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City: Rancho Palos Verdes
Begins: May 9, 2009
Entry Visits: 968
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An interesting and tiring day. I started off really early (before 6:00 am) and the trail continued through this "scrappy" forest. First stop was Big Springs to get stocked up with water. Soon after I crossed into the Rogue River National Forest and the forest changed dramatically back to the much nicer forests that I saw through most of northern California. There was no significant logging and in contrast very little wood debris. It was also a much greener undergrowth.
The trail stayed in the forest and went around and almost to the top of Old Baldy, the namesake of the mountain in Southern California. The forest hid the summit but I had no intention of taking the Viking Trail to go see the view from the top.
My next stop was Brown Mountain Shelter, a small cabin in the woods that hikers can use. It had a wood stove inside and an old water pump outside over a well. There I met another hiker, trail name Socks, who I first saw at Callahans two days ago. We started back on the trail and ended up hiking together the rest of the day.
We went around Burton Butte but again the forest obscured any views. Then we got to Brown Mountain and the environment changed dramatically. This is a volcano-created mountain and there were large swaths of dark grey lava rocks almost all over it. As we went around it, there would be a gully that was covered in these lava rocks and devoid of almost any plant life. Then there would be a ridge where the trees and bushes would resume. This pattern repeated probably twenty times around the mountain. The trail construction was also very interesting. They had moved some of the lava rocks to create a base on which they put a layer of that mauve color crushed lava rock. Then they added a layer of dirt. The net result was an excellent trail and nothing like what we feared it might be like knowing the trail was crossing lava fields.
Half way around Brown Mtn we reached the north east side and there in front of us was a spectacular view of Mt McLoughlin, another product of ancient volcanic activity. This view continued for an hour or thereabouts until we reentered the forest and then almost immediately we crossed Highway 140. There was some concern whether there would be any water here as it can be dry by this time of year. But any worries were unfounded as there was a wide and fast running creek.
After that we climbed 1000 ft as we went up and around Mt Mcloughlin. It was all in forest so the lakes we passed couldn't be seen. When 7:30 pm came, we were both feeling a little weary and we found an open space that would do fine for overnight.
Mad Dogs & Englishmen
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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