Thursday, January 22, 2009

Buck Creek to Fish Creek

One big unknown in my route from Santa Barbara to the PCT involves connecting Buck Creek to Fish Creek, which leads to Atmore Meadows Rd. and eventually to the PCT. The Buck Creek to Fish Creek section is very unknown to me and seems to involve hiking a long way on roads.

Buck Creek Trail

A friend of mine is trying to create the Condor Trail, a trail spanning the length of the Los Padres National Forest following mostly existing trails. He sent me a map that matches much of my route. His map shows that the Buck Creek trail is mostly a decent trail, except for one portion which is unknown. So I've been looking for any information on the unknown portion of the Buck Creek trail out there on the Internet.

The closest I could come was a video and some slides of some hikes taken from Old Highway 99 to the Slide Mountain Fire Lookout. I've sent an email to the person who took the pictures to ask if he has gone further along the trail to Buck Creek. Hopefully he will know something about the conditions, but he may not. It looks like that area was burned in the Day Fire.

At least his pictures show me that the long roadwalk along the old Golden State Highway is along Piru Creek, so although it appears it will be scorchingly hot, at least there will be water.

Templin Highway

I searched in vain for an alternate route to avoid having to walk 7 miles down Golden State Highway and then another 8 miles or something like that along Templin Highway, but I was out of luck. I did find the Pyramid Lake RV Resort, which has a store with ice cream, but it is at the end of a long and hot road with no alternate hiking route to connect up with the PCT from it. I will have to miss a chance for food there, unless I'm desperate.

So while a long, ice creamless roadwalk is in order, at least I have read that the Templin Highway is pretty. It is blocked off somewhere after Cienga Campground, which is also blocked off to traffic. Maybe the only traffic along it will be hikers going to Cienega Campground, in which case, they are likely to give me a ride. Otherwise, I will have to expect hiking every long and arduous mile.

Fish Creek

The first site I found on hiking Fish Creek seemed to provide a really good trail guide to the area. A Google Book on Trails of the Angeles corroborated his descriptions.

The next one I found on the Fish Creek trail is about a man's adventure exploring old mines in the area. It turns out the man is now dead, having died exploring mines near Lake Castaic.

It looks like Fish Creek is a good route to return to the PCT. Eventually the trail, which is marked by ducks left by some nice Sierra Club Hikers, and thus likely to be put back every now and then, reaches a dirt road, and from there, the hiking will be relatively easy to return to the PCT.

So, it looks like my route is coming together. It will either work or it won't. If it won't, I'm going to have to find some kind of alternate, maybe involving taking a grayhound. I really want to return to the Sierras and not let them kick my butt this time, but in order to survive them, I feel I must hike a few hundred miles beforehand so that I'm in peak condition when I get there. As much as I want to skip all the desert stuff, I really can't afford to start at Kennedy Meadows. I will be too soft to start there.

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