PCT Fuller Ridge to Whitewater May 2021

I hiked solo on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Fuller Ridge Trailhead in the San Jacinto Wilderness down to Snow Creek, then across the desert, via San Gorgonio Pass, to the Whitewater Preserve near the Whitewater River.  This 28 mile stretch of trail encompassed the remaining pieces of PCT Sections B and C that I hadn’t yet hiked.  It was finally time to get this done!

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PCT Mill Creek to the Golden Spike April 2021

Vicki and I backpacked (mainly) on the Pacific Crest Trail from Mill Creek Summit in the Angeles National Forest to the Golden Spike in Soledad Canyon, near Acton.  Along the way we climbed Mount Gleason and visited the Station Fire Memorial.  We also checked out the “Golden Spike” monument, where the PCT was formally completed and dedicated as a National Scenic Trail back in 1993.  The weather started out hot, but a cold front came through and produced plenty of chilly damp clouds for the second half of the hike.  As always, the PCT delivered plenty of views and lots of ups and downs.

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PCT Hesperia to I-15 April 2021

Vicki and I backpacked on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Dam in Hesperia to Interstate 15 near Cajon Pass, visiting Silverwood Lake along the way.  We’re fairly wimpy hikers, so it took us four days to hike 29 miles!  Why did we do it?  Because this was just about the final piece of PCT Section C that we had left to hike.  The weather was a bit warm, but we had a good time, and got the 2021 hiking season off to a fun start.

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PCT Cloudburst Summit to Mill Creek May 2020

We section-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in the Angeles National Forest from Cloudburst Summit at mile 398 to the Mill Creek Fire Station at mile 419 over the course of three days. This hike happened during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we decided to “Social Distance” ourselves as much as possible by hiking all alone in the middle of nowhere.

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PCT Onyx Summit to Whitewater April 2017

As Pacific Crest Trail “Section Hikers” we differ from the true “PCT Through-Hiker” in that we can hike the trail in any order and in any direction that we please.  This is the kind of freedom we like.  Our previous two hikes in California Section C were both Northbound, but this hike was planned from the outset to be Southbound. Why?  Because we did our homework and  checked the elevation profile of the trail.  We made darn sure that we started at a significantly higher point than the finish!  As we stated to the other hikers that we met along the way (all of them sweating and puffing up the trail):  “We take our PCT hikes downhill – both ways!”

And this section was truly a whopper of a downhill, with over 6500 feet between the highest and lowest points.  Being the ever-changing PCT, there was also more than 3000 feet of uphill climbing here and there along the way, which yielded a total descent of 9500 feet!  This was nearly two miles of elevation loss!  And it would have been a true knee-destroyer if it weren’t for the fact that it spread the change out over a total of more than 35 miles.  True, some sections were steeper than others, but all in all, the PCT is known for being a well-graded trail.  Just the same, we sure were glad to be hiking southbound this time!

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PCT Lake Morena March 2017

This hike on the PCT was special for several reasons.  It was our first backpacking trip of the year, after waiting through a long cold winter.  It was also our first backpacking event after waiting months for Vicki’s shinsplints to finally finish healing.  And, lastly and most importantly, this trip was intended to complete the final sub-section of California Section A on the Pacific Crest Trail that we had yet to hike.  Hooray!

That it also went to Lake Morena, the site of the world-famous PCT Kick-Off, was merely an added bonus.

Vicki looking out over Lake Morena from the Pacific Crest Trail

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PCT Onyx Summit to Big Bear July 2016

We decided to hike yet another section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) over the Fourth of July Weekend.  This time, our plan was to hike the section just north of the San Gorgonio Wilderness, covering 27 miles over three days, from Onyx Summit on Highway 38 to Poligue Canyon Road, in the mountains above Big Bear Lake.

These new miles would connect to the section that we hiked back on Memorial Day Weekend.  The end result would be that the two of us completed a total of 62 miles of PCT California Section C (about half of the section).  Maybe next spring we’ll tackle the other parts of Section C, when the weather is cooler and the mountains are wetter.

Looking out over the Mojave Desert from the PCT east of Big Bear Lake

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PCT Big Bear to Hesperia May 2016

This backpacking trip was planned in advance to be a tough one, a long one, to get our 2016 hiking season off to a solid start.  And, if you want to collect some serious trail mileage, there’s no better place to do it than the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail).  At 2600 miles long, it offers plenty of hiking excitement.  We’d already done most of the sections down near San Diego (as well as assorted sections in northern California and Washington), and were now “shopping” the Los Angeles area for new PCT ideas.  In fact, we had planned to do one section near San Gorgonio Mountain last year when the Lake Fire broke out and burned for weeks, causing a trail closure right where we wanted to hike!  So this year, even though the burnt section was still closed, we set our sights a bit further north, to a section near Big Bear Lake.

A popular trail, the PCT has been thoroughly mapped out; it’s been broken down into named sections, complete with virtual mileage markers, GPS tracks, and downloadable topographic maps, all available online.  For those who care about PCT nomenclature, the hike I chose was part of California Section C, namely: PCT miles 279 through 314.  In other words, we’d be hiking 35 miles total, beginning at a dirt road just north of Big Bear Lake near the town of Fawnskin and heading roughly northwest, descending gradually toward the Mojave Desert, ending up in a dirt parking lot at the end of Highway 173 near the town of Hesperia.  After considerable study, making use of various online water reports, I came up with a plan.  I figured that this hike could be done by the two of us in about three days.  Three LONG days, because we’re not exactly the fastest of hikers.

A highlight of our trip: Fish in Deep Creek checking out Vicki's Feet

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Mount Baden-Powell June 2015

For our first summer hike this year we decided to visit the San Gabriel Mountains. Of course, there wasn’t much water flowing in the Southern California Wilderness after two years of drought, so our choices were limited. Unless we carried our own water. But that is also limiting, as water is heavy. Still, it seemed like an idea worth trying.

So we stared at some maps. Two years ago, we camped near Little Jimmy Spring and attempted to day-hike to Mount Baden-Powell. We got a late start and never made it the whole way to the summit, and that defeat was still bothering me. So we thought to rectify it this year. We considered camping at Little Jimmy yet again, as it always has water, but what we really wanted was peace and quiet and solitude, and Little Jimmy doesn’t have those qualities in abundance, at least not on a summer weekend.

So I stared at the map, and noticed that there was a trail from Dawson Saddle to the PCT. Maybe we could camp there. It’s much closer to Baden-Powell. True, we’d have to carry our own water, but maybe it would be worth it. Looking on Google Earth, it appeared that the ridge just above the trail about a mile from the saddle had a broad flat area on top. Zooming in, it looked like a certain-sure camping spot. Carrying two gallons of water is never fun, but only carrying them a mile seemed eminently do-able. So that’s what we did.

Me hiking in the early morning on the the PCT east of Throop Peak

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