AsABat's Pacific Crest Trail - California Section E

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January 1 to 3, 2003, Teresa, Skip, and I celebrated New Year's by hiking from Pine Canyon Road across the Mojave to Highway 58 near Tehachapi (Map pages E9 to E16). As snow in the mountains was a concern, we rearranged our schedule a bit while waiting for it to melt. Therefore, the photos here are in a peculiar order. To follow chronologically, click here, then following the links.
Bill, Teresa, and Skip, with Bandy the wonder dog in front (composite photo) Antelope Valley at early light
January 2, 2003, we left Pine Canyon Road early as we had two segments to hike. Our group photo was in a shady spot just after sunrise. Because of private property issues, the trail follows section boundaries, resulting in some ups and downs, although it was rather pleasant on a cool January morning.
The trail climbs several small knolls ...before dropping into Antelope Valley
The trail climbs several small knolls... ...before dropping into Antelope Valley.
A bit strange to leave a fenced area and find it is someone's hunting grounds
As we reached Highway 138, we found we had been hiking through a private hunting area. Our next hike started at Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road, but first let's go back to yesterday:
Los Angeles Aqueduct
January 1, 2003. Our adventure began with a 16-mile walk across the Antelope Valley (Mojave Desert). After crossing the concrete-lined California Aqueduct, we followed the Los Angeles Aqueduct north. Here the large pipe crosses a desert wash.
Los Angeles Aqueduct - where you could roller skate the PCT... ...or drive your motorhome on the PCT
Most of this section follows the underground, concrete covered LA Aqueduct. The trail meanders across the desert flat, climbing very slowly. While the trail is not very exciting, the views of the snow-covered mountains were great, and traffic on the dirt road was light on the holiday. We had a great time talking, and the miles passed quickly. I'd strongly recommend hiking this section on a week day and with a group. You could discuss whether is would be better to roller blade or skateboard the trail, for instance. We ended our day at Cottonwood Creek, where a motorhome awaited to take us to our next destination, Pine Canyon Road. The climb into the Tehachapis would come in a couple of days:
Sunrise Snow covered trail
January 3, 2003, we started before dawn as we had 23 miles to hike, with some of that in the snow. The snow started around 5,000 feet, and although we had very little difficulty staying on the trail, it did slow our progress.
Cycle destruction Near the top
The snow wasn't enough to keep the m0t0rcycles out. They dug deep ruts into the mud which made walking difficult. Unfortunately, we found their tracks had destroyed much trail from the hills down to Cottonwood Creek. We saw one riding the trail on a ridge ahead of us, but were unable to properly greet him ;-) . Near the top of the climb we had great views west past the head of Gamble Spring Canyon.
Going down out of the snow Looking east towards what are normally dry lakes
As we dropped south down the ridge, the snow quickly disappeared, and our pace quickened. Looking towards Edwards, we could see water on what are usually dry lake beds.
Gamble Spring Canyon, and the climb out Resting before the climb out of Gamble Spring Canyon
As we started to descend into Gamble Spring Canyon, we could see the trail switchbacking up the other side, along with deep m0t0rcycle tracks across it. We rested in the shade of some yuccas before beginning the climb. From here, the trail would past several ridges before dropping to a small creek flowing in Tylerhorse Canyon, then a short climb up to an easy 6-mile walk almost due south, as we watched the sun set and hiked by headlamp. Three days, 55 fun miles. Now flashback to yesterday afternoon:
Windmills on the PCT Highway 58 and the start of Section F
January 2, 2003, P.M. Our afternoon walk climbed past numerous windmills. After several hours, we had a view of Highway 58. Section F begins on the ridge to the right.
Windmills everywhere The scenic end to Section E
Most views from this trail included many windmills. The trail ends with a short walk along scenic Cameron Road. Tomorrow we would climb the Tehachapi Mountains.

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