April 25, 2016
Bench Trail Camp (mile 294.7) to bushcamp (mile 315.1)
We’ve hiked over 300 miles!! Yippee.
Last night it poured! We woke up to a crisp morning with some ice on the ground. Our hands burned as we disassembled our tent. Gloves would have been nice but they were neatly stored deep in our backpacks.
We hit the trail at 7:10. The cold morning slowed us down a bit. As Laurie poked her head out the wet rain fly at 6:45, all but 2 tents were already gone. “I guess we are the late risers around here!”
The trail left Halcomb Creek and settled high above Deep Creek. We traversed the steep hills on either side of the creek, watching it ebb and flow. At times it looked like a lazy river and other moments a fast river gradually smoothing out stones. Vibrant green trees lined the bank and served as a stark contrast from the dry, loose rock on the trail.
We arw both nursing blisters so we took our time making sure to air out our feet and socks during breaks.
We ate lunch at a small stream, listening to the wind whip through dry branches- causing us both to frequently turn our head thinking someone was approaching.
Around 1:30 we finally reached the infamous Deep Creek Hot Springs. As we arrived a group of teenagers were packing up. Dark clouds loomed overhead threatening and spitting but never letting loose.
We enjoyed the warmth of the hot springs all to ourselves. Andy dipped back and forth between the cool river and warm hot spring. Laurie lasted about 10 minutes before overheating and getting antsy to keep walking.
As we were leaving 2 regulars arrived (one was lying in his tent when we walked up but was waiting for the teenagers to leave before coming down to soak). The other was a man who hiked the PCT in 1994 and currently lives in his van. We chatted about potential camping, or lack there of past the hot springs and the weather.
We slowly climbed up the hill to meet back up with the PCT. The trail continued to climb but refreshed from the soak in warm water, our bodies felt good.
We crossed over a rainbow bridge and continued to walk on a neatly carved trail along the side of the mountain. As we got closer to the Mojave Dam the amount of grafiti increased.
Suddenly we turned a corner and there in front of us was the Mojave Damn. The brown dirt, rocks and cement is a stark contrast to the lush Deep Creek valley.
It is a little creepy walking by and near the dam. The trail turns to sand which makes every step harder.
We take off our shoes to cross Deep Creek and walk through a sketchy forest littered with toilet paper, bottles and more grafiti.
We pass a house with signs that read “Warning, no trespassing. Shotguns in use.”
The trail crosses a road and continues to gradually climb. Our feet are starting to talk to us so we look for potential camping spots.
We settle on a flat-ish spot out of sight from the trail. We set up our wet tent and Laurie goes about trying to clean it. She has not yet embraced the “dirt bag” lifestyle.
We eat dinner and watch as the sun slowly fades behind the horizon. In the distance we can see the snow dusted mountains of the Angeles National Forest.
In 2 days time we will be walking there amongst the pine trees once again.
Tonight we are grateful for hot springs and riveting audiobooks.