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Begins: Apr 1, 2008
Date: Wed, Jul 6th, 2005
Start: Islip Saddle
End: Near Head of Bare Mountain Canyon
Daily Distance: 23.9
Trip Distance: 1,126.8
Entry Visits: 390
Journal Visits: 69,232
Guestbook Views: 3,645
Guestbook Entrys: 9
22 Islip Saddle to Bare Mountain Canyon
At 4:30 a.m. the alarm went off. Kerry had never reset it after the morning we left early to hike to Guffy Campground. I think we silently acknowledged that getting up earlier got us well on our way before the oppressive heat of the day closed in. This morning was warm—down from the high mountains and even though we would ascend again, the remainder of this section was trending ever downward toward the desert once more.
Cody slept the sleep of the dead, he was dog-tired (now I know what that means!) and I don’t believe he would have bothered if a bear had come right up and put a paw on him! But like every morning, he got up and ate his breakfast enthusiastically before getting back on the trail. The trail this morning took us across the road again and up the side of Mt. Williamson. In the cool of the early morning this was a real blessing. The day took us up and down through Rattlesnake Canyon, then Cooper Canyon and on up to Cloudburst. We saw many wildflowers and birds and enjoyed the unfolding scenery.
Some time in the afternoon we again approached the road (highway 2?) and stopped at Camp Glenwood where the guidebook promised elevated tanks of questionable water. The main problem with the water was that it was boiling hot. Not only was it elevated, but it had to travel through above ground metal pipes to get to a spigot. After looking at our options, we decided to rinse some of our sweaty clothes; the water was hot after all, and eat a cooked meal and move on. After rinsing some of our clothes but before starting the stove, a group of seniors stopped by to say hello. They were out on a bus for the day and had stopped for a walk. They were interested in our journey and one of the men insisted that down the road, “about a mile,” was a microbrewery called Newcome’s. A good hot meal could be had to go with the ice cold beer.
At this section of the trail, we could see from the map that it traveled close to the road and crossed it in a couple of places. Not wishing to miss the promised restaurant, we walked down the road about a mile and a half before coming to the last place where the trail intersected the road. Reluctantly, we decided that the directions to Newcome’s must have been in error and prepared to return to the trail. As we approached the trailhead we found a note attached to a gatepost with directions to Newcome’s another two and a half miles down the road! Once again, we were surprised at how different a person’s perspective can be while traveling by car. The restaurant was not a mile from where we had first heard about it but closer to five miles!
We had given up our cooked meal in favor of a cold beer, which we never got. Hot now in the afternoon, the land, though still mountainous was rapidly returning to the chaparral landscape of the lower hills. Our next destination was Sulphur Springs, where the guidebook promised a spring, a campground and running water. Near Sulphur Spring, we came to a junction that pointed one way for horses and another for hikers. It failed to mention that the spring was on the horse trail, and by taking the hiker trail we missed the spring altogether, To make matters worse, the taps at the campground were capped off and the stream running through the camp was yellow and evil looking.
Frustrated, we backtracked to the spring, which was just a little better than the still stream water. The next water source was thirteen miles away. Tired, hungry and thirsty we continued on past Sulphur Springs for another hour before stopping on a saddle to camp for the night. Since we had run out of Aqua Mira, I tried to boil as much water as possible before drinking it. Tonight we had ramen noodles with miso soup and as much liquid as I could add and retain good flavor. It was wonderful—filled all the empty spaces inside us. We knew that Fountainhead Spring was near by, we just didn’t know exactly where and we were concerned that we might go by it in the dark unaware. As it turned out, the spring was not viable anyway, but that was for tomorrow; now, it was time to stop.
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: www.pcta.org
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