Ten by Ten

PCT mile 228.0 to Whitewater Preserve
(10 miles, +1,200/-1,900 feet).

Thankfully, the wind died down last night around 8pm and it was calm and warm and not-too-uncomfortable in my sleeping-padless tent.  I slept well.

BarnFinder and I packed up and got ready right after daybreak this morning.  I ate my last piece of pizza (it’s not just for breakfast!) and then we set off shortly before 6am.

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Wake up flowers!
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Sure, we can do that!
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Stream crossing to a traverse

Since we only had ten miles left this morning, and since we were hiking south against the yearly migration of thru-hikers headed to Canada, we thought it only fitting to set a common thru-hiker goal for ourselves: ten by ten.

If you want to get from Mexico all the way to Canada you have to do 20+ miles a day to beat the winter snow in Washington, and the best way to do that is to take full advantage of the morning.  So many thru-hikers try to do 10 miles by 10am.

Of course it is a lot easier for us given our lighter packs and the prospect of being back in our respective homes this evening, but it was still fun to give it a try.

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Southerly traverse

After a few miles we had to say good bye to the lovely Mission Creek.  A 600 foot climb carried us out of that watershed and up on a ridge where we got our first glimpse of Mount San Jacinto for the day.

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First glimpse
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Jacinto selfie

The ridge walk was beautiful, with views of the ridges on either side and even a little peek at the snowy lower reaches of San Gorgonio Mountain.

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Heading towards the ridge
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Walking above the valley

We made our way down through one more little valley and had just one more small ridge to climb to reach the Whitewater River.

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More than halfway
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Once more, with feeling
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Heading down to the Whitewater
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Whitewater River basin

We would have to cross the Whitewater River twice.  Fortunately the more difficult crossing was marked by a huge teepee-like structure that we could see from far away.

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Crossing marker
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Keeping our feet dry
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So that’s why they call it the Whitewater!

Shortly before the end we passed by a feature called “Red Dome” that is marked on all the topo maps.  It was a bit underwhelming.

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That’s it?

After nine and a half miles we turned off from the PCT and headed the last half mile to Whitewater Preserve where our car awaited.  We arrived about 9:40am—ten by ten!

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Hey this last crossing is a breeze!

One last note.  My inner geek (maybe not so inner?) is quite pleased about the number of thru-hikers we passed this morning.  Yesterday I passed 100 hikers in about 24 miles, or about 4 per mile.  If the distribution of hikers is roughly uniform, then one would expect to pass about 4 * 10 = 40 hikers in 10 miles, which is exactly what we counted!

It will really be lovely to one day be one of them.

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