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Trip report 4/14

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April 16, 2012 03:16AM
Well I failed to make it all the way up the Bowen Ranch road again on Saturday, 4/14. I left Long Beach at around 6:15am and got to the Bowen ranch road around 7:45am. The sun was out and the road appeared to be a little bit drier so I kept going on it. Farther up ahead I could see the snow was still sticking to the ground. By the time I got to the Oak Springs Road turnoff the road got really muddy. I was able to make it up to the top off the first hill past the Oak Springs cut off but it was really slippery. I decided to stop and put on the cable chains that I had brought with me. After getting all covered in mud attempting to put the cable chains on I found out that they were not the right size, even though the box said they would fit my 15" tires. I was only able to get one half of the cables to hook together. After taking them back off I turned the car around and headed back to Hesperia. I had no idea how long it would take for the road to dry up. At first I was just going to go back home but then I decided to try the PCT trail from the Mojave Dam. I had never done this hike before so I thought I would give it a go.

I stopped in town and used the quarter car wash to get the mud off of my car, my cable chains and my shoes. I then made it to the PCT staging area at the bottom of the hill were the 173 starts to climb up to Arrowhead. By now it was almost 11am. Since I had never hiked this trail and did not have a map with me I decided to tie my sleeping bag onto the back of my day pack and I brought some warm clothes and some food. Boy am I glad I did. I took a wrong turn after being on the trail for just a short time, I had no idea that the PCT trail went way up high along the edge of the mountain. Like a dummy I tried following the river for almost a mile or two. Very hard hiking and I ended up having to wade across the creek a few times. I finally got to a point that I could go no further. On my way back out I saw a couple hiking up along the top of one of the dams. I decided to head that way and I finally located a sign marking the PCT trail. The couple was only hiking near the dam, they were not going on the PCT. I continued on, not really sure how far I had to go. I thought I saw a mile post sign somewhere that said it was something like 6.5 miles from the dam to the springs, to me after my hike it felt more like 10 miles. The PCT trail was not in the best of shape because the recent rains had washed down a lot of sand, pebbles and rocks across the trail. There were quite a few sections where I had to navigate across sand and gravel slides, the trail path was at a 45 degree angle at these spots, I had to crawl across some of these to keep from sliding down into the canyon. I never saw anyone on my hike in, I just noticed one other pair of footprints in the dirt and they were heading in the same direction I was going. I kept thinking I would see the foot bridge right around the next corner, there were lots of corners before I finally saw it. I continued on, the wash outs on the trail were just as bad on this side of the river as they were on the other side. The trail took me up a small canyon that had a stream running through it. When I got to the spot that the trail was suppose to cross, the stream level was too high to walk across using the stepping stones. I looked up and down for an easier way to cross but I could not find one. I had to disrobe from the waist down, carry my shoes and pants over, come back for my pack and jackets. The water was ice cold. I continued on and finally saw the springs. By now it is close to 4:30 pm. I had wasted a lot of time and energy at the beginning when I tried to follow the river.

There were probably about 5 college aged couples at the springs when I first arrived, all textile. I went up under the trees, set my stuff down and quickly got undressed and went for a soak in the Arizona pool. Someone in the group had this super hyper large sized dog that would come charging up to you then quickly turn and run off. The dog did this my gear on the ground and proceeded to get muddy paw prints all over my stuff. The dog's owner never said a thing to the dog. I never got a chance to talk to any of the couples, I was curious on where they parked, they all came in from the Bowen Ranch side of the river.

By 6 pm most of the people had left. I knew I would not be making it back out so I found a spot to lay out my sleeping bag. I had no ground cloth or mat and nothing special to cover my bag to keep the dew off. I spent a pretty miserable night, my bag kept me warm but the ground had lots of rocks and I kept having to position my jacket over the top of my bag to keep it at least a little bit dry from the dew.

There are now two homeless residents residing at the springs. One of them actually sleeps in the Anniversary pool at night, he has long dark hair and very bad teeth. The other guy has been there for months and months, I did not see him until the next morning. He is the super tanned fellow with reddish blond hair and a beard. These two were the only ones I saw on Sunday morning before I left at 7:30 am.

The hike out took me almost 3 hours. It started out to be pretty cold but it warmed up quickly. I had to wade that creek again and it seemed like it was a little bit higher on Sunday than it was on Saturday. This time I completely disrobe because I was afraid my shirt might get wet. The stream is lined with mossy boulder with no great footing. My feet were frozen solid by the time I got everything across the stream. I got dressed and continued on. By the time I was a little past the foot bridge I was sweating a lot. I was not sure if clothes free hiking is allowed on the PCT but since I could see way up the trail ahead of me I decided to go for it. I never saw another person until I got to the top of the dam. Again I totally got screwed up when I got to the dams, for the life of me I could not find where the PCT trail went after coming down off the side of the mountain. I hiked down one dirt road and it dead ended into a big spill way gate, I turned around and climbed to the top of the dam. There was a paved road up there so I walked down it thinking it would take me to the 173, wrong, it just went around to the top of another dam. At least from that dam I could see where my car was parked, unfortunately there was no trail heading down off that dam, I had to climb down a massive boulder field to get to the bottom and then I had to hike through a field to a small stream. I could see the PCT trail across the stream but again no easy way to cross. which required another shoeless water crossing to finally get back onto the PCT trail that headed to my car. WOW I am sure going to get a map before I try this trail again. I think because of all the rain the PCT trail was pretty washed out and not easy to follow near the dams.

I am glad I did this hike but next time I will come better prepared. A little day pack is not the ticket for carrying a sleeping bag, extra clothes and food. My shoulders and back were killling me by the end of the day. Be prepared for about a 3 hour hike, and that is without stopping for a break. It took me exactly 1 hour to get from the springs to the foot bridge. It then took another 2 hours from the foot bridge to my car. You could probably shave 30 to 45 minutes off this last section if you can find and stay on the PCT trail. I was worried about leaving my car overnight at the trail head but when I got back to it everything was fine, no one attempted to break into it.

It is so much easier to come in through the Bowen Ranch. I plan on returning on a Friday late in May, I sure hope the roads will be drivable at that time.
SubjectAuthorViewsPosted

Trip report 4/14

lbcalrr1977April 16, 2012 03:16AM

Re: Trip report 4/14

neogeo712April 16, 2012 09:51AM

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DLM690April 16, 2012 10:21AM

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coyote618April 16, 2012 03:09PM

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Paul P.694April 16, 2012 03:49PM

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lbcalrr588April 16, 2012 06:50PM

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neogeo593April 16, 2012 09:30PM

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outlaw1662April 16, 2012 09:50PM

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Wizard652April 16, 2012 11:36PM

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lbcalrr671April 17, 2012 02:45AM

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mdskibum618April 17, 2012 09:17AM

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Wizard638April 17, 2012 12:07PM

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hiker570April 17, 2012 09:45PM

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mdskibum569April 18, 2012 08:22AM

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Wizard683April 18, 2012 09:06PM

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Wizard908April 18, 2012 09:08PM

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Paul P.498April 17, 2012 09:47AM



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