Sunday, April 26, 2015

PCT 2015 -> Days 14 & 15 (4/25-4/26) (miles 212-250)

Out of the I-10 wind tunnel and into the beautiful terrain of Whitewater Creek and Mission Creek.  From miles 218-226 the wind on the ridges gusted to 50mph which made for entertaining hiking, but along the creeks the miles were easy.  I made camp on Day 14 along Mission Creek at mile 230, it rained for several hours, then wind came rushing down from up canyon and thrashed the tent around.  All in all a fun day of hiking though.  Maybe the best thus far.

Descending to Whitewater Creek

Whitewater Creek

Mouse, Dana, and Costco along Whitewater Creek

Morning at Mile 230 
Day 15 from mile 230-250 was mostly gradual climbing up towards Big Bear from Mission Creek at 4,000 ft to camp at 8,600 ft.  The trail entered mature pine forests and the sky was a brilliant deep blue.

Mission Creek area 

Ponderosa Pines near Big Bear

Friday, April 24, 2015

PCT 2015 -> Days 9-13 (4/20-4/24) (miles 145-211)

The last couple days on trail brought me into and out of the town of Idyllwild, up onto Mt San Jacinto, and then back down into the desert.  Day 9 included breakfast and lunch at Paradise Cafe, a major hiker landmark, and then a road walk into the town of Idyllwild due to a fire closure (from a fire 2 years ago) which closed the PCT from mile 162 to 179.  A lot of hikers were hitching into Idyllwild, but the 20 mile road walk into town turned out OK.

Paradise Cafe

Along the roadwalk into Idyllwild 

After 2 nights in Idyllwild I took the Devils Slide trail from town back to the PCT at mile 179.  From here the trail goes along the flank of Mt San Jancinto, reaching 9,000 ft, and traversing Fuller Ridge.  It snowed from mile 184-190, which added some adventure to Day 12.

San Jacinto State Park

Fuller Ridge snow - San Jacinto SP

From 9,000 feet, the trail drops roughly 7,500 feet back to the desert and Interstate 10.  This is the longest desent on the PCT, and this includes a 20 mile water carry with 5 days of food.  The wind around I-10 was gusting to about 50 mph.  Trail angels Ziggy and the Bear host hikers at mile 211, and provide a place to camp, water, showers, coffee, and a cheap food store.

Near Interstate 10, very windy section

Crossing under I-10

Sunday, April 19, 2015

PCT 2015 -> Days 6-8 (4/17-4/19) (miles 92-144)

Day 6 started at the 3rd gate water cache and ended at the town of Warner Springs at mile 109.  Warner Springs is a hiker friendly town that has a community center that provides breakfast and lunch to hikers (for a donation) and also showers and laundry facilities.  The hiking into the town went past some nice meadows and also the landmark of Eagle Rock.

Eagle Rock

Warner Springs,CA

The next day the trail started along a nice creek (which actually had water!), then climbed along a hot ridge, and ended at a trail angel's house at mile 127, which hosts hikers and provides dinner and a place to camp.

Generally I've been on the trail each morning by 7AM to take advantage of the cool mornings.  I'll then take a couple short snack/water breaks throughout the day, and one longer afternoon break during the midday heat.  I'd like to do more late day hiking but I usually make camp around 6PM. 

Next up is Paradise Cafe for a burger, and then the town of Idylwild 2 days later.

Camp at mile 144

Friday, April 17, 2015

PCT 2015 -> Day 4 & 5 (4/15 & 4/16) (miles 57-91)

Day 4 went through the western edge of  Anza-Borrego State park.  After filling up with water at the Sunrise trailhead the trail dropped steeply until reaching the Rodriquez water tank at mile 68.  I camped on a ridge at mile 71 looking down towards Scissors Crossing.

Tasty Desert water

Campsite Day 4
The next day another hiker and I made it
to Scissors Crossing in the morning and hitched in to the town of Julian 12 miles from the trail to refill water and get breakfast.  After hitching back the trail climbed out of the valley and much of the day was through a burn area.  I've seen a couple snakes so far but no rattlers yet.  I'm camped by the 3rd Gate water cache near mile 91.

Julian,CA pie shop

Looking south back towards Scissors Crossing

3rd Gate Water Cache at mile 92

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

PCT 2015 -> Day 3 (4/14) (miles 37-56)

On trail by 7:30am and the day started out cool and crisp as the trail climbed gradually up towards the small town of Mt Laguna.  There were large oaks by Long Creek and then the first tall pines appeared.

Mt Laguna general store
The next 8 miles or so out of town brought amazing views and cool
wind as the trail overlooked the desert valley below to the east.  

Looking east towards Anza Borrego State Park

Now camped on a boulder ridge near mile 56 in a small clearing to avoid the wind.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

PCT 2015 -> Day 1 & 2 (4/12-4/13) (Mile 1 - 36)

The PCT is a 2,650 mile national scenic trail that starts at the Mexico border and ends at the Canadian border, passing through California, Oregon and Washington state.

I will be hiking the trail northbound (NOBO) and was dropped at the southern terminus by my sister at about 10:30am on Sun 4/12.  There were several cars parked nearby but we were the only people at the border except for a passing border patrol agent.

PCT Southern Terminus 4/12/15

The day started fairly cool but soon warmed quickly and I needed to take several midday breaks in the shade.  There was no water for the first 20 miles so my pack was pretty heavy leaving the border needing to carry 4L.

After the short but hot climb out of Hauser Canyon I made it to Lake Morena CG at mile 20 around darkness.

Lake Morena Campground

I woke up early Day 2 and was on the trail by 7:30am.  The terrain was moderately uphill all day but not too strenuous.  

The beauty of the desert is amazing in the early morning and late evening hours.  Plants are flowering and there are all types of birds and reptiles moving about. I'm camped on a ridge at mile 36 at the moment.  Will be heading into Mt Laguna tomorrow morning to get some food.

Campsite Day 2