Tuesday, Apr 18 — day 23

PCT mile 306.16 to 326.41
One problem with cowboy camping is exposure to dew.  And being down in a valley close to water the dew finally got me and my bag is a bit wet on top but still plenty warm. I really had no choice on camping spots – going uphill is not much of an option as it is steep, and I did need water and a bath.  It’s not a big deal, I’ll just need to pack it wet and pull it out and sun dry it when I stop for lunch.  Here’s another view of Deep Creek.

I realized this morning that I’ve hiked 300 miles! Not only another PCT milestone but a personal one — my extended John Muir Trail hike was 280 miles. Oh, and it’s my birthday!  I found this on the trail earlier — not sure what the reason was, but I’ll take it as a “Yay, we’ve hiked 300 miles”.

I hiked/climbed back up to the trail and started towards the thing that makes this bit of the trail so popular — the Deep Creek Hot Springs. These hot springs have a bit of a checkered past — they are reportedly a favorite of a Charles Manson and his crew, and more recently have been known to have an amoeba that causes meningitis. What’s not to like about that?  The PCT maps suggest not dunking your head and collect drinking water upstream…. and the I ran into this on the trail.

I decided to skip the Springs… and as I hiked by and looked down I saw a bunch of tents, trash and was barked at and a bit harassed by 3 big, loose, aggressive dogs. Yeah, not such a nice place…

A bit later I crossed to the other side of the valley on a rainbow bridge.

I hiked all the way to the Mojave Dam which holds back the waters of both Deep Creek and the West Fork of the Mojave River.  The dam is surprisingly tall for the amount of water there now, which I assumed was near peak season — I guess the winters can bring tons more…



The trail climbed up a bit and traversed quite a ways through a recently burned area.  


But this area, although scorched to just burnt article in some areas is regrowing quickly.


I frightened quite a few more blue-belly lizards but also and across many Horny Toads, including one that let me catch him/her.  Once caught, these lizards calm down and I was able to get a few good shots of him.

The trail is a looooong traverse heading towards a reservoir named Silverwood Lake.  I hiked by the dam, which was covered by an impressive pile of rocks.

I hiked up to and around the lake, with a wary eye on the ever increasing and advancing clouds.


I stopped for the night at a boat-accessible picnic area.  Every spot was literally filled with trash, even though there are many trash cans.  There were beer cans all over the beach, bottles, food, dog poop and plastic Easter-egg shells all over the place.  It was so sad.  Long distance hikers try to follow the “Leave no Trace” philosophy — we even carry out our TP.  Oh well….

I decided to setup my tent on the shore, knowing it will get covered with dew or rain.

I ate my birthday dinner on the cleanest picnic table I could find.

Here’s the view from my tent —  it’s the clouds have advanced!


Thanks for reading!

8 thoughts on “Tuesday, Apr 18 — day 23”

  1. Happy birthday! I will be in Idyllwild in a few days. Enjoying your blog and information of what I have to look forward to. You’re really moving along. Great job!

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  2. Happy Birthday! Still loving your lyrical blog, your sense of humor makes me smile and your photos, almost make me cry…they are just so beautiful! You truly have a talent for catching Mother Nature at her best and with the narratives and knowledge you are sharing…being on the Trail is definitely your calling and where you should be! Are you just using your phone? Truly, you must have been a Nat Geo photographer in your past life!!

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    1. Thanks Diana! I have been very fortunate in my encounters on the trail, both in terms of nature and in truly nice people. I am also humbled by the kindness of my blog followers, such as you. My phone is indeed my camera, as well as my GPS, my notepad and my connection to my blog.

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