Water Shortage

Don't try this at home:

Eight and a half miles of hiking with a half liter of water


Today's hike called for the last 2,300 feet of descent from the peak of Mt San Jacinto (8,300 feet of total prominence).

Entirely because of my own lapse of judgment,  I spent the first half of the day drinking 100 mL at a time, over the course of four hours and 8.5 miles.

Naively, I watched the running water and melting snow at the peak dry up almost instantaneously below 8,000 feet during yesterday's descent.

The next water source would prove to be a supply tank of some kind at the bottom of the mountain.


With the tank in sight, I still had 4 miles to go. And as you can imagine water became the focus of the day.

While I was walking alone, I would cross paths with hikers occasionally. Had I felt the pressing need, I would've ask for spare water, but I never got to that point. After all, they were in my shoes so to speak.

At the bottom, a couple liters went down easy. 


Of the hikers gathered around the watering hole, two had leg pains that really slowed their pace. The descent for San Jacinto is no small task. For many hikers, walking downhill causes more problems than the climb.

Today the Desert Water Agency bailed me out and I am grateful. In the desert water rarely comes from running sources. More often than not I have relied on a spigot from civilization, a supply of bottled water caches from volunteers and the Pacific Crest Trail Association, or fire suppression supply tanks that are sporadically located near the trail. So far I have not had to carry more than 4 liters at a time, but that may change with the Mojave Desert section approaching.