Today was a day of unexpected’s.
1. My hiking partner for the day, Victor, got sick and couldn’t come. Ok, I can handle a solo hike. Haven’t had one in a few weeks, cool.
2. I was set to do Pine Mtn, Dawson Peak, and Baldy from near Guffy campground. I drove up the 2 and found the gate for Blue Ridge Road closed and locked! Boo.
3. I didn’t have much of a map for other hikes (I only brought Tom Harrison’s Baldy map) and so I wasn’t sure of what else to do. However, I was able to see in the very top of the map a cool looking hike out of Gobbler’s Knob, south of Lone Pine Canyon Road. Alas, as I was driving down this road, which was sketchy at best on my Civic, I encountered an intimidating fella with a shotgun. He didn’t seem to be one I wanted to converse with, so I jetted.
When someone wants to hike a new area but doesn’t have a map of the upper San Gabes, what does one do, you ask? Old reliable: PCT.
I hit the PCT out of Inspiration Vista (Inspiration Point). I’d never done this stretch, but figured it’d be a trustworthy, well marked trail. That was true. The weather was great, low 40’s, slight breeze, sunny – good ol’ fashioned Autumn in our beloved mountains.
I took the trail up to Grassy Hollow, maybe a bit more than a mile in. Twas a beautiful trail, alternating between sub alpine landscapes and high desert chaparral. I only saw a couple people up there so solitude was easily had. However, there were a couple parts where I heard not-so-distant growling. Like a good 29 year old boy-scout-wannabe, I did what I thought I should do: made noise. I sang and talked and so forth, and the growling ceased.
I found some interesting marks on the trail. Footprints of a bear, I’d guess? I’m admittedly not so good at that stuff but would love your input (see photos below).
Anyways, I continued on and found myself at Jackson Flat soon enough. The campground is deserted and closed for the season, but was absolutely beautiful, ladden with fallen pinecones and more solitude and silence. I also had some great views of the ocean from just before Jackson Flat.
I strolled down the paved driveway of Jackson, hit the 2, and returned via the shoulder of the 2 to my Civic. It was somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 miles or so and about 800 feet elevation gain – a pretty tame hike compared to what my usual Friday hikes are like. However, if you’re a beginning hiker, its a great option.
Gearwise, I did well. I consumed about 1/2 liter of water, a couple shots of green apple hammer gel, and a smidgen of unflavored perpetuem/heed, also by Hammer Nutrition. I wore a short sleeved target base layer, a zip up fleece hoody, and a lightweight REI softshell – and was plenty warm. I also wore a hat sometimes. The only downer is that my Salomon GTX shoes have been on 2 hikes and are killing my pinky toes. The Gore-Tex Salomons, for whatever reason, seem to be tighter in the toe box and I will have to figure out what to do with that. Bummer, cuz I love em. Maybe I’ll revert back to the non-Gore-Tex XA Pro’s.
Anyways, great hike. Hopefully next week’s hike will be a bit longer.
Fitness readout from my Garmin 310XT: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/56457916