20.9 miles (Miles 283.8 – 304.7)
PCT Mile 283.8 – PCT Mile 304.7
Today was hot, but we had two great creek crossings to break it up – Holcomb Creek and Deep Creek. I dunked in at both. They were very cold, but so dang refreshing!
I enjoyed walking with Phatmando from Australia for a few miles this morning. I got a bit behind Rachel while stopping a bunch to take photos. Phatmando and I chatted about all kinds of stuff from food cravings to elevation, and I think I even brought up catholes. Really. Maybe my trailname shoulda been TMI! Haha! Catholes are a pretty regular occurance out here, so it’s not too weird to talk about it, I guess. :-)
We saw the critters today! Rachel counted 20 lizards in just 10 minutes. We see little lizards, fat lizards, long lizards, black lizards, lightning lizards, push-upping lizards, speckled lizards and stripey lizards! Lots and lots of cutey little lizards. We also saw a few horned toads and seven snakes. The first snake was the best and I’m bummed I couldn’t grab a photo in time. Someone said it was a milk snake. He had bright orange, black and white rings all the way down his body – super-cool looking thing!
Then as I waded in Deep Creek, Rachel saw another snake swimming, and I posed the question, “do snakes eat fish?” It wasn’t too long later a couple of other hikers spotted another snake swimming – we actually got to see him capture a 6″ long fish by the tail, fight with it, and try to drag him on shore. He finally found a spot to settle as we continued to watch him completely devour that fish. It was absolutely fascinating! That fish wiggled and gasped the entire time the snake worked on him. What a crazy-awesome bit of nature to witness – it was the highlight of the day for sure!
In the afternoon we hit the trail past the Deep Creek Bridge. This 15-mile section of the trail was actually closed for a couple of years due to a winter storm in 2010 that caused small landslides that eroded the trail away. As we hiked part of it, I totally understood how it could have easily been impassable in spots. There was a rough, rocky cliff going straight up to our left, we hiked on an 18″ wide path (sometimes even narrower!), and on our right was a drop-off probably a good 300′ down into the Deep Creek canyon. There were a few spots where the trail was still a bit sketchy… there wasn’t much view-gazing going on while hiking on that! Eyes and full concentration was on the trail! The story of a hiker falling to his death on this stretch a few years back helped keep us even more alert!
We found a tiny little flat spot along this crazy ridge to cowboy camp tonight. It’s warm, cloudless, we have crickets serenading us, and the stars are popping out and winking at us. We did a good-mileage day today, so we are tired! Dins was broccoli and cheese rice with tuna and Cheetos. Nutter Butters and M&Ms for dessert. In 37 miles is a McDonalds… it wasn’t at the last highway like I thought… it’s the I-15 crossing at Cajon Pass coming up. Mmmm, fries… fries will pull me those next 37 miles!
Good night world!
A few more photos from today: