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Hiking in a Storm on the PCT

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Re: Hiking in a Storm on the PCT

Postby Jimr » Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:18 pm

You know those cartoons where a character flies off the end of a cliff, suspends with their legs pedaling wildly, the suddenly, drop? Wiley Coyote comes to mind. That's what a Mary Poppins ride would have been like. :retard:
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Re: Hiking in a Storm on the PCT

Postby Hobbes » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:56 pm

schmalz wrote:Sounds great. Does section A enter Anza Borrego or any other state parks? (aka is it dog friendly?) I haven't spent enough time investigating that.


The cool thing about section A, besides its natural beauty, is that it doesn't require any overnight permits. Most of it is in either the Cleveland national forest, which while having four wilderness areas, only one is near the PCT (up Hauser canyon where no one really camps), Anza-Borrego state park, or BLM lands. The two sections I liked the best, Mt Laguna to Scissors crossing, and Scissors to Barrel springs, are mostly in Anza-Borrego:

Image

Mt Laguna to Scissors can either be 36 or 30 miles, while Scissors to Warner/Barrel springs can be 32 or 24 miles. By far the easiest logistics in terms of both getting there and shuttling cars is Scissors to Warner springs. (To which Jim can attest in getting a ride so quickly.) Mt Laguna is more circuitous and time consuming, as well as expensive if you were to pay someone.

The slam dunk, easy-breezy trip would be to take off after work Friday down the I-15, get to WS in about 1.5 hrs and drop your car there or Barrel springs, get shuttled to Scissors by 7-8pm, camp like a hobo in the sketchy, creep-a-troid wash by the Scissors underpass (just kidding - there's hikers, trail angels and all sorts of activity since it's such a major crossroads - again, reference Jim's quick ride), and charge up the switchbacks into the San Felipe hills by 6am the next morning.

If you're only going to Barrel springs - which would be my suggestion - then you're looking @ 24 miles max. 3rd gate - the big stopping spot since it has a water cache and flat spaces for camping - is 13.7 miles and a 1.3k net gain to 3.6k from 2.3k @ Scissors. (There are dips and climbs that add to the gross total.) That would leave 10.3 miles for the second day, with another 1k gain to 4.6k @ the crest, and then a long, slow descent back to 3.5k @ Barrel.

Special note: even though 3rd gate has a water cache, it's for thru-hikers. That means you would need to carry enough water for the entire 24 miles, including dry camping @ dinner & breakfast. If you hike 2.5mph, that's 10 hours. The general rule-of-thumb for water consumption is 1 pint per hour or 1L per two hours during heavy exercise ie hiking. That means 5L just for yourself, + maybe 1-2L more for cooking, drinking at night, etc. Cali could carry her own water. Water is 2.2 lbs per liter, so you're looking at 15lbs or so of water alone. If it was only one night, and pretty warm, then the rest of your gear could be pretty minimal. Of course, you've got all that fancy photography equipment, so add that as well.

I don't know what your timing or active interest is, but if you're serious and have the time, the next week or so is going to be perfect. I was surprised at the amount of color from all the different cacti blooming, and that was before this storm hit. The herd has already gone through - now there are only smaller numbers leaving until maybe the first week of May, then it will be too hot & dry, so it will actually be pretty quiet.

In the future, I will probably do this hike again as a spring-time hike. Rather than start from the border & take 4 days, I would do either Laguna or San Felipe as one nighters. Or, I might even treat either as a very long day hike - take some bivy stuff in case of trouble, otherwise just hike on through in one day. I know Jim is probably chomping @ the bit to try out San Felipe.
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Re: Hiking in a Storm on the PCT

Postby schmalz » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:17 pm

Hobbes wrote:
schmalz wrote:Sounds great. Does section A enter Anza Borrego or any other state parks? (aka is it dog friendly?) I haven't spent enough time investigating that.


