PCT Section B Hike
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Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
PCT Section B Hike Planning and Questions on 06/01/2009 16:44:38 MDT Print View

So I'm throwing together a last minute hike from Warner Springs to San Gorgiono Pass next week and wanted to ask a few questions for those are familiar with the area.

This is my first truly desert hike and I want to make sure I'm bringing enough water. I have capacity for 6 liters. Will that be enough?

I'm planning on wearing a long sleeve MH Canyon shirt, which is unfortunately dark maroon. I know the dark color will attract heat, but is that a big enough factor to ditch it and get a new white shirt?

Does anyone have any idea how the water is in the area south of San Jacinto Wilderness? I've been checking the PCT water source site but it hasn't been updated for many sources since early May....

Lastly, I believe it will be warm enough at night to ditch extra insulation and just use my sleeping bag (rated to 35, but I sleep warm), is this the case or should I be prepared for temps cold enough to justify bringing along wear-around-camp insulation?

Thanks for any help!

Edited by Rezniem on 06/01/2009 16:46:49 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: PCT Section B Hike Planning and Questions on 06/01/2009 18:10:08 MDT Print View

Nate,

Water Capacity - You should be able to go easily with 4 liters per day for drinking in the hotter sections. Bring more for cooking. Cook meals near water sources, then fill water bottles and move on.

I met several thru hikers a week ago, and water had not been an issue.

Water sources -

Normally reliable:
Lost Valley Spring
Tule Spring

Verified a week ago:
Live Oak Spring
Cedar Springs
Apache Spring
All streams in the San Jac Wilderness

Clothing:
Long Sleeve Shirt, light color makes a big difference. If you don't sun burn, then a t-shirt is fine. Bring a wind shirt.

Weather:
Last weekend the low's below Mount San Jacinto (below 9,000') were close to 50F. You will be fine with your bag. Ditch the other insulating stuff.

Not much in the way of insects in the San Jacintos, so I would skip a tent. If no rain is forcast, just bring a poncho/tarp if you have one just in case. Temps in the days are probably going to be above 80F, so I would go as light as possible, other than water, so you can make easy time between water sources. This hike is mostly uphill, until you descend down into the San Gorgonio Pass, so with the temps and spotty water, Ultralight is the name of the game; definitely a 5lb base or less if possible. There is not much you really need, except food and water. You might look at the thread I posted on the Skyline Trail loop, I would use the same equipment, except use my BPL UL 60 quilt. I brought the Nanatek, just because I wanted to try it out.

If you need any more help, just ask and I will hopefully be able to assist.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Thanks! on 06/01/2009 18:36:22 MDT Print View

That covers exactly the information I need.

I did follow your thread about the Loop trail, and it gave me the idea to work in a PCT section hike on a trip to Palm Springs.

Hopefully I'll have a charged camera battery and can post some pics when I'm done....

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Thanks! on 06/01/2009 19:08:58 MDT Print View

Ouch! That hurts!!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Thanks! on 06/03/2009 03:04:23 MDT Print View

Nate,

I was thinking about water again. You will be hiking in high desert, and day time highs are probably going to be around 70F - 80F next week. If it gets closer to 90F, you should probably have a target of 6 liters per day of drinking water. Water needs vary by individual.

In this area I try to camp near water sources. Between stopping for the day and breaking camp, I try to drink 2 liters and start each day with 4 liters. So if you can hit one water source per day, then you are good.

From Tule Spring to Live Oak Spring, it is a 22 mile hike with little shade. You can opt to take a side trip into Twilliger Valley or Anza for water. If you want to hike straight to Oak Spring, and if it is hot, take 6 liters just in case.

You don't have to fill up at Live Oak Spring, which is 1 mile off the PCT. The hike to Cedar Spring, your next reliable source of water has no shade. This section is about 5 miles, all up hill and you will be exposed on the south and east sides of the mountain. Cedar Spring is also 1 mile off the PCT each way. Both of these springs are nice places to camp. Cedar Spring is in a grove of Incense Cedars and you are probably going to appreciate the coolness and shade of this spot.

It is 8 1/2 miles from Cedar Spring to Apache Spring. It is also about 8 1/2 miles from Apache Spring to Tahquitz Creek. There is little shade on the PCT from Cedar Spring cutoff all the way to Tahquitz Creek, except for descent and ascent at Fobes Saddle. I can do this section with 4 liters and by-pass Apache Spring, but you may want to take a little less water and refill at Apache. It is about 1/2 mile off the PCT.

When you get to the San Gorgonio pass, is someone picking you up? You probably don't want to be hiking on the desert floor. Very good possibly that temps will be in triple digits.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
pct section. on 06/03/2009 10:20:29 MDT Print View

I'd definitely err on the side of more water capacity. But go super light otherwise. Even in late April (when I did this on the PCT) it can be pretty dang hot. Some of the water sources are off the trail, and Apache (we skipped it) is a pretty good elevation drop too, right Nick? I recall looking at the trail heading down and being happy I had enough water to stretch it to the next water source.

It's a long dry hike from the last water source on San Jacinto down to Snow Creek fountain (20 miles?). I'm sure I had 4L at least on the PCT, and I could've used more, and probably drank 3L when I reached the fountain. We met a guy doing the same descent on ONE quart of water, and he was in serious trouble by the time he reached the water.

So, carry lots of water when needed, and do it super light otherwise. It'll be a great hike!

Edited by DaveT on 06/03/2009 10:22:17 MDT.