Monday, Apr 17 — day 22

PCT mile 286.69 to 306.16

Today is a mostly downhill hiking day following Holcomb Creek, bopping over a ridge an then following Deep Creek.  
As I descended I saw Sugar Pines

Jefferey or Ponderosa Pines

Coulter Pines,

 Piñon Pines — I thought I had a pic of a Piñon pine cone, but I don’t so here’s some Staghorh Lichen instead.

And even Black Oak — this is the first Black Oak I’ve seen on a the trip.  Piyush, take note this is a type of Oak we don’t see much of in the South Bay…

I got another good view of the next range I’ll be climbing — the ones with Mt Baldy, Wrightwood and Mt Baden-Powel.

The flowers were spectacular once again

And I ran into about four of the local garter snakes — this variety is a lot longer than the ones I’m used to seeing.  I wonder if that helps them cling to the steep canyon walls better…

I have seen an unusual number of balloons along the trail — like a dozen or so!  At first I thought someone was marking spots on the trail, but then I saw them across the valley and up in trees.  I think strays are blown from cities into the remote high elevation valleys. It’s too bad mylar takes a long time to decentegrate. 

The first half of the day was hiking through an area that burned recently. This section of trail is in need of maintenance — there were several downed trees I had to crawl under, over and around, plus trail slip outs on steep slopes, trail covered in landslides, and shrubs and trees growing onto the trail. There were also a few challenging stream crossing (find the right set of stones or logs — no fording). I didn’t exactly hike the speed I was hoping for.

The next section started at the bridge over Deep Creek

That’s Claire and Ergen(?) from Switzerland on the bridge.

This section of trail seems very popular and well maintained. It follows Deep Creek all the way down to the Mohave Dam some 14 miles away. The creek is beautiful as it flows though the narrow valley. There are several inviting pools and cascades. The problem is that the trail is always 50 to 300 vertical feet above the creek on a steep incline. There are some side trails going down to the water, many resembling landslides (no thanks!) but I did find a reasonably accessible and secluded small sandy beach as my campsite. I arrived early enough to wash my clothes (meaning rinse– no soap) and bathe my dirty skin and soak my tired feet. It felt awesome! I made a flat bed of sand and Cowboy’ed it for the night. The sun set early in this valley and I think I fell asleep by 6:30pm! I slept great on the soft sand with the stream sound making the perfect lullaby.

Thanks for reading!

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