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Deep Creek Hot Springs

The Moon is Waning Gibbous (97% of Full)


Trip Report March 8

All posts are those of the individual authors and the owner of this site does not endorse them. Content should be considered opinion and not fact until verified independently.

March 10, 2010 03:35AM
Hiked in from Bowen Ranch hitting the trail about 8am. Only one other truck parked there. I looked over the road coming in taking interest in the discussion about the conditions. My Hyundai had no trouble with any of the areas. After the cattle crossing there are quite a few ruts coming up the hill but most cars have created a lane which keeps your tires from being thrown around in all the high channels. The asphalt is good up to the edge of the road where the the water has cut 2 V's leaving a point which is being undermined. I noticed that the asphalt has a lot of cracks in it from sun damage and age. The rest of the road is fine until where it narrows just before the intersection at the Ranch. The road down to the parking lot is really the worst area. On the hill are some big erosion channels which leave a car on 3 tires bouncing over them. If you are worried about you underside there are some parking places above the bad spot. The trail coming down from the parking lot as I said in the March 3rd report has had motorcycles on it and it appears more have been on it since my last report. The rain from the weekend with the loose dirt from the bikes has made quite a muddy mess and left erosion channels beginning to cut the hill. The new trail below the metal Deep Creek sign has also cut the trail bed and left a couple of places with a shallow ditch to cross and an area with a 20-30 degree angle. Also the last section of the trail as you come off the steep part of the trail has a 2 foot deep channel which cuts across the main trail descends to the plateau above the springs. This channel is one of the multiple paths across the springs side of the cliff, but I have noticed the rapid deterioration in the last 6 months. Although legal, 4 bicycles had descended the goat trail around the side of the last section and left some significant tracks. Over time these and the motorcycles I have seen in the area have damaged that fragile trail cut into the side of the hill. Several areas are somewhat tricky as the the sandstone steps are eroded and the trail begins to angle toward the edge. (Road report concluded)

The creek was down about a foot from the 3rd but the crossing is no less difficult. The nice sand bar which was about 20-30 down from the usual crossing is being eroded in the thalweg. The river dare I call it is moving and cutting down on both the close and far side and so it was still about mid chest on me and I am 6 feet. The flow still has a strong pull and so one should be aware that the last part requires walking up the stream with some effort to maintain one's balance. The bottom seems to have more larger round submerged rocks (1-2 feet with some sand and reeds between them) on the near side and in the thalweg, where the flow is moving the fastest, there are now more pebbles than sand. Where you come out of the creek at the point below the Crab Cooker is a growing sand bar with a hole just before you come onto the rock.

There were 2 guys who had camped overnight sleeping on the rocks. They hiked down to Family Canyon right after I arrived and so since I had the Womb to myself I decided to drain the pool and scrub the algae. The Womb has been collecting a deep layer of the green algae but each time I have been there in the last couple of months there have been to many people to clean it out. I spent an hour with a scrub brush on the throne and across the dam and opposite seating areas. By then the pool was down to the drain and the rest of it was beginning to dry out.

I went back to my hike which took me by the "Warm Springs" pools - the flow was over the top of the wall and the main flow of the creek was coming over it. I could just make out the top of the wall and so it is still intact. The maintenance crews did a good job last summer clearing the trail into that area and beyond. As one get closer to the Willow Creek area the brush is intruding on the trail and needs some maintenance. The Willow Creek crossing on the trail is about a foot to 2 feet deep so I'd estimate there is about a 1/3 of the volume from that source and 2/3 from Deep Creek. I should say that is not a major release of water from Arrowhead since they have had more rain last weekend. I'd be interested to see how much Holcomb is contributing but I didn't go up that far.

I returned to the Womb, saw that it was almost dry and that no one was needing to use it. A third guy had arrived and was in the Anniversary Pool. The other 2 had returned from their trek.

I did see one person who appeared to be a PCT through hiker. Seems a little early with all the snow depth around Onyx Summit and Holcomb but he was dressed for real cold. From the collapsed nature of his pack I would say he was wearing all that he had except his food and sleeping bag.

There was little trash around the Springs except what the campers had piled up by the trees across from the Springs. It looked like they were planning to police it up themselves.

Now for the end of the story. I mentioned that 4 bicycle rider came down the trail. They arrived just as I was coming out around 2 pm. They were dressed in bike riding cloths and not the normal 'springer' attire. It occurred to me they were going to take them down the PCT to 173. I asked if they were intending to ride it on out and the leader replied they were. So I asked if they knew it was only for foot and hoof and it got quite. So I said well now you know and there are Federal fines associated with that and as a member of the PCT Association I need to let you know I have the Rangers number in my cell phone. Oh you would have thought the world was ending. He knew all the time about the prohibition. I figured escalation would accomplish nothing and the PCTs guidance after stating the facts is move on. I did tell him that he wasn't teaching his kids good values by breaking the law, but he was hell bent on crossing and riding. Same attitude we see in the ATVs except these people dress like they are the elite.
As I climbed up the first part of the trail I had a good view of his futile efforts to find an easy crossing. He had watched me cross and I had told him that the crossing at the Springs are the easiest way. Obviously the chest high cold water didn't appeal to his bike sensabilities. He checked every area from the Springs down around the turn and even further crossing into the shallow channel and realizing beyond the rocky island was a torrent. I decided they would actually fail in their efforts after watching for 15 minutes from above. It occurred to me that he had done this before in the mellow creek times of the fall when every crossing is possible and relatively easy. Those of us who have been to the creek hundreds of time and watched all of its moods understand that you can never take this area for granted. I've appreciated Wizards flood pictures over the years and that has caused me to hike in on a stormy day to see the Womb and the rocky point underwater and main channel moving 45 miles an hour in a true torrent. It pays to understand the power of the creek and never forget it is really true wilderness. As Wizard calls it, OZ is both a wonderful and dangerous environment.


Trip Report March 8

coyote1890March 10, 2010 03:35AM

Re: Trip Report March 8

Paul P.902March 10, 2010 12:15PM

Re: Trip Report March 8

Wizard821March 11, 2010 08:48AM

Re: Trip Report March 8

stoney1855March 14, 2010 05:14AM

Re: Trip Report March 8

LaughingBear876March 14, 2010 10:20AM

Re: Trip Report March 8

coyote1599March 15, 2010 08:49AM

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