Oops, I Did 28!

Hwy 173 (PCT mile 314.3) to Cajon Junction (mile 341.9)
(28 miles, +4,200/-4,400 feet).

It’s been a wonderful wet winter here in Southern California, so I was eager to get back to the PCT to take advantage of its unusual lushness.  I thought I would pick up where I left off with Barnfinder, finishing the 28 miles of Section C that lead to Cajon Junction at I-15.  The plan was to hike about 20 miles today, camp overnight, and then do the last few miles tomorrow.

One virtue of doing this section solo is that the I-15 is a busy road served by Uber.  I met my driver at San Bernardino State and had him follow me up to mile 342 at Cajon Junction where I left my car, and then I hopped in with him for the rest of the ride to Mile 314.

By 7am I was on the trail, where I encountered an old grave for two dogs named “Lady” and “Lucky.”

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Not so lucky

My shadow stretched long in the early morning light as I hiked through burn zones sprinkled with spectacular wildflowers.

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Stretchy
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Burn zone
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Blue and gold
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Wildflowers all along the trail

I couldn’t believe how much water there was.  Not only were all the usual water sources available, but creeks were flowing in just about every major ravine down the mountain

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An unusual sight in SoCal
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Riparian denizen

The trail climbed above the Mojave River basin and got somewhat drier, but the wet winter still showed itself in spectacular displays of bushes on fire with color.

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Mojave below, Mount Baldy above
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You are here
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Flower-filled bushes
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It smells as good as it looks
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A golden highway
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More gold
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A golden closeup

As I neared Silverwood Lake, the trail skirted to its north around a huge dam and an interesting (if not too scenic) set of man-made structures.

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Silverwood Lake Dam
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Yes, this is also the PCT
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Mojave Siphon Power Plant

After a mile or so of road walking, the trail climbed up to a saddle where I got my first view of the lake.

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Silverwood Lake
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My lunchtime beach
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Walking the rim above Silverwood Lake
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Tall grasses line the trail

I stopped off at Cleghorn Picnic Area to get some water and then continued on my way.  At about two o’clock I hit the halfway point feeling very good. I started wondering if I should turn my overnight trip into a day hike….

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Hmmm…  Should I just keep going all the way?
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A lovely cactus garden
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Lupines

I reached mile 22 still feeling good and with three hours left before dark.  It was crazy windy and it looked like storms were building behind me, so I made the call to just keep walking.

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Storms brewing over the desert

I had in mind that the last 5 miles of the hike would be sort of ho hum because of their close proximity to a truck stop on a major highway.  But they turned out to be some of the nicest scenery of the day!

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Badlands near Cajon Pass
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Purple
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Lots of purple
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Lots of yellow
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Even more yellow

With just two miles left, the sun dipped below the horizon, leaving me plenty of time to make it to the famous McDonald’s sign at the end.

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Just two miles left!
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A spectacular sunset 
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Wait, I have to walk there?!?
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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Scott Desposato says:

    Really amazing adventure!

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JimmyJam says:

      We have to plan another one!

      Like

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