The cool thing about section A, besides its natural beauty, is that it doesn't require any overnight permits. Most of it is in either the Cleveland national forest, which while having four wilderness areas, only one is near the PCT (up Hauser canyon where no one really camps), Anza-Borrego state park, or BLM lands. The two sections I liked the best, Mt Laguna to Scissors crossing, and Scissors to Barrel springs, are mostly in Anza-Borrego:

Image

Mt Laguna to Scissors can either be 36 or 30 miles, while Scissors to Warner/Barrel springs can be 32 or 24 miles. By far the easiest logistics in terms of both getting there and shuttling cars is Scissors to Warner springs. (To which Jim can attest in getting a ride so quickly.) Mt Laguna is more circuitous and time consuming, as well as expensive if you were to pay someone.

The slam dunk, easy-breezy trip would be to take off after work Friday down the I-15, get to WS in about 1.5 hrs and drop your car there or Barrel springs, get shuttled to Scissors by 7-8pm, camp like a hobo in the sketchy, creep-a-troid wash by the Scissors underpass (just kidding - there's hikers, trail angels and all sorts of activity since it's such a major crossroads - again, reference Jim's quick ride), and charge up the switchbacks into the San Felipe hills by 6am the next morning.

If you're only going to Barrel springs - which would be my suggestion - then you're looking @ 24 miles max. 3rd gate - the big stopping spot since it has a water cache and flat spaces for camping - is 13.7 miles; that would leave 10.3 for the second day.

I don't know what your timing or active interest is, but if you're serious and have the time, the next week or so is going to be perfect. I was surprised at the amount of color from all the different cacti blooming, and that was before this storm hit. The herd has already gone through - now there are only smaller numbers leaving until maybe the first week of May, then it will be too hot & dry, so it will actually be pretty quiet.

In the future, I will probably do this hike again as a spring-time hike. Rather than start from the border & take 4 days, I would do either Laguna or San Felipe as one nighters. Or, I might even treat either as a very long day hike - take some bivy stuff in case of trouble, otherwise just hike on through in one day. I know Jim is probably chomping @ the bit to try out San Felipe.


Thanks. You have piqued my interest in this section, even if it is not dog friendly :). Hard to pass up spring backpacking. It won't work out this year but maybe next year or the one after.
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Re: Hiking in a Storm on the PCT

Postby Jimr » Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:40 am

I definitely want to do scissors to WS, probably as an overnighter. I'd like to do more spring desert hiking in other places as well. While everything was in bloom, I'd really like to hit a bloom explosion, slow down and do some photography.
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Re: Hiking in a Storm on the PCT

Postby Hobbes » Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:56 pm

Remember the jeep trails down in Chariot canyon & around Rodriquez spur? They are part of what is called the Calif hiking & riding trail system. How about hiking to RS along the north end of the Calif trail that starts right off S78 going to Julian? Check out this location - the TH just a few miles down the road on S78 from Scissors before it begins the long switchbacks up to Julian:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Calif ... b90dc99cdf

It looks to be around 3 miles from the TH to the intersection of Rodriquez spur & the PCT. From there, add the 9 along the PCT to Scissors for a total of 12. If we went to to Warner springs from Scissors, then that's 32, or 44 total. Split into one night & two days of 22 miles would be a good training hike.

In fact, if we continued up to camp spot 87 in the San Felipes on day 1 (ie Scissors is marker 77, so 10 more miles to CS87), then that would make a 22 mile day D1. Voila'. Even better, we could cache some water under the Scissors bridge to cut down the water carry.

And best of all, since it wouldn't require any planning and/or permits, we could pull the trigger anytime in March/April after a good storm added some desert color. Plus, because of the easy logistics (we could drive out in the am & shuttle our own cars), we could get Mav down here, and/or get Brian or others to come along for the fun. Win-win all around.
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Re: Hiking in a Storm on the PCT

Postby Jimr » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:16 pm

That's enticing. The weight savings in food alone would far outweigh the addition of a dSLR and extra lens. Especially if water is cached.
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