There and Back Again

18-20 January 2022
PCT hikes around Agua Dulce
(47 miles).

My friend Barnfinder has set a goal for himself to section hike the Southern California section of the Pacific Crest Trail. But there is a twist! Instead of thru-hiking each section and crossing it off the list, he wants to hike every section in BOTH directions! This makes most logistics easier since nearly every hike is just a there-and-back day hike from a parking lot. But even in Southern California there are some more remote parts that will require overnight trips.

On hearing this plan, I told Barnfinder he should change his trail name to “Double Down” since all this there and back again means he gets to go downhill twice! I also like the double meaning (pun intended), referring to him as an extremist who is so committed to the PCT that he has to double his bet!

Recently, he invited me to join him for some of this hilarity, so we booked an AirBnB up in Palmdale for a couple of nights to do some hikes in Section D and E of the trail near Agua Dulce. Day 1 we went southbound from Hikertown for seven and a half miles before turning around.

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Good advice
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Beautiful meadows
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Narrowleaf Goldenbush
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California Buckwheat

Another advantage of the there-and-back hike is the ability to cache water along the way for the trip back. (But then you have to remember where you put it!).

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No one will find it here (not even us!)
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View north across the Mojave towards the Tehachapi Mountains
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Not sure what this is….

On Day 2, we hiked the 10 miles from the Los Angeles RV Resort (formerly Acton KOA) to Agua Dulce. We were particularly enthusiastic about this one because it had a “catered lunch” at a pizza place at the halfway turnaround point in Agua Dulce. It also took us past the “golden spike” where the PCT was completed and through the famous Vasquez Rocks Natural Area where many movies have been set amongst eerie rock formations (I’m looking at you, Captain Kirk!).

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Barnfinder admires the golden spike
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Good morning!
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Flowy trail over smooth golden hills
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We collected and packed out about a dozen mylar balloons along the way
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A natural feature under Highway 14
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A distant hawk (or maybe a falcon?)
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Not sure what this is, either
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California cudweed
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Golden currant
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Vasquez rocks
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Bladderpod

We briefly considered stopping at a local social club in Agua Dulce, but instead we pressed on to pizza.

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Dudes welcome?
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Burial field for the redshirts
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Even nicer on the way back!
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Dobie pod
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Cliff aster
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And from the side
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Almost done!

On Day 3, we did a section from Boquet Canyon Road to Spunky Canyon Road and back. It was a little ho-hum, but the weather was perfect and 12 miles was a great distance for stretching the legs before the trip back to San Diego.

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We can do this!
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Oooohhhh
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Aaaahhhhh
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Boquet Reservoir

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dave says:

    Loved this trip and it was great getting back out on the trail with you! Am also proud to accept the appellation of “Double Down”

    Liked by 1 person

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