Finding a route to the PCT from Santa Barbara is not an easy thing to do. Trails in our area are not as well-maintained as the PCT. Often the trails are abandoned. There is no guide book and no data book. There is no water report. I have looked at maps, searched the Internet, emailed total strangers, gotten in contact with old acquaintances, and gotten advice from friends and strangers alike.
So, my revised route is going to be to this:
- Romero Trail in Santa Barbara (bus #14 drops off 2 miles from trailhead) to the Divide Peak OHV trail at the crest.
- Divide Peak OHV trail to Murietta Divide via the Monte Arrido trail.
- Murrieta Canyon dirt road to Murietta Trail.
- Murrieta Trail to the Ortega Motorcycle trail. Last water at Maple Camp on Murietta Trail.
- Ortega Motorcycle trail to an unofficial trail traversing the Dry Lakes Ridge.
- Dry Lakes Ridge trail to Highway 33.
- Highway 33 to Middle Sespe Trailhead. Water available on Sespe Creek.
- Middle Sespe Trail to Piedra Blanca.
- Sespe Trail at Piedra Blanca to Johnston Trail (possible side trip to Willet Hot Springs!)
- Johnston Trail, past Sespe Hot Springs (more hot springs!) to Little Mutau Creek Trail.
- Little Mutau Creek Trail to dirt road near McDonald Peak. Long dry stretch (10-12 miles minimum) between Little Mutau Creek and Buck Creek.
- Dirt Road becomes trail on way to Sewart Mountain, and then turns on to Buck Creek Trail. I hope I can find the turn.
- Buck Creek Trail to Hardluck Camp. Water available.
- Road at Hardluck Camp to Los Alamos Campground. Campground host available.
- Shortcut cross-country across creek to Hungry Valley Rd.
- Hungry Valley Rd and frontage roads along I5 to Highway 138.
- Highway 138 to Oakdale Rd.
- Oakdale Rd. to where the PCT crosses (Databook says the name of the road is Pine Mountain Rd. Topo says Oakdale. Same road.)
Mileage taking the Oakdale/Pine Mountain detour will be 6.5 miles along road plus 8 miles to Hikertown. Staying on 138 it is 8 miles straight to Hikertown from the junction with Oakdale/Pine Mountain Rd. It is a lot of extra miles but I think it will be worth it to feel safer. I can always change my mind once I am out there, too.
I'm still debating leaving a crappy bike hidden in the bushes near Hardluck. I've got one. It could be the reason the Universe allowed me to find it. It's just good enough to ride but not good enough for me to want to keep forever.