20 April 2021
Deep Creek Bridge to Road Near Highway 173
PCT Mile 298.5 to 318.7
What a crazy day! It feels like we packed three days into one.
I got great sleep under the bridge last night and when I woke up this morning, I packed quickly. Half an hour before sunrise I was on trail. Perfect!
Goose and I planned to meet at our first water stop for the day where the trail neared Deep Creek. It was a gorgeous breakfast spot!
After breakfast, the trail wrapped down and up around each ravine, turning gradually from north to west.
Goose got a great video (Instagram @tuckerontrail) of a hawk that circled around our head.
After about 10 miles we made it to the hot springs. It was weird, as usual. One group of stoners sat in a line staring at the river while listening to loudly blaring free jazz that echoed off the canyon walls (actually, the music was pretty cool, if not exactly LNT).
Another group was in the river, itself, and another group was in the lower hot springs at river’s edge. That means Goose and I got the upper hot springs all to ourselves!
We eventually joined the hikers at the lower springs, where we once again saw Trainwreck and Red Light. We chatted while alternating soaks in the icy river and steamy springs.
Goose and I got our fill of the scene after about an hour, and then we headed out.
For the first time this trip, I saw horses on the PCT. The trail is designed for horses, but I hardly ever see them.
Our next break was at a lovely tributary with still pools below a mossy flowing trickle of water that was filled with frogs.
Trainwreck and Red Light pulled up and demonstrated their backcountry gourmet skills.
Not 5 feet away from us, poison oak was spilling into the trail. Needless to say, we were careful on our way out!
A few miles later we reached the pretty “rainbow bridge” that crosses the creek.
And a short while after that we started getting our first views of Baldy (Mount San Antonio).
For the last part of Deep Creek, the trail follows an old aqueduct before ending in a giant flood control dam that seems to be strangely in the middle of nowhere.
We took a break in the shade of a tree at the base of the dam and then started a long climb.
Once we had cell service, we stopped to book a room in Cajon Junction for two nights. The plan is to Uber there this afternoon, Uber back tomorrow, and then “slackpack” back to the hotel tomorrow night, meaning we can leave most of the stuff in our backpacks at the hotel.
Unfortunately, we accidentally booked the wrong hotel. We climbed a bit to sit under a Sycamore tree while we were on hold to fix everything.
The bush poppies were EXPLODING! It seems like they all bloomed at once. we had them the whole rest of the afternoon as we hiked toward a place to descend to the highway.
Near the end we crossed paths with a trail runner who stopped to ask us about our thru-hike. He seemed very nice, but soon he was on his way.
When we dropped to the road neither Lyft nor Uber had any drivers. D’oh! But there was a truck parked there, and sure enough, the trail runner showed up not 5 minutes after we did. He offered us a ride to our hotel. The trail provides!
His name was Jerry, a special needs teacher who at 48 was already a grandfather! He seemed mellow and at peace with the world.
At the hotel we had showers, did laundry, got beer and Subway sandwiches, and then planned out our slackpack for tomorrow.
Feet and muscles ache
Until they float buoyantly
In Deep Creek Hot Springs