We just completed Pacific Crest Trail Section F, which is the section of trail from Tehachapi to Walker Pass. Deb thinks Section F is a test for hikers to see if they are ready to continue on.
It’s 85 miles (136 if you go straight through to Kennedy Meadows) with no resupply options, so it’s the most food we have had to carry, so far.
Section F is probably the driest PCT section, with frequent 20 mile stretches between water and one 32 mile waterless stretch.
Section F can be really hot, but a surprise change in the weather brought cold, wind and rain.
Section F is really beautiful, with amazing panoramic views.
Here is a brief day by day rundown to catch up our blog readers:
Sunday May 18th
Tehachapi Pass to Mile 583.9
We had a very pleasant zero day at the Best Western. Rather deluxe compared to the hotels we have been using recently, but we both felt like the splurge was worth it.
We met Sam and Claudia, local trail angels, while having breakfast in the motel and they offered to return us to the trailhead.
It was pretty windy at Tehachapi Pass, which made it a big struggle at times to make it up the big climb but we made the 17.5 miles to Golden Oak Spring, where we found good water.
Monday May 19th
Mile 583.9 to Mile 603.9
We got an early start and made good time as we hiked past wind farms, through a burn area, over Hamp Williams Pass to excellent water at Robin Bird Spring. We continued about two miles past the spring to camp.
Tuesday, May 20th
Mile 603.9 to Mile 622.5
We passed several good water sources early in the day and Deb even found time to rinse out some clothes using a zip lock bag as a wash basin at Landers Camp. Here we also met Forrest of the PCTA, who was scouting out the camp conditions for a work crew.
The water situation in this section changes dramatically around mile 616. In the past water caches have been maintained at mile 616 and mile 631, but the person doing that is no longer able to continue this. Water caches aren’t absolutely necessary, but they can make hiking dry sections of the trail easier. Anyway, the water cache at mile 616 was empty, so we hiked to the water two miles off the trail near mile 620. We decided to carry enough water to reach Walker Pass in 32 miles (13 liters between the two of us).
When we made it back to the trail it was incredibly windy, but we were lucky to find a place to camp sheltered by a large boulder and Joshua Trees.
Wednesday, May 21st
Mile 622.5 to Mile 641.2
Cool windy weather continued this morning. The trail was sandy, and deep sand at times, one of the many features making this trail section a final performance test before entering the Sierra. Turns out there was water at Bird Spring Pass, but we didn’t need any because we were carrying enough. It rained several times in the afternoon, and also as we were setting up the tent for the night.
Thursday, May 22nd
Mile 641.2 to 656
We packed up our wet tent and other gear, and headed down the PCT to Walker Pass. We had arranged to meet Dal who was going to collect the data from the GPS trail logger and change the case to a waterproof one. Dal also resupplied us with the 2.5 days of food we had bought in Tehachapi, so we could hike on to Kennedy Meadows without having to go into Lake Isabella to resupply.
We were also surprised by awesome trail magic at the Walker Pass campground, thanks Yogi.
We spent a few hours at the campground, and only hiked four miles past Walker Pass to a very nice campsite where we made an early camp and relaxed the rest of the day.