PCT Route S22 to Scissors Crossing March 2013

Continuing this year’s PCT extravaganza, Vicki and I decided to tackle the 24 miles of very dry hiking between Routes 78 and S22. This hike lies within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and is known for being one of the driest stretches in Southern California.

We originally had planned to do it as a dayhike, but after the blisters of the previous 16-miler, we decided that 24 miles required an overnight stay, even though it meant carrying more weight. Normally, there would be no water at all on this lonely stretch of trail, and we’d have to carry two days of water (which is prohibitive) but we were in luck: Internet sources told us that some PCT “Trail Angels” had come to the rescue and dropped off a cache of water not far from the trail, out near the midpoint of this trail section.

This time, however, we decided to cheat a bit. We would hike the trail from north to south. Why? Elevation change. The north end began about a thousand feet higher. Sure, we’d be climbing and descending more than that along the way, but the net result would be a downhill hike. We also enlisted our son to drive with us so that we would drop our car off at the terminus.

HDR shot of the sunrise and Granite Mountain from the PCT

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PCT Route S22 to 79 March 2013

This story is about another one of our dayhikes on a section of the Pacific Crest Trail, here in San Diego County. This particular section covers the trail from what is known as PCT mile 101 to mile 111 (i.e. from County Road S22 to the second crossing of State Route 79) near the town of Warner Springs.  It was an easy ten-mile day, with only minimal elevation gain or loss. Being lazy, we chose the direction with a net loss in elevation (south to north), but it wouldn’t have mattered much, as it only gained about 500 feet the other way.  This section of trail was much different than the others we’d hiked, because it never really entered the mountains at all. Instead, it wandered along over miles of rolling grassy pastureland.

We left our house before dawn and headed east.  We took two cars, with our son giving us a ride; he helped by allowing us to leave our car at the terminus in Warner Springs.  The actual hike started when we got dropped off at the S22 trailhead.  By then it was light, but the air was cool, as we were down in a valley bottom where the cold air settles in the night.  And the only way to get warm was to get moving.  We posed next to the Pacific Crest Trail symbol and began hiking in earnest.

Me on the PCT carrying my big pack with not much in it but water

Click on the photo to read the complete Trip Report