I was awoken at about 3am by that all too familiar sound … God laughing at my plans. It was raining and in these frigid conditions that meant just one thing, snow on the San Jacinto Range! I burrowed back into my nest and tried to ignore the cold as best as I could. At a little after 6am Chance messaged me with a weather report … Winds of up to 70mph and sub zero temperatures throughout the day above 8,000ft. It looked like today would be our first zero. Thankfully there was much to be positive about; we were in a great trail town, it was a good campsite, we had plenty of food, water and the outfitters in town sold 260 weight Icebreaker merino. I needed to invest more money in my personal comfort. I absolutely hate being cold and looking at the 3 day forecast we were in for some seriously low temperatures. There seemed to be a small two day window of dry but bitterly cold weather. We would take this opportunity to get over San Jacinto. At least the cold temperatures would reduce our water consumption and allow for a slightly lighter pack. The herd hung around camp like a bad smell, clusters of hikers wandered back and forth into town, others used the time to repair kit and organize their resupply. I became impatient and broody, retreating to my tent in an effort to stay warm. I was surprised by how mentally challenging this latest turn of events was proving to be. It is all too easy to lose momentum and stall on days like these. An unexpected bonus that came from being stuck in town was that people we had moved ahead of were now catching up. My mood was lifted by the reappearance of Dragon and his perennial positivity and then Chance told me that the Colorado Hiker Flash were back in town … We headed off to meet them, reuniting our very first trail family.
As we sat chewing over the events and characters of the trail a curious thing began to happen outside … It started to snow and snow and snow! We hurried back to camp through what was fast becoming a blizzard. Chance’s tent had collapsed under the weight of the snow and I feared that mine might soon suffer the same fate. The Colorado Hiker Flash had rented a cabin and they offered us some floor space, literally saving us from freezing our butts off. We packed up and hurried to sanctuary. When we got there we discovered that they had taken in all sorts of waifs and strays. Like proper Hiker Trash, seven of us camped out on the floor. I didn’t dare think what tomorrow would bring. I have never been so grateful to be warm and dry. Once again, in a most miraculous way the trail and the hiker community had looked after us!