Hallowed ground

At the end of July, Stephanie accompanied me on a business trip to San Diego. We booked a later flight home on the Saturday after my meetings so we could visit Anza-Borrego Desert State Park—the largest state park in California, and the second-largest in the country. On the two hour drive out there, it occurred to us that we’d probably be crossing the Pacific Crest Trail. At that point in time, Dad was on the trail way up in Oregon, one day past Crater Lake. Stephanie compared the PCT map I was using to track him with our location in Google Maps and realized we were almost there.

Driving slowly along Country Route S22, it didn’t take long to find the trail markers. We got out and took a few pictures. Like our backpacking trip in Kings Canyon, it was another neat Dad was here moment. But even cooler was realizing that he had used his SPOT to transmit his nightly campsite just before the road. It had been only his 5th night on the trail, at mile 101. So really it was more like: Dad slept here! That made it feel even more special. We’ll probably be doing this for the rest of our lives—crossing the PCT on some road trip, stopping to pay our respects, and thinking back on Dad’s incredible feat.

Southbound trail marker where the PCT crosses California County Route S22
Southbound trail marker where the PCT crosses County Route S22

Northbound trail marker where the PCT crosses California County Route S22
Northbound trail marker where the PCT crosses County Route S22
Justin posing with southbound trail marker where the PCT crosses California County Route S22
He probably slept just beyond the gate (I wonder if he remembers?)

5 Comments

Very nice post. The hike now seems to be in the very far distant past yet it has only been just over a month. Unfortunately I can’t remember this campsite whereas i diffinitely remember the campsite on the day before.

In my “Thanks to all who helped me” post I said “If any of their children or their children’s children stand anywhere on this 2660 mile Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail let them know that their ancestor at one time was on that same spot too and he hopes that they may find the courage, interest, and time to hike its length as he did.”

Craig

That is so cool. Even though I don’t personally know your dad, I too will think about him whenever I come across the PCT in my travels. Thanks for sharing the wonderful stories.

Separately I was reading about a Yoga retreat near Ranchita CA based upon a Facebook post I was reading and saw that it was on S22 at about mile 100 of the PCT. So I searched for its address on Google maps and found it and saw how close it was to the PCT. Then I remembered this post talked about mile 100 too and I checked it out to find that it described County Road S22 also. I don’t know why I didn’t do this earlier, but next I took my GPS coordinates for that campsite and looked them up on the map. As Justin said, I camped nearby here. However, originally I couldn’t remember it. So I changed to the Satellite view and I saw the label “Barrel Springs” here. And BONG! I remember distinctly camping here this past year. It was crowded here with lots of camper including a group of Warrior Hikers. I met a couple of them that night. There was poison oak around here and the spring was a trough that I filtered my water from. The next day I got up very early (as always), walked though the sleeping hikers, and I must have had to cross the county road which the day before I didn’t even realize was there. So there is indeed more to this tale of the trail.

Dad, love the story. Isn’t it interesting the serendipitous pathways we need to follow to access these “lost” memories.

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