Tuesday, March 28, 2017

PCT Section B Weekender

Another Scoutmaster and I took off for the weekend to finish the San Diego part of the PCT.  This would cover section B miles 109 (Warner Springs) through 152 (Hwy 74). 
We met up in Temecula to setup our car shuttle.  We drove to the Hwy 74 trailhead and left my car in the lot with an Adventure Pass.  We then drove the other car to the Warner Springs Community Resource Center parking lot.  The folks there were very nice and didn't have any problem with us leaving a car there.  We hit the trail around 11:00a.  The first part of the trail meandered through the meadows and the flowers of the "super-bloom."  Then the trail started winding its way up the canyon of Agua Caliente creek.  We met a few sections hikers heading south along this part.  Upon leaving the canyon, we hit some heat and sun.  We were grateful to take a rest at Lost Valley Spring.  The last 4 miles to our camp (CS0124) where uphill and hot.  The site only had 2 or 3 spots among some large boulders.  A thru-hiker named Mellow walked by while we were getting dinner ready and decided to hike on for more space.  Rich brought chili dogs and they were great after the 14 mile hike.  I was using Bengt's Shangri-La 2 tarp for the first time and had a interesting pitch with some uneven corners but it worked fine for the night even with the wind.
The next morning, we got some hot water going and packed up.  We were hiking around 7:30 and it was still pretty chilly since the trail was on the west side of the ridge until we got to Lost Valley Road.  We walked the road a bit to get to Mike's water tanks and filled up.  While there, we met thru-hikers Daddy Gizmo and Lacy (blog).  After getting water, we started the slog up to Combs Peak.  We considered bagging the peak but could not find a way up due to all the chaparral.  I will have to come back to day hike it. Once at the peak, we started a long downhill.  Along the way we met some scouts heading up; we didn't have the heart to tell them about the trail ahead.  We stopped for lunch and water at Tule Creek which had enough water on the surface to filter.  The next few miles were nice, undulating desert terrain.  We then hit Nance Canyon and another 4 mile slog to our camp at CS0146.  There was already one tent there and 5 more people showed up by nightfall.  It was a bit windy but a great site overall.  Dinner consisted of some of my home brew dehydrated chicken verde and borracho beans.  It tasted fine but a bit crunchy.
Sunday morning was a bit warmer that the previous one.  We made a brief stop at Welden to chat with Bill and the cache owner.  We didn't need water since we hauled 4 liters from Tule Creek.  The next few miles went fast.  The last couple were a bit uphill but we made great time and got to the car around 10:15.  From there we drove to Paradise Valley Cafe and joined other hikers on the patio for large breakfast.  We fulfilled our trail angel duties by giving Rob and Lacy a ride into Idylwild.  It seems that all hikers and skipping the section from the 74 to Idylwild even though some of it is open.
It was a great trip and can't wait for the next trip!

Start of section B

Along the trail looking south

Between a rock and hard place

Cozy tarp

Mike's water tanks

Large horned lizard

Camp at mile 144

Walden cache

Hwy 74 junction

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