ALONG DEEP CREEK
PCT DAY 16: Mile 297.7 – Mile 318
Friday April, 29 2016: 20.3 miles (32.5 km)
What a difference 20 miles and a drop in altitude makes. Only yesterday we woke in a snowy wonderland and this morning we had a warm campsite that was bathed in morning sunlight. Such a wonderful contrast in such a short space of time. We were a bit slow to get moving this morning as it was so nice to enjoy breakfast in the sunshine. We also found that we had phone reception so it was a great opportunity to upload the blog posts and to check emails and weather reports.
Once we got moving, todays hiking can only be described as pleasant. The air was warm with a cool breeze blowing. Perfect hiking temperature. Pretty much all day long, we followed Deep Creek, crossing it several times. The trail was soft underfoot, being mainly coarse granite sand. And the terrain was not too challenging. We did not have too much ascending or descending to do. The sound of running water accompanied us most of the day until we reached the Mojave Dam wall in the mid-afternoon. Stunning flowers lined the trail, which added to the joy of todays hike for me. Hammer was lucky to see a most beautiful iridescent green hummingbird feeding on a thisle flower. I was a bit annoyed to miss it as I had almost stoped at that same thisle flower when I passed it before him. I am yet to see a hummingbird on this trail.
It was quite strange that all morning we hiked alone and did not see another person. Then in the middle of what appeared to be nowhere – a busy clothing optional hot springs swimming spot. We did not stop here as Hammer had already taken a swim when we stopped for lunch at a lovely waterhole earlier. Again the contrast to yesterday could not be more stark. Hiking in snow one day, swimming in a waterhole in sunshine the next.
We had an easy and pleasant day hiking up to the Mojave Dam wall. Reaching the Dam was quite confusing as it seemed to us to be built back to front. The spillway was facing the creek. We walked behind the spillway and for the next few hours as we ascended away from the dam, a continual hum of industry followed us.
We decided to stop and camp near Grass Valley Creek without realising until we set up camp, that we had high voltage power lines spanning the ridge above us. The wind whisking through the lines sounds like the rumble and hum of traffic in a busy city.