Tuesday, March 17, 2015

PCT Section A Completed

This past weekend, I finished Section A of my nascent PCT section hike.
Jyoti and I drove cars to Warner Springs and left mine across the street from the fire station.  We then drove down the Mt. Laguna.  It was very windy and quite chilly as I started out.  The first 10 miles to Pioneer Mail picnic area wound down through the mountains had nice views of the desert.  One interesting highlight was the Kwamyii Point with all the impromptu memorials. For the next few miles, the trail got tedious as it was hot and the terrain very monotonous.  Then the steep decent into the Chariot Canyon.  Towards the bottom I got a bought of the runs and had the make a quick dash for the bushed.  My first plan was to camp near the dry creek at the bottom.  There I meet Big Dog and Captain Kirk and we talked a while.  But since it was still early, I pushed on to the water at Rodriguez Spur fire tank.  As I did a bit of laundry and filtered water, Capt. Kirk walked in.  We spoke for a while and quickly fell asleep as soon as darkness fell.
When I woke, Kirk was gone; he said he like to get up before dawn and hike.  I broke camp, made a cup of coffee and headed out.  The first few hours along the side of Granite Mt. were pleasant enough.  But the trail got tedious again before heading down into the valley floor.  At Scissors Crossing, I stopped for a lunch and rest break under the highway.  There was a small water cache there but I was still hauling lots for water from the fire tank.  The next stage had me heading straight up into the San Felipe Hills.  It was sunny and warm but not too bad.  Once near the top, it was an nearly endless series of ridges and canyons going through some burnt chaparral.  I eventually met up with Kirk again and we hiked the last few miles to 3rd Gate cache.  This cache is a true oasis in the desert.  Without any other source nearby, this is crucial to getting over the hills.  I took my 3 liter allotment and took a quick break in some shade.  Kirk decided to stop there for the night but I wanted to get over the next climb and hiked on.  Shortly after starting, I noticed one of my water bags had a hole.  I probably lost half a liter before noticing! It was another 4 miles to a great bivy camp on the side of the hills overlooking the valley.  This part of the trail was not burnt so had more shade.  I treated my now massive blisters and went to bed.  I didn't eat much to keep from getting too thirsty.
Right after waking up, Kirk hiked on past my camp; he was up early!  The next 5 miles were mainly in shade and was a pleasant hike down to the Barrel Springs.  Kirk was there and we chatted.  I had plenty of water to make it to Warner especially since there were some active stream along the way.  But I filtered some from the trough to test it out.  Kirk left before me as I rested a bit.  The next 8 miles to Warner could be one of the best hikes in San Diego.  The first part is mainly meadows with some ridges separating them.  Cows were off in the distance and flowers covered the fields.  A great camp could be made along San Felipe creek which had nicely flowing water.  I stopped for a bit at Eagle Rock for pix and talk to some day hikers.  The rock is pretty cool as it looks like an actual eagle.  The remaining hike is along the appropriately named Canada Verde and its stream.  I met up with Kirk again right at the highway.
We checked out the hiker town that the Warner Springs Community Center is putting on.  They offer showers, internet, store and food (I got coffee and pickles).  Since Kirk was thru-hiking and was only out for the weekend, I offered to drive him to the grocery store in Santa Ysabel.  He stocked up on goods and we parted ways.  Hopefully I will hear how his hike ends up.
Looks like I am back to square one in blister management.  This trip the only change I made was to wear trail runners and not my boots.  I will have to do more research to think up new strategies.  One thing I did think helped was to apply the anti-biotic ointment to prevent them from getting infected.  This kept the pain manageable so I can continue to hike.
Next up is section B from Warner to Hwy 74!

Cuyamaca Peak

Pioneer Mail Trough


Desert View

Camp at Rodriguez Spur road

Camp at BV0095

On the trail to Warner Springs


Eagle Rock and a horse's rump

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Golf and Softball Weekend

  • My parents came on down for Jaya's team picnic and a great dinner of Cardiff Crack.
  • Walked dog at lagoon and Cardiff.
  • Took Bengt to practice putting at Encinitas Ranch.
  • Discovered a great new coffee shop: Zumbar on Chesterfield.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Sheep Canyon 2015

T774 took another trip to wonderful Sheep Canyon.  After the long drive out to the trailhead, we set up camp for the night at the flood control station.  The night was windy but not too cold.
The morning was very nice, crisp but with some cloud cover to keep the heat down.  It was like that way pretty much all day as we hiked out to the canyon.  When we got there, there didn't look to be much water in the creek. But the creek was flowing nicely further upstream.  The scouts immediately took to the hills.  They love exploring the caves.  Some also went up the canyon to the "oasis."  Dinner for the senior patrol was awesome but the scouts are struggling a bit with backpacking cooking - something to work on.  The night ended with a nice campfire courtesy of a wax log hauled in by Roger.
There was some rain during the night but it was intermittent and not very hard.  When I woke up it was sprinkling but I figured it would blow out soon.  It didn't.  It got harder.  It took a while to get everyone packed and in rain gear and we started out in a steady downpour.  My rain gear got soaked through :(
We made it to the cars without problems, everyone was fairly dry.  Some folks drove directly back home, while some of us stopped for the traditional Mexican food lunch in Borrego Springs.

Sheep Canyon Trailhead

Intrepid Hikers

Towards the Oasis

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Weekend Activities

  • Caught an advanced screening of Haiti 10 with a live performance from Victor Wooten.  We went to see the film and didn't realize how prominent a musician Victor Wooten is.  Good movie showing the hope that exists in Haiti today.
  • Walks around town with Sophie.  Chased lots of squirrels at San Elijo campground.
  • Jaya had softball tryouts
  • Bengt had a robotics party

Monday, February 16, 2015

PCT Kickoff!

I have started my section hike of the Pacific Crest Trail!
My goal is to eventually hike the entire 2650 miles in order.  I don't have a ending date in mind but the sooner the better.  My basic plan is to do the southern California sections (A-F) in long weekends (3-4 days).  As I get farther north, the trips will get longer and longer.
My wife was cool enough to drive me out there on Saturday morning.  We dropped my car off at Desert View Picnic Area in the Lagunas and we both drove to the border.  Getting there was easier than I thought as it very close to Campo.  There was another hiker already there being dropped off and he started hiking while we checked out the monument.  After some pix I soon took off.  It was fast going in the nice weather and level terrain.  In about a couple miles, I caught up to the hiker that left before me.  His name was Tim and he is doing two weeks on trail which should get him up past Big Bear.  Hopefully he doesn't get hit by any weather.  I continued trucking along weaving my way among private lands, roads and open country. At about the halfway mark (10 miles) I took my lunch break and talked with hikers Josh and Jason.  Soon after lunch, I got to Hauser Canyon.  The first part is a steep path heading down and then an equally steep trail heading back out. The canyon was hot and pretty ugly so this was my least favorite section of trail so far.  After Hauser Canyon, it was a few miles of rolling terrain until dropping down in Lake Moreno.  I checked into the hiker site then walked to the store for some coffee and chocolate. I had a light dinner then chatted with Tim before going to bed early.  Thankfully generators are not allowed at Lake Moreno, but I tried my earplugs and they worked great.  I did miss the sounds of the wilderness though.
The next morning I woke up around 6 and was on the trail at 6:30.  It was pretty chilly but only my hands were cold as I started out.  The trail to Boulder Oaks was pretty nice and might be a good one for the scouts.  The next 10 miles were hot and not very interesting, especially since I had hiked much of it before.  It got noticeably nicer once I hit the pines of the Lagunas.  I arrived at the parking lot around 3pm.  I did a total of 42.6 trail miles this segment.
One of my goals for these first trips is to get a handle on my blister situation.  I am working on various shoe/sock/tape/break combinations to see what gives the best results.  For this trip, I am using my waterproof hiking shoes (Merrell Moab WP low cut) with nylon liners and my wicking thin socks.  I also was going to try boots-off breaks during the day to air dry my feet.  That system worked pretty well.  I did get blisters on the balls of my feet between my big and second toes on each foot.  But they weren't too bad and didn't slow me down.  I think in the future, I will try more boots-off breaks.  Also, my next set of hiking shoes will not be waterproof so they are more breathable.
Next up is the rest of section A, Lagunas to Warner Springs (~67 miles).

Monday, February 02, 2015

Perfect Encinitas Weekend

The weather was perfect his weekend in Encinitas!  I finally had a regular 9/80 Friday off and took advantage of the cool overcast to hit Bernardo Summit.  This is now one of my favorite trails.  The hike is strenuous but not overly so; some parts are really steep but others are nice easy incline.  The views are some of the best.  Only drawback is I15.  Also, the new SDRP website is much improved.
Jyoti and I took a great walk on the beach at Cardiff.  We stopped for lunch at Bull Taco and saw some migrating whales from the bluff-top views.

Bernardo Summit looking South

Bernardo Summit looking Southeast

Bernardo Summit looking East

Bernardo Summit looking North

Encinitas Winter

The View from Bull Taco Cardiff