Monday, April 7, 2008

Second Day on the Trail - April 4th

We woke up after a restful nights sleep to 41 degree temps and clear blue skies. Breakfast consisted of Nelius having home made oatmeal and me having potato, red pepper, and onion burritos with Taco Bell hot sauce. We broke camp and got ready to hit the trail. Our motivation was the Deep Creek Hot Springs which waited just 4 miles down stream!

Nelius getting water for Breakfast from the creek.

Getting everything back in the packs is a project!

Leaving camp, we headed back up high on hillside, which gave us our first amazing view of the day! The flowers were amazing throughout the entire hike. Yellow, red, purple, white, blue, seemed every color was represented. It's tough to decide whether to look at the flowers next to the trail, or stare down the much scenery to take in at one time!

Right at the tip of my trekking pole is where we camped. You can also see the trail in the background on the right side of the canyon winding it's way back towards were we started.

Ok, enough with the scenery, back to hiking!

It wasn't soon after leaving camp that I started feeling my first blister. I took this photo as I was getting ready to treat the spot that hurt. I hate blisters.

While Nelius was waiting for me to get my shoes back on, I looked down and saw the fearless leader of this adventure pouring over the map.

Shoes back on...hopefully the pain stops. Back to the trail. The hot springs aren't far away.

We arrived at the hot springs around 10am and there was already a crowd of naked people soaking in the different pools. Nelius wasn't there for 30 seconds before he was stripped down and jumping in...the hot water was terrific. I couldn't take many photos, for obvious reason (naked strangers), but I got a few. There were three different pools in the main area, ranging in temp from 98 to 116 degrees (the hot one being called the "Crab Cooker") and then another smaller pool a ways up the beach. It was very nice, the pools varied in temps, so you could go from one to another depending on what temp you wanted, the views of the canyon were nice. We stuck around the hot springs a little longer than planned and didn't leave until around noon, which put us a bit behind schedule. A guy at the hot springs told us it was 7 miles from the hot springs to the end of Deep Creek Canyon, so at least we had an idea of how far we had to go before our next major land mark.

We knew it was 7 miles out of the canyon, but we had one more thing to look forward to and that was another massive bridge. So we headed down river in search of the next bridge!

We saw tons of lizards like this around trail. They didn't usually stick around long enough for a photo though.

After crossing over that amazing bridge we continued down stream now on the other side of the canyon. As we continued farther and farther the scenery really changed. The canyon walls got much steeper and more barren. The trail after the red bridge followed an old aqueduct system so the grade was very manageable as we climbed up the longest ascent since we left the car. As we started to come out of the canyon we started seeing more and more signs of civilization, mostly in the form of graffiti on many of the rocks near the trail.

This was interesting. Someone tried to cram a car jack under this rock in an effort to get this massive rock to roll down into the canyon...they needed a larger jack apparently.

The wall on the left is the old aqueduct support....I think.

The next thing we see, is the Mojave River Dam. In our guide book it stated that the spillway is the definition of "Over Kill". I can't comprehend the amount of water it would take to actually get up and over this spillway...the thing was MASSIVE compared to the small creek that it is there to control. This spillway was the first time we had cell reception, so I called Claire to let her know we were still alive, and just a little behind a schedule. This land mark indicated that we had come 20 miles from the trail head.

Here is the massive spillway, it's here to keep that 15 wide creek in check. I sure hope it's big enough.

After having a quick bite to eat, and some water, we moved out of the spillway area and continued to follow Deep Creek (although it's not in the canyon anymore). About a mile after leaving the spillway we came to a bridge...well actually what was once a bridge.

HEY! Why are my shoes around my neck, and my feet wet and covered in sand?!?!?

A few hundred yards down stream, the Deep Creek connects with the Mojave River and together they go through a huge hole in the dam and out of site. At this point, we are at the lowest of the entire trip. We are also leaving the waters of deep creek and are now going to follow the Mojave River upstream towards Silverwood Lake. We took a few minutes to pump a little water out of the Mojave before moving on. We needed to make up some time. With the hot springs, and the missing bridge we had fallen several hours/ miles behind schedule.

You can see Nelius in the bottom left corner filtering river water.

After getting the water bottles topped off we headed out following the banks of the Mojave River, it wasn't long before the trail headed off in a different direction from the river and towards the mountains. At this point, we came near the first house that butted up against the trail, a nice large farm house which was nice to see. At the end of this homes driveway was Hwy 173, our first major road landmark of the trip.

Upon crossing Hwy 173 we were pleasantly surprised to see the first sign of Trail Angels. Trail Angels are people who voluntarily contribute to the success of PCT hikers. They do this is a variety of ways, anything from leaving jugs of fresh water (like in this case) all the way to opening their homes to hikers who need a comfy bed and hot meal while they are on their journey. Trail Angels are plentiful, and one of the coolest things I have heard of! So, to whoever left these water jugs by the trail...THANKS, we used the water for dinner that night!

Here is Nelius coming up to the Highway.

You can see the bottles of water there under the tree.

WHOOOOO...the first sign that showed out destination! Interstate 15.

Once we got things moving again, we climbed for about a mile and then started working our way along a mountainside which was a really nice piece of the trail. The trail was high up on the hill, offering a great view of the valley, and the trail would go deep into the ravines of the mountain crossing streams in places. We continued from Hwy 173 about 2-3 miles before looking for a camping site.

You could have parked a small car on this rock. I thought it was neat looking...but maybe I was just really tired.

Here you can see the trail wrapping along the base of the mountain. Highway 173 is down there someplace.

Here comes Nelius.

We had a tough time locating a camping spot since the trail was on a steep hillside. We finally had to settle for a "barely acceptable" spot...which ended up working out well. It was a little knoll on the mountain side that had a couple small flat spots to put down our sleeping pads. I couldn't use the hammock, since there were no trees, so I set up my rain fly as a tarp tent. We enjoyed a great dinner of Loaded Baked Potato flavored Mashed Potatoes, and we added in chicken breast as well. It hit the spot, and we headed to bed as the sun was setting.

Somehow I failed to get a shot of Nelius' tent this evening. It was up the hill and off a bit to the other side of the knoll.

I took a quick shot as the sun was setting from inside my sleeping bag.

With that Day 2 on the trail was over. Our total mileage on Day 2 was roughly 12 Miles. We hiked from about 9 am until around 4:30 pm with a long break at the hot springs.

Here is a map from Day 2.

No comments: