Day 17: But to Fall

Mile reached: 328.2 (+29.7 + 0.3 bonus)

High: The weather and terrain were perfect for doing my first 30

Low: Saying goodbye to (and arguing with) my trail family of the last week

People I surprised from behind: 4 (in my defense I’m not intentionally doing this, people are just jumpy)

Everyone had cowboy camped the night before, and due to close proximity to the water all of our bags were covered in morning dew. Annoyingly, the canyon was deep enough that it would be some time before the sun would reach us. So, we all just stuffed our bags away and resigned to air them out later in the day.

Again, I was the last one to leave camp but quickly caught a few people once I got going. Within a mile or two I found Jenna crouched in front of the 300 mile marker attempting to take a selfie. I helped her out and took her photo.

It’s hard to believe how quickly that came. Mile 200 seemed not long ago at all.

The trail proceeded to traverse the side of Deep Creek Canyon. This section of trail was definitely more interesting than expected. We were continuously treated to the sound of rushing water and the contrast of lush trees against a barren rocky backdrop. It was also fun to catch people, because you see them in the distance across the side canyons. I inadvertantly scared a number of people as I passed them; I guess I wasn’t making enough noise. In full disclosure, I attempted to scare “DN”, but she was on to me stepping out of the way without even turning around.

A bridge over the lower section of Deep Creek

The highlight of the day was the hot springs on Deep Creek. I showed up and joined a group of Mexicans in the hottest pool. It was great for soothing sore muscles. Slowly, the others trickled in and joined me. This area is also known for attracting lots of nudists, and by noon they also started showing up in droves. I made me laugh to see that the Mexicans were not amused by this. Towards the end, “The Giving Tree” made an appearance as well. Apparently, he did a 27 mile day yesterday, and caught up to us since we were going slow.

I quickly ate my lunch, and got ready to go. I still needed to do 20 miles in the afternoon. I said my goodbyes, but Jenna argued with me a bit insisting, “Connor, we need to talk about your miles.” (She didn’t think I would get far enough to actually get more than a few hours ahead.) A few high-fives were exchanged, and I was off.

Due to high fecal coliform counts in the water near the hot springs, I didn’t top up on water. The next stretch was dry, and I felt it. So, I was excited to see the huge dam on the Mohave River and the water I could access at its base. The final stretch of trail for the day seemed monotonous, a long up and down traverse of the foothills bordering the desert. After briefly touching a highway, the trail climbed back up to a reservoir.

The embankment with the San Gabriels of in the distance
All of the desert flowers were in bloom breaking up some of the monotony.
Sometimes the PCT is routed on public easement due to highways.

On the far western end of the Silverwood Reservoir was a day use area that would be my camp for the night. Surprisingly, as I descended to the pavilions I was greeted with cheers from a number of other thru-hikers. Apparently, I had already caught up with the next bubble. It was late, and I only chatted with them for a couple of minutes before heading out to the grass to find a place to sleep.

The final vista of the day as I descended to the day use area

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