December 22, 2015

It’s hard to organize a group hike during Christmas / New Year’s vacation. I didn’t want to wait until 2016 to hike the section of the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) immediately South of the area in my last post. Facebook PCT Section Hikers assured me that the parking lot I saw on Google Earth was public trailhead parking. Thanks! They were correct. I arrived at a super clean, developed lot where the PCT intersects Soledad Canyon Road.122115_01_parking1
As is often the case at recreation areas in the off season, there was no one else there. I didn’t see another human on my entire hike! The 49 degree temperature was probably a factor too.
I found the easy parking lot cache Indian Cyn Rd & PCT Trailhead (GCWDWR) and cautiously ran across the street to the trailhead.
Only 2 minutes later I stopped at an abandoned trailer. The warning on the door didn’t stop me though I half expected that something revolting was inside. It was a relief to find only some old wiring and a few pieces of scrap. I searched for 5 minutes but couldn’t find the cache Spinal Meningitis Got Me Down (GC5JQBF). Later, back at home, I read that the previous finder moved it outside! $#%*%^)*#!!!
Beyond the trailer there was a short stretch of canopied vegetation along the completely dry riverbed (Santa Clara River). A PCT sign at every bend kept me on course.
The “real” hike began at the railroad crossing. The tracks are active. I heard trains rumbling & whistling in the distance for much of the day.
Beyond the tracks I saw an interesting benchmark. Too bad that there’s no serial number to log on
For the first hour the hike was gradually uphill with switchbacks leading East around the hills. I remember only 2 short steep 50’ sections.
My favorite cache of the day Hand Thing (GC5JQC5) was here. I didn’t “get” the name. Thanks for NOT hiding the container in the vegetation.
The long flat stretches were easy to hike.
50 shades of red.
The PCT turns left at the unsigned intersection marked by the red “X” and continues across the middle of the picture.
The plant life was drab. Nothing bloomed. The yuccas looked dead. This cactus and its friends were the only interesting plants I saw.
Ahead! I found my 3rd and last cache Lazy 8 (GC5JQC9). The container was a fading un-taped prescription tube with a childproof cap. It’s going to shatter soon. I didn’t have a replacement to leave.
Northbound PCT through hikers standing at this spot in June/July in 100 degree heat will lament that there are 2,200+ more miles ahead to reach Canada.
I’d planned to hike North until 2pm but sensed a weather change and turned around at 1:30pm instead. On the way back this

4” millipede crossed my path.

It rained heavily that night. The hike was 9.4 miles round trip, finished in exactly 4 hours. I hope to group hike the entire stretch all the way to Vasquez Rocks in the Spring with a car shuttle.