A Deep Creek

Holcomb Crossing Trail Camp (PCT mile 294.1) to Hwy 173 (mile 314.3)
(20 miles, +2,700/-4,800 feet).

Last night was COLD!  The thermometer said 18 degrees.  My toes said numb!  I need to remember my extra sleeping bag on these winter expeditions….

At daybreak we packed up quickly and headed into the morning light.

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Silhouette on the ridge
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Glow on the hills
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Shadows in the folds
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Barnfinder on the trail

There were more stream crossings but nothing as challenging as yesterday (well, not yet anyway).

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This is easy stuff!

As the sun rose in the sky, color filled the green growing things along the trail.

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Neon moss
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An early bloom

By 8:15am we made it back to Splinters Cabin where we ditched a lot of our stuff in Barnfinder’s car so we could slack pack the rest of the day.

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Frost on the Splinters Crossing bridge

After one more river crossing we headed up to a high traverse above Deep Creek.

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Once more, with feeling
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Heading up to the traverse

Deep Creek lives up to its name, though it is even deeper than I expected, and bigger.

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JimmyJam admires the view
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The PCT was found shot at the scene
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Deep Creek looking south
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Are we there yet?
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A turn in the trail
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Barnfinder hikes ahead
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Spring has sprung

Around 11am we stopped for a break and then split up, Barnfinder heading south and me continuing north.

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Barnfinder went that-a-way

An hour later I got water from a nice stream crossing, finished my refried beans (yum!), and then continued on my way to Deep Creek Hot Springs.

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Lovely water
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A yellower canyon
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Boulder walls above Deep Creek
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View to the east

I wasn’t sure what to expect at the hot springs.  It has a reputation for being “clothing optional” so I was ready to give it just a glance and continue on my way.  But it was really mellow and most people were clothed, so I decided to stay for a bit.  The water was about 101 degrees and perfect for my trail-worn feet.

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This is nice!
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Only a couple of naked people…

Refreshed, I headed back to the trail where it became quite green at lower altitudes.

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A green tunnel

The trail passed from the south side to the north side of the canyon at the well-named rainbow bridge.

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I hope there’s a pot of gold over there
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View upstream from Rainbow Bridge

The flowers were really starting to come out in this part of the canyon.

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Wildflowers
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Lupine!
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More flowers

The last few miles were very level, following an old aqueduct that had since been abandoned.

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The PCT is the line in the middle on the left

Near the end of the canyon, the Mojave Forks dam came into view.  How strange to see such a huge man-made project with no discernible purpose!

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Why?

The PCT goes along of the base of the dam and then crosses a marshy area where you have to cross Deep Creek.  Normally it’s not too bad, but in this very wet year the water was chest deep.  I lucked out and found an alternate that only got me wet up to my hips.

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Marsh below the dam

After the crossing I climbed up to the 173, where Barnfinder was waiting with my dry clothes, an icy soda, and some chips.  What a way to end a spectacular trip!

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