Father-Son Backpack

April 22-24, 2005

Day 3: Kitchen Creek to Boulder Oaks

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Morning of the third day dawned somewhere between foggy and drizzly.  Doug got up first in camp, perhaps to or perhaps because he was the least comfortable with his sleeping arrangments.  I handed him the camera and told him to take a picture of me emerging from the tent.

Doug waits patiently for campsite morning activity to begin.  The fog begins to lift from the canyon.

Our traditional backpacker's breakfast was hot chocolate and instant oatmeal, around the traditional backpackers table.

Breakfast having exhausted our last meager water supply, we had little choice but to bushwack to the bottom of the canyon and pump water from Kitchen Creek.  Doug and PJ lead the way.

After the hike to the bottom of the canyon and back up, Doug was complaining about one of his boots.  This dispite following his father's advice to wear two pairs of socks to avoid blisters in hiking boots.

Funny thing Doug discovers as he removes his boot: he has three socks on one foot but only one on the other.  While he heard and undoubtedly comprehended Keith's wear two pairs of socks suggestion, he did not adequately execute.  We all chuckled, especially Doug.

A mile or so after camp, the canyon and the stream turned abruptly while the trail climbed out of the canyon.  From Afoot and Afield in San Diego, I remembered that the Kitchen Creek Falls were around here someplace.  We dropped our packs and took off down a side trail, since the falls would be a good sight with so much water in the creek this spring.

Alas, we could never sight the falls proper.  Here are Doug and PJ and what must be the top of the falls in the background.  But with the hike out still ahead of us, we were unwilling to scramble down unmarked paths to get a better look, knowing we would have to scramble back up, regaining any lost elevation. The falls went unseen.

Just a quarter mile away, the creek was clearly at a significantly lower altitude.  Hey, and there's the creek running under the Interstate.  And hey, in the upper left, there's Lake Morena.  And hey, behind the Interstate, there's the road we parked the car on.  Hey, didn't I bring some small binoculars?  Well it would be a backpacking crime if I carried that weight and never used them, so out they came and we discovered (to our surprise) that we could actually see the car from this point (yellow arrow).

As we continue to lose altitude, the flora continues to change.  The wet winter and spring have left a pleasant carpet of grasses and flowers at this elevation..

This close to civilization on a Sunday, and there are plenty of people out for a day hike on this stretch of trail. In the pantheon of PCT hikers, day hikers are as far below section hikers as we section hikers are below the thru-hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Still, I deigned to ask one to take our picture. 

The trail does indeed pass under the Interstate at the Kitchen Creek bridges, just as we had surmised from the ridge a mile or more ago.

Doug hiking under the the speeding Winnebago.

How many times have we driven over these bridges at 80 mph without knowing what was below us, or that we would eventually hike this trail?

Back at Chuck's car, safe and sound and dry, with the Interstate bridge behind us, and behind it the ridge we had just hiked down.

While we were the only car parked here two days ago, now we were one of about six cars.  It turns out we had inadvertently chosen the unmarked but well known access point for this section of the trail.  Turns out the arroyo toads did us a favor.

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Text and pictures copyright 2005 by Keith Sherwood.  All rights, writes, and rites reserved.