Category Archives: PCT

Day 1

Steve and Maria dropped me off at the Southern terminus today at about 4pm.  There were 2 guys there celebrating completing the south bound route with their friends.  The hikers looked kind of hungry….like a couple months of hungry.  We chatted for a few minutes, but I wanted to get started and, frankly, they didn’t want to talk about the trail.    Can’t blame them. 

Trail Angels Steve and Maria


I started walking.   The area was cross-crossed with dirt roads and paths.   After about 10 minutes the south bounders drove by in a car and told me I was going the wrong way.   Great start, John.   

2,649 more to go

After a couple miles I looked down and found this.  

Getting paid to hike

My goal was to get 6 to 8 miles in before I camped.   I know there was a big climb ahead and wanted to put that behind me.  Trail was generally flat for a few, then started climbing.   Sundown came a little before 6:00, so I put on the headlamp turned up the music, and leaned into it.   

So far I had not seen a soul on the trail or lights, etc beside it.  All alone.   I have an excellent singing voice when wearing earbuds.   It gets even better when the volume is turned up.  

At around mile 6 or so I was in the middle of bellowing out a song from Rush 2112.  I rounded a switchback and noticed a headlamp shining on me from the bushes below the turn I just passed.   I stopped, pulled out the earbuds, and shined mine back.   Couldn’t see a thing and neither could the other person.  

Me, “Howdy” 

Girl in the bushes, “Hi” 

“Camping for the night?” 


Me, “Sorry if I scared you.” 

“Yes you scared me a little” 

“Ok, I’m leaving” 

I figured the best thing for Scared Girl was for me to leave asap.   Had this image of her preparing to lunge at me with her spork.  Earbuds back in, singing voice recovered, back to 2112. 

Me “……..Another toy….to help Destroy…. the Elder Race of Maaaan…..”  

Made the top of the ridge line and camped for the night.  Little light pollution.  Could make out the milky way.  

Supply Ride Day 2

Up at 7am, broke camp and on the road by 830.   Talked to a ranger who suggested a good dirt ride starting at Viejas Blvd behind Perkins Store in Descaso.   I put the coordinates into the GPS.  Unfortunately, I tried routing my other waypoints around it and ended up riding back and forth around Mt Laguna and wasted  bunch of time.  Maybe next time.

Decided to skip one of the drops North of Laguna since there is a water tap there.  While roaming around I stopped and chatted with a few gals doing a section hike.   They said they are doing the PCT in 10 mile chunks and figure they’ll be done in about 10 years.  Heh.   

See Ya in Canada

Of my other two drops, got one done at mile 30.  Chatted with a south bound hiker who was just finishing up.  He was bitching there was no reliable water in an earlier stretch (where I have already put water).   He now had bottles dangling from all over his pack and straps.   Wish I’d gotten a pic, but he jammed out after a 5 minute conversation.  


Buried Treasure

Last drop finally required some off road riding.  After 5 miles on the dirt I hit a gate with less than 1 mile to go.   Oh well.

After all the dicking around, it was already noon so I decided to make my way back North.   I always wanted to see the Salton Sea, so I routed out that way. I’ve seen the pictures and had this image in my mind of huge disappointment.  The GPS put this as the center of the Sea. 

The GPS Says I’m on the Beach

Off to Salton City.  Must be some Salton Sea action there?   There was this sign by the highway on “main street”

Alice has been bugging me about living by the water.   Could this be our opportunity?   Cris-crossing the empty desert landscape are streets named after watery paradises like Honolulu street, Maui blvd, Monterrey street, etc.  

And here we have one of the lovely estates in the “keys”.  

Here’s the view

Dreams Evaporating Away

This house includes a boat dock! 

Waiting for the Tide to Come

Wow, sign me up.   For some reason, I love finding these gravestones to human folly.  A sea created by accident, which was clearly going to disappear eventually, spawned a few hundred shacks and a grid of empty, decaying streets in the middle of a hot, windy, desert.   Things like this are scattered all over California.   Hopefully I’ll be a little better writing about them in the future. 

For further reading, this is a good article about that special magic of the Salton Sea.

BTW, I sent the photos to Alice.   I don’t think we’ll make an offer.  

Oddly enough there is a thriving tourism business here.   Folks riding Razors and Quads in the dust bowl.  After lunch at the only restaurant I could find, I chatted with a couple about the riding (all flat and sandy).  Got a picture of their two bobble heads in the back seat.  The little guy in the foreground thought he should be driving. 

I left at 3:00 and don’t plan to return any time soon.   From here it was 90 mph most of the way to the 10, through palm springs, Riverside, then 210 back home at 7:00.   Traffic was bad from Riverside onward, so about 70 miles of lane splitting stress.  

From a riding point of view, I saw several good spots in Cleveland forest area.  I’d like to go back there again.   The bad news is that traffic getting to/from is insanely bad.  Next time, I’ll have to plan for crossing this mess only in the very early mornings.

Route Summary


Supply Ride Day 1

Left a little late from T.O.   Most of the ride sucked.   Lane splitting from Agura until Temecula.   Finally at around 4:00, I left humanity and rode a nice 2 lane to Warner Springs.   On the way there, this caught my eye.    

Raptor Mechs

This, uh, desert artist has been slaving away on these metal sculptures for decades.  The detail on some of these is amazing.  All for sale if you have $3k to $20k.

Buy Me

Outside Warner, I arrived at my first drop point.    Goal is to bury some water where I can find it next week.    Walked over to the biggest tree next to the road and saw this

Doing Their Part

Way to leave no trace, boys and girls.    If you look closely there were also little bits of used TP laying around and lots of 1ft diameter piles of distrubed earth.   Wonder what that dirt covered…..    I carefully selected a spot with no undisturbed earth then made my move.   

Here is the booty ready to be covered

On to the next spot 

Was getting dark so I started toward MT Laguna.   As I climbed, temp kept dropping.  By Lake Cuyamaca, it was 42 and that was enough.   Setup for the night.     Tomorrow I’ll make 3 more drops then see if I can find some dirt to ride on.   

My PCT Hike Starts Here

….Sort of.    I am heading out today on my bike to preposition some water and food on the first section between Campo and Warner Springs.   The waypoints on the map are the approximate locations.     I plan to hike this section during Thanksgiving week.  Don’t suppose there will be much trail angel action going on in November so I self-angel.   

I’ll do a little exploring around the Cleveland forest and post some pics.