PCT 2007 Day 49
Day 49 / 5-13-07 Cowboy
Holcomb Creek – Deep Creek
23.7 miles; 308.6 (11) total miles; 2144.2 trip miles
Sunny, 80’s, no shade
Last night was COLD. I woke up to ice in all my water bottles. Even my olive oil froze, and it froze solid. I heard UB in the AM and thought, “No! it can’t be time to get up yet”, but it turned out she was cold and was putting more layers on.
We got up at 5 and I was hiking by 5:52 am. Most of the day I hiked alone. I came across a hiker I met at the PO in Big Bear named Craig from New Zealand. He was still in his bag when I came by. No more than 5 minutes later I saw some bear tracks in the sand. I made arrows pointing them out but UB missed them. Even later I believe I saw cat tracks.
While enjoying Holcomb Creek, UB and Craig caught me. The creek was beautiful and really made you want to sit and watch it. Next I caught and passed Medicine Man and Stamp Lady.
I was leading the mentioned hikers, and just after Bench Camp, I came across my first rattlesnake! He was small compared to the one I saw in Georgia in 2004. He was maybe 3-3.5 long. He was very black in color and seemed to be yellowish on the belly. UB got some good video of him.
I went on ahead and reached Deep Creek for the first time. I got water and, as I did, UB caught up. She was looking in a bag hanging on the bridge I thought was trash. Turns out Meadow Ed, who had me over for dinner at the Lake Morena campground the night I finished the bike part of the trip, had left a bag of fruit. I took a banana. We both went to the trailhead next to the bridge and got rid of our trash and used the bathrooms. Craig caught us here and we all snacked. A section hiker was there and we chatted with him as we snacked.
I got going and, when I got the down the trail, ran into Meadow Ed and thanked him. Just a bit further down the trail I stopped at a day use area to wet my head and ran into Junk Food and Amir. Junk Food’s family was there and they had a whole spread of lunch meats, chips, fruit and candy. Amir knows Zorro who I met and hiked with on the AT. Amir is from Israel like Zorro. Their family also had a Belgium exchange student and we talked about cyclcross and Belgium cycling stars.
UB and Craig showed up. UB only stayed a short while and then left. I got going a little later. It appeared she wanted to hike alone. It was a long, hot 7 miles to the Deep Creek Hot Springs. I caught UB while she snacked so I had one as well. She moved on and Craig then caught me. We were leapfrogging each other all day.
Once to the hot spring I saw lots of thru-hikers and day hikers. I also saw lots of naked people. Clothing is completely optional! I hung out and soaked my feet and chatted everyone up. I finally asked UB if she planned to keep going and do the 30 miles. She said yes, but I also asked her if she wanted to hike alone since all day she hadn’t been talking very much. My hunch was right and she had decided to go on alone. So tonight is my first night alone on the hike.
I hung out at the springs to cook and give UB time to go on alone. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay or move on myself. I have a new blister on the inside of my left heel and it had been killing me all day. I chatted more and voiced my deep concern/fear I was now going to be spending many nights alone, since my speed/distance is greater than anyone I’ve met so far. I knew if I stayed at the spring it would be noisy, illegal, and I would lose anyone of them tomorrow anyway unless I compromised my hike.
I ended up hiking on a few miles based on what a local told me. His area, that should have had flat spots, didn’t so I camped next to the creek where the bridge crosses it. It a bit noisy because of the water and there’s lots of crickets. Camping alone out here is different then in the campgrounds. It’s a lot further to the next person or populated area out here. It some how makes it lonelier. The stars are out and beautiful as ever.
Oh, I almost forget another first. I saw my first Horny-toad. It was so cool. It was like a miniature dragon minus the wings. I got right down on my knees to check him out. I hope the photos come out well.
Scatman 2011- This was a long day in the sun. I saw a sign that used to have a plastic face to it. It had melted and was now drooping down. It wasn’t that hot but still hot enough to make the day feel longer than it should. The hot springs at Deep Creek were really great but it was also the most people I’d seen since the Kick Off and I realized I preferred less people. Moving on was the right move. The horny toad was really cool. I had really wanted to see one so I was pretty excited when I spotted him. The rattle snake, well I also stepped on him thinking it was a burnt branch. Not cool.
Get out there!