My buddy Dennis and I hiked the PCT from Pioneer Mail in Mt. Laguna to Warner Springs over the weekend of 4/29-5/1.
4/29: We left after work on Friday and got to the trailhead at Pioneer Mail around 4:30 in the afternoon and hiked for 2-1/2 hours. We got 7 miles in and got to the Sunrise Trailhead for the night. The weather was wierd, The marine layer was pushing into the mountains due to strong onshore flow and it was windy and very damp. All my gear, my bivy and my bag were soaked by midnight. The forecast was calling for warm dry weather and I left the tarp at home. Dennis faired a little better, he had a poncho tarp that kept some of the dampness off. At about 1:00 am the east winds picked up and so did the temps. Most of my gear was dry by the time we packed up to leave in the morning.
4/30: We got up and going at 6:00 am and headed back to the PCT, Sunrise Trailhead is about a half mile off the trail. The wind was cold and the sun was not up completely yet, so I had all my layers on ( REI Midweight baselayer, Mont-Bell Down inner half sleeve, Sierra Designs Microlight shell, liner gloves, and beanie ). We made good time and were soon dropping down to Chariot Canyon and on to Rodriguez Canyon, where we would get water at the fire tank. The wind was still lingering but helped keep the heat at bay as we dropped to the desert. We had a short break to get water and a snack at Rodriguez and were on our way to Scissors Crossing. We were flying down the trail into the desert and made the Scissors water cache at 1:00 and tanked up. We took an hour for lunch at the Hwy 78 bridge, we found two warm Bud Lights at the cache. Warm beer never tasted so good. We looked at the map and wanted to be near water early the next morning and decided to push on to the First Gate. We made the climb up into the San Felipe Hills and made the first gate at about 5:30pm. We made a hasty camp in some junipers and cooked up some dinner and had a quick, small fire. We were both into our bags by 8:oo pm. The temps were again colder than I planned for and I did not sleep that great, but atleast I was dry.
5/1: We woke up at 4:30 am and were down the trail by 5:00. We made great time to the Third Gate cache and filled our bottles. We were not going through much water, the wind really kept things cool. We saw the only other hikers, on the trip, this day. A section hiker from Thousand Oaks and a thru-hiker from North Carolina. They were were what I would call Light weight hikers, and we blew by them. My constantly shrinking load is great and very prevelant when seeing others with heavy packs disappear behind you. We made Barrel Spring around 11:00 and had lunch and got water. There was a cooler with soda, those were great. We got right back to it and were soon in the rolling hills coming into Warner Springs. My feet were starting to scream at me and the last 30 minutes into Warner took forever. We made Warner at about 3:15 and Dennis' wife was waiting to take us home.
This was a great trip, all over the weekend. No time off work needed. We ended up doing 58 miles give or take. First day was 7, second day 27, and last day 24. Wish I had brought warmer sleeping bag and my tarp, but other than that my gear worked great. This was my first trip with my new stove and poles. i just bought some TiGoat AGP's and the Ti-Microtus stove, they worked great and super light compared to what they replaced.
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