Date: Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Start: Campsite by the trail at Mile 598.8, 5659 ft
Finish: Campsite at Willow Spring, 1.6 miles north of the PCT Mile 620.0, 4547 ft
Daily Miles: 21.2 PCT + 1.4 to Spring
Total PCT Miles: 620.0
Weather: Very warm and mostly sunny
Dinner: Rehydrated lasagne and meat sauce
Highlight: The morning’s walking through the Sequioa National Forest was magic. The pine needle covered trail meandered between the tall trees with the scent of pine in the air. The trees provided welcome shade and the grades weren’t too onerous.
Lowlight: Probably four miles late in the day which involved a steady ascent under a very hot sun on a dry dusty trail through the desert. I was sweating buckets.
Pictures: Click here
Position: Click here
Map: Click here for Google Map
Packing up my tent in the green forest where I had camped overnight, evoked a memory of doing the same thing on the Appalachian Trail many years ago. Funny how the mind works.
Leaving at 6:30am, the trail climbed for a while until it reached a kind of forested plateau at just over 6000 ft elevation. I was now in Sequioa National Forest, and thoroughly enjoying the walk through the pine forest, and the peaceful breakfast I had seated on a rock by a small stream from which I replenished my water supply for the day. The excellent walking continued until noon, when the trail left the forest and entered a bouldery section through some rocky tors. There appeared to have been a fire in the past and there were trees down all over the place and scrubby growth in their place. The vegetation wasn’t attractive, but the rock formations were awesome.
Further on the trail began its descent to cross Kelso Road, and the vegetation thinned out and became desert-like with the return of cactii and Joshua trees. There was a water cache at the road crossing, as I suspected there might be, but I had enough water to get me to my target destination of Willow Spring. Although I would have to detour off the PCT, it would only leave me 24 miles to the next water source tomorrow. A resupply at the cache would have to last 28 miles and a night’s camping. That’s a lot of water.
After the road, was a long hot and exposed climb through the desert before I reached a gully suggested in the guide as a shortcut to Willow Springs. There was no trail, just a mile and a half of following the dry watercourse through a ravine with the “2 or 3 short boulder scrambles” turning out to be quite challenging, but a bit of fun at the end of the day. I reached the spring, which is really a faucet, presumably sourced from the spring which appears to be on a cattle property. There must be some kind of arrangement with the PCTA allowing hikers access to the water. I expected the place to be busy with hikers, but at 7:30pm, I’m still the only one here. The supply of water allowed me a good wash and to wash a few things out, which was welcome.
It’s going to be a long day tomorrow, but if the weather forecast I saw at Tehachapi is correct it is supposed to be cooler and overcast with a chance of rain. I don’t want the latter, but would welcome the first two.