PCT Halfmile 297.7 to 314.3
(16.6 miles, +2,100/-4,000 feet).
The wind calmed down last night, which was great because it was COLD! Our water bottles didn’t freeze, but it certainly felt like it was that cold in the extremely dry desert air.
We started packing up around 5am and were on trail half an hour later (perfect!).
We made our way down to Deep Creek Bridge and kept going because we were still cold.
The trail above Deep Creek clings to the side of a steep canyon, so there aren’t too many places to take a break. But we eventually found a nook to make some breakfast. A passing thru-hiker smiled as I set up our camp stove, and soon we were drinking some of the most spectacular hot chocolate to ever warm a human body.
After breakfast we were able to shed our outer layers and we passed a big milestone for the thru-hikers.
If we were going to miss the Grand Canyon for a local trip, this was a good one. Deep Creek canyon may be the closest thing we have here in SoCal, and some of the views of the river far below were quite breathtaking.
About half way through our hike today the canyon started opening up and getting even dryer as we creeped our way down towards the Mojave.
Around lunchtime we arrived at the infamous “clothing-optional” Deep Creek Hot Springs. It was quite a scene. Most people have their clothes on, but it only takes a half dozen naked people to set the tone. We sat down to eat lunch, but as Half Cookie noted, it’s kind of tough to eat with someone’s butt in your face!
Sorry, I didn’t take any pictures. 🙂
I originally planned to get in the hot springs, but it was Saturday and really crowded and partially nude so we decided to keep on hiking.
After about an hour we arrived at the lovely Rainbow Bridge and crossed to the north side of Deep Creek.
There were lots of nice wildflowers the last four miles of our hike, including many lovely Daturas.