PCT Halfmile 314.3 to mile 304.3 and back
(20 miles, +3,200/-3,200 feet).
Just like me, Barnfinder is section hiking the PCT. But his goal is not just to cover every mile. He wants to do each mile both north and south! So I offered to join him as he works on this doubly-challenging goal.
We thought we might head up to the Angeles Crest this weekend but it’s really cold (at least for us folks here in SoCal)! So we decided to do a section that I’ve already done twice: Deep Creek! I love this part of the trail, and I frequently recommend it to others who ask about my favorite hikes nearby.
Also like me, Barnfinder loves getting an early start and like clockwork he rolled up to my house at 4am. We made it to the trailhead before sunrise.
The first bit of the hike past the Mojave Forks Dam is not so scenic but it did involve a fun water crossing.
Soon we were climbing and had even nicer views of the mountains.
Barnfinder was very optimistic about how long it would take us to do 20 miles today. My normal solo pace on trail these days with a full backpack is about 2.2 miles/hour. So I was thinking 3:30pm. But Barnfinder thought it would probably be between 1:30pm and 2pm. And then, out of nowhere, we passed this ominous sign scrawled on the side of the trail:
We laughed at the coincidence and moved on up the trail. Autumn colors filled the creek.
And as we climbed the canyon just got gorgeous.
We hit the turnaround point where Barnfinder and I parted ways on a previous trip and stopped for lunch. Then we headed back down. With different lighting it was just as beautiful as it was on the way up.
By the time we got back to the water crossing we were on a mission. It turns out that the person who scrawled in the dirt (and also Barnfinder) was right — we were on pace to get back at 1:45. But only if we kept going!
Alas, we didn’t quite make it by 1:45, but no matter. I got to spend yet another day in one of my favorite canyons in California!