“Return to Gnarnia”
After the snowy times had on our Klamath National Forest hitch, we were all ready for a warmer and sunnier climate. Having inched our way North through California all season, we had a whole week to relax and travel back South before beginning our next hitch.
As always, our time off was used to its maximum potential. Some members of the crew visited the Oregon Sand Dunes and Redwoods National and State parks. Others enjoyed the sights of San Francisco and beautiful Martinez, with the always hospitable and 2010 PCT thru-hiker Scott Williams (whose cooking is out of this world). Reunited in Martinez, the crew drove down one of America’s most scenic highways, CA-1, passing through Santa Cruz, Monterrey Bay, Big Sur, and San Louis Obispo. Along the way we stopped and viewed the magniﬁcent Elephant Seals, and endless California costal views.
After the week of travel and play we arrived back to the Ridgecrest area, the place we enjoyed time off before our very ﬁrst hitch. Finally back to Gnarnia, we hiked in 6 miles to our back country camp location (which was only ~14 miles from our ﬁrst back country camp site). This hitch our work was located in the Kivah Wilderness, and we were fortunate enough to get backed in by Bill Carter, Dick Blizzard, Jerry Stone, and Beth Pfeiffer, who even brought up 5 gallon cubies of water for us, as there was no water source near our camp site.
We hadn’t been in the desert since June, but we were quickly reacquainted with our old nemesis: desert bush gnar. Manzanita’s, Flannel, False Holly, and “snaggle bush” (as we like to call it) were over running the PCT in several spots. Equipped with saws, loppers, and picks we attacked the gnar with full force to open up the trail corridor. These plants were serious business, and attempted to thwart our efforts with various thorns, stickers, and general poke-i-ness, but we were not dismayed. Even when the threat of gnarosis crept up we kept it at bay, by enjoying shard breaks, and each others support. On the last two days of the hitch we shook things up a bit by throwing in tread work, and widened the particularly narrow parts of the trail. While we did not have any volunteers with us, our trusty PCTA associate Brenden Taylor spent several days with us this hitch. He even surprised us with Fried Chicken, and Candy on the second to last day of our hitch.
All in all another successful hitch for the crew. Happy Halloween!
Trail Figures for the Hitch:
3.25 miles of light maintenance (2.25 miles of trail thoroughly brushed)
2000 feet of tread work
2 trees removed from the trail
25 Water Bars cleaned.