Holcomb Crossing Trail Camp (PCT mile 294.1) to Hwy 173 (mile 314.3)
(20 miles, +2,700/-4,800 feet).
Last night was COLD! The thermometer said 18 degrees. My toes said numb! I need to remember my extra sleeping bag on these winter expeditions….
At daybreak we packed up quickly and headed into the morning light.
There were more stream crossings but nothing as challenging as yesterday (well, not yet anyway).
As the sun rose in the sky, color filled the green growing things along the trail.
By 8:15am we made it back to Splinters Cabin where we ditched a lot of our stuff in Barnfinder’s car so we could slack pack the rest of the day.
After one more river crossing we headed up to a high traverse above Deep Creek.
Deep Creek lives up to its name, though it is even deeper than I expected, and bigger.
Around 11am we stopped for a break and then split up, Barnfinder heading south and me continuing north.
An hour later I got water from a nice stream crossing, finished my refried beans (yum!), and then continued on my way to Deep Creek Hot Springs.
I wasn’t sure what to expect at the hot springs. It has a reputation for being “clothing optional” so I was ready to give it just a glance and continue on my way. But it was really mellow and most people were clothed, so I decided to stay for a bit. The water was about 101 degrees and perfect for my trail-worn feet.
Refreshed, I headed back to the trail where it became quite green at lower altitudes.
The trail passed from the south side to the north side of the canyon at the well-named rainbow bridge.
The flowers were really starting to come out in this part of the canyon.
The last few miles were very level, following an old aqueduct that had since been abandoned.
Near the end of the canyon, the Mojave Forks dam came into view. How strange to see such a huge man-made project with no discernible purpose!
The PCT goes along of the base of the dam and then crosses a marshy area where you have to cross Deep Creek. Normally it’s not too bad, but in this very wet year the water was chest deep. I lucked out and found an alternate that only got me wet up to my hips.
After the crossing I climbed up to the 173, where Barnfinder was waiting with my dry clothes, an icy soda, and some chips. What a way to end a spectacular trip!