I recently squeezed in a micro-adventure in the San Jacinto Wilderness, beginning in the town of Idyllwild, CA. The intent was to have some good food in a wonderful setting and stretch my legs a bit for some exercise. Mission accomplished. In the spectrum of backpacking trips, this was a pleasure cruise (with the exception of having to carry all of my water); so, while I paid attention to the weight I carried, I wasn’t as fastidious as I could have been with shaving ounces.
I hiked the Deer Springs Trail northeast to its intersection with the PCT, at Strawberry Junction, which is approximately mile 184 on the PCT (as one heads NOBO)–for a one-night stay. Strawberry Junction has three designated primitive campsites, but I had the entire area to myself. I chose a spot that opens up to a beautiful view of Tahquitz Peak and Lily Rock, an iconic backdrop for this area.
Along the way, I admired gorgeous manzanita plants and oak trees changing to a stunning gold; I spotted a quail during my lunchbreak; spied a few very well-fed squirrels; felt humbled by the massive pine trees; and heard several woodpeckers hammering away for a meal.
To round out the comfort-driven side of things, I brought my DIY/MYOG bridge hammock, which I have not used in years. My goodness, that thing is luxurious. My cushy shelter was complemented with another goody: A book to read. I nearly fell asleep taking a 5-minute break as I lounged in the hammock reading a few pages.
For the Oktoberfest side of things, I snacked on German gummy bears, supped on mashed potatoes and apple sausages, and sipped on some beer as the sun set.
A gorgeous hike, good food, a beer, a good book and a night in the wilderness. That’s my kind of Oktoberfest!
Location: San Jacinto Wilderness (Idyllwild, CA). Deer Springs TH located on the 243 in Idyllwild
Campsite: Strawberry Junction, Mile 184 of the Pacific Crest Trail (NOBO)
Duration: One night, just enough to stretch my legs and enjoy a night in the wilderness.
Backpack: Elemental Horizons Kalais. I love this backpack. I carried 6 liters of water + lots of gear and it was easily up to this task. A very comfortable pack.
Hammock: DIY/MYOG bridge hammock.
Tarp: Etowah Outfitters 8×10 flat tarp
Book: Lords of the Fly: Madness, Obsession, and the Hunt for the World-Record Tarpon by Monte Burke.
Beer: Belching Beaver “Must be the honey!” Blonde Ale. I’m fortunate to live in north San Diego County, a “beer Mecca within a beer Mecca” (as described by I Like Beer the Podcast). Belching Beaver is a local brewery for me and I like to support the locals.
Condition Report: I highly recommend Jon’s San Jacinto Report for anyone who wishes to hike or backpack this area. His information is invaluable.