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City: Rancho Palos Verdes
Begins: May 9, 2009
Date: Sat, Nov 21st, 2009
Start: Kitchen Creek Rd
End: Mt Laguna
Daily Distance: 12
Trip Distance: 2,674.0
Entry Visits: 3,014
Journal Visits: 133,066
Guestbook Views: 13,712
Guestbook Entrys: 182
Kitchen Creek Fill-in
If you recall the second day of my hike, I had to take a detour at Kitchen Creek due to a crash of a Marine Corps Super Cobra helicopter earlier in the week that killed two marines. I said at the time I would go back and hike this section to honor those two marines that lost their lives. I also did a little research and found out they were Capt. Jessica Conkling, 27, of Centre, Pa., and 1st Lt. Aaron Cox, 26, of Pulaski, Ark.
So this past Saturday, a good friend of mine, Brian, and I drove down to San Diego. Our logistics were a little complicated. We started at Mt Laguna picnic area where I locked up my mountain bike and a cooler with some cold beer for the finish. We then drove around to Kitchen Creek Rd and found the southern end of the PCT closure where we parked the car and started hiking north. It was a perfect day for hiking – sunny and cool. The trail was in great condition and it was generally a very gentle and consistent gradient climbing just over 2000 ft in 12 miles.
We soon reached the Cibbets Flat campground road where there were tables set up with lots of refreshments. We had seen lots of white powder marking the trail (I assume it was flour) and we found out there was a 50 mile trail running race ongoing. Coincidentally, this table had a sign in memory of the two marines. So far we hadn’t seen any trail runners or any other hikers. But the views were nice over the rolling hills of San Diego County and the visibility was reasonable. In places there were some deciduous trees dropping their leaves and some ground plants that were a beautiful deep red color.
The first trail runner came south just before noon and thereafter we saw a steady stream of them. We were in admiration of the stamina these folks had to be able to run 50 miles, let alone do it on a rocky trail. Towards the end of our hike we came upon another refreshment station and talked at length with the volunteers serving up drinks and candy. The race started at the PCT junction with Interstate 8 and went 25 miles north where the runners turned around and went back to the start. Interestingly, the runners were of all ages.
From that point I sped up and soon reached Mt Laguna. I then rode my bike back down Kitchen Creek Road that I had hiked up in May. It was an easy ride almost all downhill, but it was a little on the cold side as the sun was nearly setting. I then had to disassemble the bike (wheels, pedals and handlebars came off) so that I could squeeze it into the trunk of my coupe. Then I drove back to Mt Laguna to pick up Brian. It all worked well, and on the way home we stopped in to see some old friends that now live in Vista. Overall a fun day and a closure to my PCT hike.
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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