View towards cloud covered Idyllwild (above)
Porch of Tahquitz Peak Lookout Tower (above)
View towards Palm Springs (above)
First full day back on the PCT was quite enjoyable. There was no pressure to hike long distances. I finally was able to sit and take breaks again and enjoy the scenery. I was able to set up camp before dark, and enjoy my independence and solitude. Temperatures were chilly, but not cold. I crossed paths with several dayhikers, and talked to a group of foreign exchange students after I accidentally took the wrong trail and ended up by the Tahquitz Peak Lookout Tower. I noticed that the mountain seemed to have received major rains, probably a couple days before I began hiking again. Much of the trail had a "washed out" appearance. Gone were the subtle traces of thru-hikers: Cairns, pole marks, signs written in dirt, arrows made of sticks and rocks, footprints. All were gone. I remember thinking how easily it must be for Mother Nature to reclaim the trail. In a few years, if no maintenance was done, the trail would probably completely disappear. I realized that I was going to have to pay closer attention, as trail markings were few and far between, and there were few clues to indicate I was on the right trail. Nevertheless, my first night's camp was one of my favorite. Camped under pines, high on the ridge, I was treated to a fabulous sunset, the sparkling lights of Palm Springs below to the east, and a warm and pleasant sunrise the next morning.