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Sean "Miner" Nordeen
Begins: Mar 19, 2016
Date: Sun, Apr 2nd, 2017
Start: 3 Mile Camp
End: Piedra Blanca TH
Daily Distance: 1.3
Trip Distance: 408.9
Entry Visits: 263
Journal Visits: 15,386
Guestbook Views: 308
Guestbook Entrys: 2
Finished fire closure missing miles
It’s a nice cold morning on the Condor Trail. Sure enough, overnight I noticed moisture forming on the top of my bivy sack. I’m using my new Enlightened Equipment 20F quilt that I had ordered back in the fall for the first time since it didn’t arrive in time for my fall hike of the Condor Trail. I was concerned that I might overheat having to close up my bivy sack like I did from the moisture. Surprisingly I slept comfortable. By morning I realized why. My bivy sack was covered in frost. In fact, when I went to pull my quilt out of the bivy sack, ice had formed between the lower part of my quilt and the bivy sack and it came apart with a nice crunchy sound. I’m definitely going to have to dry them out when I get home. I had covered my backpack with my rain jacket and my jacket is covered in frost as well. My water bottles aren’t frozen though. But my shoes are. As a matter of habit, I had tied the laces loose before bed so that I could easily slip my feet into them if I had to get up in the middle of the night for something. After about 30 seconds each, I was able to work my foot into the frozen inflexible shoes. If I hadn't loosened them up, I'd likely have to resort to dunking them in the creek to thaw them out enough to get on. I saw other hikers do that on the PCT. Its bad enough that my wet socks, combined with the frozen shoes, are making my feet painfully cold. At least my socks aren't frozen since I stuck them under my bivy sack last night.
From the sun, I’m guessing I got moving around 7:30am. The trail was confusing in a few places where it crossed the creek due to how much water had eroded the trail near the creek during the winter. But it was obvious where I had to go. Eventually my shoes thawed enough that I could retie the laces tighter. I came to Pine Mtn Lodge camp and saw a few people camped. Two people cowboyed camped in bivy sacks and one guy taking down his tent. I continued on and the trail eventually started a 3000 ft descent after passing a few down trees. On the steep parts, I can tell my legs are still feeling yesterdays climb as they are shaking a little when I stop. So I take a few breaks. As I drop down in elevation, the area becomes lusher with green grass and wild flowers. And unfortunately some poison oak, though it hasn’t overgrown the trail yet except for a single branch I used my pole to get past. I heard some voices near Twin Forks trail camp, but don’t see anyone. It’s only when I get about a mile from the trail head that I run into other hikers. First I see a middle aged couple and then a family with a dog and 2 teenagers. The trail crosses a rocky area with sand that is hard to follow; route needs some cairns. I’m moving downhill so I can sort of tell the most obvious route, but I wonder how easy it would be to follow going uphill; though obviously people have since there are plenty of footprints when you get off the rock onto the sand.
I reached the junction with the Middle Sespe Trail around 11:30am and I have completed all the missing parts. As I pass the trail for the Sespe River, I spot a group of 4 college aged girls in backpacks heading back. I’m guessing they are coming back from Willet hot springs. Given the amount of cars at the trailhead, it likely was a zoo over the weekend. I have to make 3 fords of the branches of the river here, but there are rocks and logs that allow me to stay dry as I cross. I get back to my vehicle around noon. The trailhead parking lot is full of people. After taking a wet wipe bath and changing into clean clothes I drive back to O’Darks place so we can grab some lunch before I head home.
I enjoyed hiking this section, though it was harder than I thought. This section crosses the highest point along the Condor Trail, so perhaps I was just underestimating it. The scenery was as good as I was expecting, so I'm glad I came back to experience it.
Today I hiked another 7.7 miles along the Condor Trail that I missed last fall and an additional 0.8 miles to get to the trailhead. Thats 22.4 miles for the weekend. However, in my journal's trip total, I’m only including the 1.3 miles for this section which is the difference between my alternate route and the official trail through here. I may go back and delete the miles for the alternate route and replace them with the actual mileage here. Not sure yet. In any case, now my trip total reflects the current Condor Trail length. In my Condor Trail Ventura County Album, I’ve replaced my photos of the alternate route with those of official route that I took this weekend. I’ve put them in order by CT mileage rather than date so people can see the trail photos in the order of a thru-hike.
Condor Trail - 2016
The Condor Trail (CT) travels 410 miles through Central Coastal California in the prime habitat of the endangered California Condor. It runs the length of the Los Padres National Forest from Botchers Gap in Big Sur to Lake Piru near Los Angeles. This scenic trail extends through 4 counties and 7 designated wilderness areas.
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