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Martin "Lei Low" Rolph
City: Cameron Park
Begins: Apr 12, 2008
Entry Visits: 1,245
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Deep Creek Canyon
I just had the first mosquito of the trip buzz me. I hope I don’t need the tent tonight. I’m camped below the enormous Mojave Reservoir Dam (big dam, no lake) at about 2,350 feet, the lowest I’ve been since I-10 at San Gorgonio Pass.
My campsite last night was scenic but, once again, cold. I awoke to ice in my water bottles and cold feet. I didn’t get out of bed until the sun hit me at 6:20AM. The burned area ended about ¼ mile past where I camped but quickly entered a huge burn area from a 1999 fire. There were patchy stands of trees along Holcomb Creek and a nice established campsite in a stand of Jeffrey pines. Holcomb Creek was pretty and full of little rainbow trout.
After following Holcomb Creek a few more miles, the trail headed up over a small ridge and crossed a series of flats to Deep Creek, the largest creek I’ve seen so far. The PCT crossed the creek on a beautiful steel and wood bridge, then traversed high along the southwestern wall of the canyon. Deep Creek Canyon is very scenic with cliffs and cascades and large pools that look inviting for a dip on a hot day. It wasn’t a hot day. And it was a long scramble down, so I pressed on for the fabled Deep Creek hot springs. Along the way, I passed two through hiking couples that I had met briefly at Nature's Inn: Scratches and Oasis and Cruiser and Reason.
I have heard much about the wonders of Deep Creek hot springs in the past few weeks, and I was looking forward to a hot soak. I finally arrived at 3:30PM, after 17.5 miles of hiking. The spot looks nice from a distance – large sycamores for shade, a few sandy beaches on the creek, and springs that come out of some small cliffs streamside.
As I got closer, I found all of the prime shady spots occupied by 8-10 nudists. One of them filled me in on the spring details – three main pools each about 6 feet wide and 10 feet long. They are supposedly different temperatures, but they all felt like at least 105F to me. The whole area was very over-used and a bit trashy. When the motorcycles arrived on the trail across the river, I decided to leave after soaking my feet.
The last 5 miles continued down Deep Creek Canyon, first on the south side, then crossing a lovely arched bridge to the north side. Just before the bridge, I distubed a beautiful, orange, black, and white, kingsnake sunning in the trail. The canyon ended at Mojave Reservoir on the edge of the Mojave Desert. I can see the sun setting on the San Gabriels about 30 miles to the west. I feel good tonight and felt pretty good all day. A little hot and tired near the end: 20 miles is still a way to hike, but I think I am getting used to it.
Martin “Lei Low"
Tales From The Crest
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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