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Jo - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2008

Entry 72 of 174
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State: California
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 1, 2008
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sat, Jul 2nd, 2005
Start: Deep Creek
End: Silverwood Lake
Daily Distance: 21.9
Trip Distance: 1,035.3

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 522
Journal Visits: 69,257
Guestbook Views: 3,645
Guestbook Entrys: 9

Pacific Crest Trail Map

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Bridge Over Deep Creek

18 Deep Creek to Silverwood Lake

We got up at 5 a.m. this was the first night where the temperature in the morning was just about the same as it had been the night before. We were at 3500 feet. I slept without a head covering, with the sleeping bag draped over me. It was quite warm and we were anxious to get some distance behind us before the heat of the day. Besides already, we could see new people arriving. This was the holiday weekend and I suspected that there would soon be a veritable crowd. It was such beautiful place that it would have been fun to stay, but I believe we had the best of it, with relatively few people; it truly was a glimpse of paradise. In a couple of hours the place would be teeming with people.

It was a little before 7 a.m. when we left Deep Creek Spring, perhaps a little wistfully. It was very pleasant there but I knew that shortly it would be crowded. Immediately, the canyon narrowed and shortly we crossed a bridge and continued down along the top of the canyon as we had done the day before. The trail headed down at a steeper rate and seemed less windy, with fewer trees. I remember more orange colored earth.

At about 7:30 a.m., before we crossed the bridge, we met a herd of trail runners coning up from the other direction. In another hour they passed again returning, I suppose from Deep Creek Spring. I was surprised. I would have thought they would at least take a dip, by now it is quite warm and they were sweating hard. We met several groups of people coming up the trail including three young men who warned us of a snake on the trail. In a couple of hours we reached the great dam at the junction of Deep Creek and the Mojave Rivers. What service the dam provided was unclear; from its position with respect to the two rivers we had trouble deciding which side was supposed to hold the water back. In the end, we learned we were on the water side but only because we found depth gauges.

We crossed the top of the dam and headed back down to Deep Creek where we forded the cool and shallow water, then climbed the river bank to the other side. There we encountered a forest of green reeds and brush, perfect habitat for small wild life and snakes. It was warm but a gentle breeze was blowing. As we pondered the best path through the brush and to the trail, we heard voices and shortly we came upon a man with two boys, young men. All three held guns. The man announced that today was the opening of “rabbit season.” I had no idea that there was such thing. He proceeded to confirm our fears about the snakes, enumerating the various kinds that were found locally, including the Mojave green and timber rattle snakes He suggested that we might avoid a confrontation by walking down the stream, which paralleled the PCT at this point.

You would think after our last experience (the bikers up near Walker Pass come to mind) taking directions from strangers that we would know better, but this was not to be! The cool creek called to our hot toes and off came the socks and shoes and back in the creek we went. Within a very short distance, the sand turned course and rocky which slowed our pace considerably. Then we arrived at the confluence of the Mojave River and Deep Creek, where we continued on the Mojave Fork in the same direction and parallel to the PCT. The river became dry almost immediately. We continued down this dry snake haven until we found the most open way out and back to the PCT.

Out of the river bed, the guide book had noted that there was some kind of a store near here. We never found it. After crossing a road, we headed back up into the dry, rolling hills for another ten miles or so. There was much sameness to this scenery, hill after hill, one at a time. We measured our distance in time. Eventually we came to the bottom of Silverwood Dam, Here we refilled our water bags below the dam and rested briefly. It was here also that the three of us encountered problems I think, with our kidneys. We wanted to urinate but we couldn’t. We concluded that we were dehydrated and made an effort to drink more in spite of the fact that this seemed counter intuitive to how we felt (we needed to urinate). We were mightily tired of drinking warm water!

Moving on, we came to a fire station and Cody scared up a bee nest. They were not pleased. Imagine the ground too hot to walk on and two tired and hurting human beings and a dog running from a swarm of bees—and run we did for a good quarter mile. This was one of the low points for us, but as always on the trail, things change fast!

It was very hot, but as we moved up the side of the hill toward the lake, we were coming from below the dam, the air began to move and a gentle breeze grew strong enough to provide real relief against the heat of the day. As we moved high enough there were several points where we were close enough to the water to consider going for a swim. There were lots of boats, jet skis and many burned people. The water looked a bit murky and in the end we thought we were better off to find a place to rest for the night. This turned out to be Cleghorn Picnic Area.

The guidebook directed us to a camp a mile or so away, but it was clear that there would be no space. The area was full of families and people enjoying the holiday weekend. We were just too tired to go on and I’m not sure where we would have gone. In the end we stopped at the picnic area to make a meal before sneaking off to the beach to find a place under cover of dark and bushes to rest for the night.

At the picnic area most of the people appeared to be and sounded Hispanic. There were groups of children and adults enjoying barbecues, playing soccer and having a good time. We had a few run ins with ants, but finally found a picnic table near the rest rooms and running water to fire up the stove. There were bunnies running through the grass and birds, all of which intrigued Cody but he was hot and more inclined to rest. Pretty soon he was attracting a crowd of children who were pulling his ears and chattering away at him. Then the mothers appeared and pretty soon we were all talking away. They didn’t speak much English so the children translated for them. We explained were walking to Canada in sections and that we had come from just past Big bear Lake on this hike.

When we arrived here, we were hoping that the little store would be open so we could buy ice cream or a cold drink, but it wasn’t and we were really tired of drinking hot water. Kerry asked the ladies if we could buy a cold drink from them. One of them went away and brought us back a 2 liter bottle of tropical punch and a huge bag of lays potato chips. She apologized that the drink was warm. I think they must have thought we were hungry. We took the punch gratefully and polished it off in very short order. It too was hot, but it wasn’t water! The chips, we declined—perhaps because we did have plenty of food and we didn’t want them to think we didn’t. The punch was wonderful.

Meanwhile the children continued to play with Cody, who continued to delight them with his tricks. Coincidentally, one hundred miles later when we returned to Big Bear to pick up our car and we stopped in Riverside to see one of my high school friends, Kerry saw one of the ladies in a local supermarket. He thought about talking to her but decided that it would be too difficult to explain.

Eventually, the sun went down and people started to leave. We hung around eating our dinner and then headed into the undergrowth and down toward the sand at the edge of the water out of the public eye. We found a spot where the shrubs met the sand, pitched our tent, waxed Mr. Cody’s feet and quickly fell asleep under the stars. We heard the muffled sounds of civilization—people who were camping at least a mile away, but their presence was felt through the lack of silence. It was a balmy night.

Entry 72 of 174
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Journal Photo

Confessions Of A Serial Hiker

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more:


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