JUNE 1, 2014 – Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) @ Vasquez Rocks

June 1, 2014

Over the years EcuaDeb & sissopolis often mentioned the PCT and WILD. We even hiked on a small snow covered section last year.

I was surprised to see on the gc.com map that the PCT runs through Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park (where Captain Kirk fought the Gorn). And that there is a string of 9 PCT caches just outside the park on the other (S) side of the 14 fwy. We set a date and kept it.

Here’s the ubiquitous rock at the parking lot.
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Immediately out of the lot we were on the PCT. It was mid morning but we sensed that it was going to be hot. We found several caches. Some were new to me and Deb and all were new to siss.
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A muggle couple asked us for directions. They had no idea of where they were going, no map, no water, no equipment and they weren’t dressed for the hike. We oriented them the best we could. With them safely (we hoped) away, we continued.
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Then we met the first 2 of 6 muggles on the extreme other end of the spectrum. This couple from Italy and England were hiking THE ENTIRE PCT from the Mexican to Canadian borders. They were averaging 18 miles a day! We met another pair later and 2 solos. Siss & Deb informed me that those who hike the entire PCT are called “through hikers.”
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After cooling down under a huge shaded overhang we approached the 14 fwy and the tunnel underneath.
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We stopped for more pictures before taking the plunge.
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Walk along the sides. The center is where the road apples accumulate.
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We found Vasquez Tunnel (GC1QA03) just outside at the other end. Ignore the ambiguous hint and you’ll find the cache sooner.
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Because of the switchbacks on the map, I thought that the terrain on this side of the freeway would be steep. I even told siss and Deb that I might have to stop and wait for them to find the rest of the caches. But the hike was mostly flat. And all 8 caches were easy finds. They were very close to the trail except for VR PCT #6 which was at an easily reachable rock outcrop.
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Deb hid a cache Someday on the PCT (GC561ZA) .12 beyond the last one we found. Deb & siss hope to be “through hikers” someday. By then, I’ll be in a motorized wheelchair van delivering supplies to them at prearranged locations.

We turned around and headed back carefully rationing our water in the now searing heat. Still, we overtook a very slow through hiker twice, before reaching the parking lot. Then we drove down the street, still on the PCT!, to Sweetwater Café where we were served ice tea in large Mason jars. They’re going to have a lot of business next year when WILD is released as a movie and all the through hikers pass by.

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