 Fobes Trail Junction

End: Mile 151.9 Highway 74 Junction

Today we were up at 5:30am and an hour later were picked up in front of the Idyllwild Inn by Trail Angel David and his friend Bob (and dog Rusty). David, Bob and Rusty were nice enough to take us to the Fobes Saddle Trailhead – about a 30 minute drive from Idyllwild. During the ride Donna enjoyed getting some Puppy Love from Rusty. Our plan was to hike the 1.8 miles up the Fobes Trail to where it intersects with the PCT. Here’s a photo of Bob & Rusty (left), David (right) and Donna and myself.

Here is Donna at the start of the Fobes Trail – it was a little chilly this morning.

We were hiking by 7:15am and it took about an hour to hike back up to the PCT. We then turned south and starting hiking in the opposite direction than we had been for the past 10 days. So we were slack-packing today and hiking north to south.

Some of you may be wondering why we are hiking in a reverse direction today (i.e. North to South). There are several reasons and they are all related to the PCT being closed between miles 168.6 to 178 due to the Mountain Fire in 2013. Many hikers are skipping this entire section of the PCT beginning from Highway 74 (Mile 151.9 near Paradise Valley Cafe) and re-joining via one of the trails that leaves from Idyllwild (Mile 178, 179.4 or 183.5 depending on which trail). Other hikers are continuing to hike northbound all the way to the closure at mile 168.6 and then having to hike a long detour back to Highway 74 or into Idyllwild. We didn’t want to skip the open section of the PCT and we preferred not to hike the detour. Since David, Bob and Rusty were kind enough to drive us to the Fobes Trailhead, thereby skipping the detour, we were able to access the open section of the PCT and hike back towards Highway 74. It also didn’t hurt that this section of the trail happened to be more downhill than uphill. We figured it would then be easy to hitch a ride back to Idyllwild. For the record, we did not hike the 2 miles of open PCT north of the Fobes Trail junction (mile 166.6 to 168.6).

We enjoyed incredible views from the trail as it traveled roughly along the ridge line that separates the Palm Springs/Coachella Valley side to the east from the Hemet side to the west. Here is a video from the ridge line .Here are some more photos as we hiked south towards Highway 74. The first one is looking west towards Lake Hemet with Saddleback Mountain, which is near where our home is, in the distance. The second photo is looking east towards Coachella Valley.

Along the way we saw a our first Horned Toad

And then another larger Horned Toad

About 4pm, when we were about thirty minutes from Highway 74, my phone rang and it was Bob (and Rusty). They offered to pick us up and drive us back to Idyllwild!!! More Trail Magic!!! More Puppy Love for Donna!! Thank you Bob!

Thanks for following our PCT journey.

One thought on “Day 11: Slack-Pack

  • Donna must be in heaven with all that puppy love! That is a really cute little dog! Todd, do you remember seeing lots of horned toads at Grandma’s Ranch back in the good old days? I don’t think I have seen one since. You both look happy in the pictures you post. Hopefully you are getting used to the daily routine. Love, M


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