Thursday, April 17, 2014

Campo to Idyllwild: A Journey in Pictures


Standing at the monument for the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail

Sticking my hand through the fence into Mexico.

1 mile from Mexico, 2664 miles away from Canada.

The trail is often sandy, with scrub brush and some cactus.

Yucca's are a frequent site along the first 150 miles.  They come with white or reddish purple blossoms.  They send up a massive flower stock, and then seem to die shortly after.  Every dead flower stock I have seen is atop a dead plant.

A long spindly cactus that was pretty prevalent, sometimes leaning out into the trail.

Don't know what this is called, but it has more of a needle than a leaf, and some of them are covered with some kind of fiber, although the source of it is a mystery to me.

Crossing to the other side of the tracks.

After about 7 miles the trail was paralleling the Mexican border, with the fence in full view.

These gates are a common sight along the trail, usually open and often with no fence attached. 

Breakfast the first day was enjoyed on a big rock overlooking this grassy valley with a small herd of cattle in it.  Such a contrast with the rest of the terrain. 

With 2-3 inch thorns, I'm not going to mess with these cactus.

A Yucca that has just started to send up its flower stock.  The stock has a diameter of 3-4 inches.

You can just make out the trail making the 800 foot ascent out of Hauser Canyon.  Lots of complaining in camp the first day about this ascent in the heat.

Lake Moreno.  The first night's camp was in the state park in the foreground.

Ring around the moon on the first night.  A good sign?

For as dry as desolate as it is in this area, there sure are a lot of pretty wildflowers.

More pretty wildflowers

One of the occasion forests encountered along the way.

Crossing under I-8 the second day.

More cactus.  There is a lot of cactus in this area.

The trail can sometimes get a little rough, but the unexpected color along the way is special.

You can count on it!

More pretty flowers

An actual pine forest in the Laguna's.  One of the few places so far I would be able to hang a hammock.

There are some pretty amazing vistas, looking out across the rolling hills.  None of them are particularly tall for the first 150 miles, but there are a lot of them, and we seemed to climb most of them.

Manzanita in bloom.

While passing through the Laguna Recreation Area, I spent a couple of miles in an area that had recently burned.  I was amazed with the number of wildflowers that were quickly growing again. 

More wildflowers in the burn.

Not much left of the larger shrubs after the fire.  But lots of stuff growing close to the ground.


A carpet of wildflowers in the burn

More wildflower carpet

Can you tell that I really liked the wildflowers in this burned area?

Looking over at what I think are the San Felipe's, tomorrows destination.

Sunrise on the fourth day.

I came across this spot with over a dozen memorials to people.  It was on  high bluff, and I assume that the people memorialized here had their ashes scattered into the valley below.

The trail ahead.  

55 miles done so far.

A common flowering bush in the Laguna's.

A look ahead.  The San Felipe's are in the distance, the destination for that evening.

This terrain, or some variation of it, went on for 6-7 miles.

I somehow found it amusing to see all the trekking pole marks along the trail sometimes.

Looking back at a long descent into a canyon.  This as taken on the ascent to the next ridge that almost immediately started.

Nearly out of the Laguna's and looking across the desert to the San Felipe's.


Cactus in bloom

What looks to me like the Aloe Vera plant in my kitchen window, only bigger, and sometimes with a massive flower stock.

A Yucca without a flower stock.  They are very prickly, and you know it if you brush up against one.  The general rule of thumb here is to touch nothing.  Seems like everything has thorns or sharp brittle branches.

The trail through the desert

Another variety of sharp spindly leaved plant with a big flower stock.  And, unlike the Yucca that stays ow to the ground, this plant slowly grows higher on its stock.

Barrel cactus

I found out later that these are Ocotillo plants.  At this time of year they look just like a long spindly stick with thorns, with an orange flower at the top.  Bizarre. 

This cactus looks fuzzy, but I declined to rub it to see.


More pretty little wildflowers.

The trail in the distance took me an hour to reach.  It didn't look that far away, but the trail wound slowly downward in and out of  number of canyons.

100 miles done.

Squirrel and Early Bird

Paint Brush is one of the few wildflowers I recognize here.

There were several miles of grasslands surrounding Warner Springs.  This was quite unexpected.

Sometimes there would be little patches of color mixed in with the grass.


The flexible post with the big sticker on it is a common sight along the trail, although this one has been modified with the yellow sticker in the 'Open to' section.  It originally was identified as open to walked and horseback riders.  The modified sticker includes bicycles, which are explicitly excluded on the PCT, as show at the bottom of the original sticker. 

What I thought as an interesting alignment of rocks.  All stood up on end in a nice neat row.

Lots and lots of lizards, but this is one of the few willing to pose long enough to get a picture.  It is nearly a foot long from tip to tip

Cowboy camping on the night of the lunar eclipse.  Had quite a view of the event from bed.

The moon sneaking up from behind a rock.


Followed these signs to a ham and egg breakfast.  An unexpected but welcome treat.

Up and down.  Up and down.  All day long.

Looks like an air plant.  This is the only one of these I have seen s far.

Nestled down in the boulder field for what turned out to be a windy night.

Eeyore on a high place as the sun sets.  Fed, cleaned up and ready for bed.

Martin on the same rock.

Occasionally we actually got to walk on a ridge.  Note the trail dropping away on either side.

Good food indeed

A simple little breakfast of 1 lb of ham, 3 eggs, hash browns and biscuits and gravy.

Seconds anyone?

The Idyllwild Inn seems to be a popular destination for PCT hikers.

It is hard to see all of them, but there are at least a dozen animals carved into this chunk of wood.