Day 18 – Pacific Crest Trail (24 miles)
After the people I was camping near got a fire going at dusk, my fear of them being awake all night proved unfounded.
I woke up just before 6am, packed up and walked to the trail to begin the climb to Baden-Powell’s summit about 10 miles away.
A cool wind was blowing for the first time in a while and as I climbed I was treated to beautiful views of Mt Baldy to the south and the flat, deserlate Majave Desert to the north east.
The views of these were even better from the top, and there were even glimpses of LA in the distance.
Heading down the northern ridge line, I arrived at a spring. This spring has probably the best water of the desert section!. There was two different hiking groups there. I enjoyed the water as they debated what to do for the upcoming endangered toad trail closure. Neither were decided what they would do.
There is about 3 miles of trail closed to protect a Toad only found in that valley. There is 3 alternatives. 1: the official route a 20 mile detour that takes you to the valley and back up. 2: road walk four miles. 3: hitch around
I will be taking the official alternate as I was told there is a really cool park filled with unusual rock formations.
Eventually everyone decided and left in turn. A few hitched, two were walking the closed route and a surprising amount were taking the extended alternate.
I walked with the 6 hikers down to the valley. The way down was surprisingly fun after the well groomed trail of the PCT. We went across a lot of scree slops that were starting to collapse and some very narrow trail.
When we got down to the valley there was a great creek to cool off in and wash the swet out of my cloths.
The only problem with the creek was the amount of trash left behind. Bottles and broken glass lay everywhere. We packed out as much as we could carry to a trail head bin a couple of miles away.
The last few miles of the day involved climbing back up and over a ridge into a state park called Devil’s Punchbowl. It turned out to be an amazing display of unique sandstone formations. Not a bad place to explore as the sun set.