PCT Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

When one decides to go on a journey such as the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) a lot of questions tend to arise from their friends and family. We’ve gathered a few of those questions from our loved ones in this article and hope to answer them to the best of our ability.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

1. How will you get food? Will you have an opportunity to bathe or shower?

We are buying much of our food supply before leaving. Most of the food stuffs will be in the form of freeze dried meals and supplemented with energy bars (mostly ClifBars) and trail mix. This allows us to pack our supply boxes before hand so that our families can simply drop them off at the post office when they are supposed to go out. We will have opportunities to shower periodically on the trail. There are towns roughly every 5 to 7 days on the PCT and many have a hotel or mountain resort or trail angel or camp that we will be able to grab a shower at.

2. How is everybody feeling about the journey as it draws closer to your departure date?

Everyone is excited to get going, we are currently putting the finishing touches on our supply packages but other than that we are all at a point where we are ready to hit the trail and get on with the fun!

3. The team will be packing a small first aid kit. Do you have an emergency plan in case a team member needs medical care?

Yes, the team will be carrying first aid kits for each member and should a member need medical attention in the field all the members of the team have had some CPR or basic first aid training in the past so we should be able to manage a sling or other first aid technique should that unfortunate event occur.

4. With the understanding that you will have cell phones. How will you be able to charge them? Do you have concerns about communicating with each other and your support team?

Jon will be carrying a GoalZero Switch 8 and Nomad 7 charging kit that will allow the team to charge their phones as we go. Because we hope to be able to blog along the way it is important that we can use some of the sun’s energy to be able to have our phones up and running at the day’s end so we can post that day’s experience. As for the communication aspect of this question, we’ll be able contact our family and friends and support members through our regular phones when there is enough service. When this cell service is missing we’ll need to use the satellite locator beacon and communicator that Gary will be carrying. This will allow us to contact people through satellite connections when cell services aren’t available.

5. Has the team had training or experience with face-to-face encounters with bears or other wild animals?

The majority of the crew have extensive hiking experience and Lora has worked as an intern under the National Park Service and has training in animal encounters and what to do in these situations. The animals we may encounter range from Mountain Lions and Bears, but will more likely be Snakes and Bugs.

6. Have you heard of the Book/Movie Wild?

Yes, we are aware of the book and movie. It was, in no way, any inspiration for the members that are hiking the trail this year. Gary and Jon both read about half the book before we decided we couldn’t take it anymore due to all her ill preparedness and poor decision making. Lora, I believe has read the whole book. All of us have seen the movie. I think we are all in agreement that the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed and the subsequent movie with Reese Witherspoon are about a story that is a self discovery story that includes the Pacific Crest Trail and not a Pacific Crest Trail story that includes some self discovery.

7. Do you think you will see many hikers on the trail?

We will likely see a good number of hikers on the trail this year. The increased popularity of the book/movie Wild have also boosted the number of people interested in the PCT this year. At last count, we estimated from the PCTA.org permit system that they had issued over 2100 long distance northbound permits for the 2015 year. That’s a lot of long distance hikers and doesn’t even include the people that will be hiking in sections that don’t require a long distance permit. We will also be attending the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off (ADZPCTKO) where we will see many of these hikers as well as those who have hiked the trail in previous years and our friends and family.

8. How long do you think your beards and hair will get? Will you be trimming either along the way?

The answer to something like this depends on the individual hiker. Gary has expressed some interest in being able to shave periodically during the 5 month long hike while Jon has said that he’ll probably go without a hair cut or a shave for the duration unless the hair or beard becomes some sort of annoyance. Really, it just depends on the comfort and preference of the hiker.

9. Will you have some sort of health log? Will the team do a weigh-in and weigh-out?

We are not currently planning on chronicling our weight for the journey as this is more than just a workout regiment. There will likely be some discussion of noticeable health changes as the journey progresses but we aren’t making it a priority topic for discussion.

10. How do you plan to spend your time on off days? games? journal? etc.?

Many of our off days have been planned for areas where we will be able to spend time with our families so the majority of those times will be spent catching up with loved ones. When we have down time on the trail such as evenings at camp we will have a few activities to enjoy. Many of us will be carrying a book while hiking. Jon will also be carrying a travel sized version of Backgammon and we’ll probably have a deck of cards on hand as well.

That covers the most common questions we’ve been getting from our family and friends. If you have more questions you’d like us to answer feel free to post them in the comments or use our contact us page!

Training Hike: El Cajon Mountain

Anybody who lives in, or has driven through, the eastern part of San Diego County has undoubtedly seen the giant rock face that serves as one of the natural borders of the region and shares its name with the city of El Cajon. El Cajon Mountain is at 3,675 feet in elevation but what makes it one of the more difficult hikes in the area is that the elevation gain/loss of the hike ends up being about 4,500 feet. Jon has attempted this hike twice before this group attempt and on his first attempt during the summer (June) the temperatures were 90 degrees plus and he was forced to turn around at the 4 mile mark because he was more than half way out of water. As any experienced hiker will tell you, don’t push the limits of your water. This is especially true when the temperatures are hot and the trail has little shade as El Cajon Mountain’s trail does. The second attempt for Jon came in September on a much more moderate day and on this day he completed the trek and also bagged El Capitan peak which is reached using the same trail up. On today’s adventure the crew encountered ideal conditions for hiking El Cajon Mountain. The temperatures were in the mid- to high 60’s and there was some cloud cover for most of the day.

We set out from the parking lot and hiked up the driveway that leads to the Blue Sky Ranch, which allows hikers to pass by on their private land to enjoy the hike up to the peaks. Once past the ranch you come to a staging area with restrooms and from here you immediately start climbing up switchbacks on a chaparral lined but well maintained trail that leads up up to what is an old service road that may or may not be still in use. It is noted in Jerry Schad’s Afoot and Afield that this was an old mining road and you can even branch off this trail at the 3.5 mile mark and take a spur trail that leads to an old mining area. Once you are on the trial you’ll follow this road all the way to the saddle between El Cajon Mountain peak and El Capitan Peak. The challenges of this trail don’t include a poorly maintained trail. The challenges here are the constant up and down of the trail (it seems that you often have to climb 500 feet, then drop 100-200 feet to get to the next 500 foot climb), and the fact that there is little to know coverage from the sun. On today’s adventure the sun was less of a factor due to the overcast weather. The trail has mile markers at every full mile, provided by A16 (an outfitter store in the Southern California area), and another at the 3.5 marker where you can branch off for the aforementioned mining site hike.

I’ll spare you the fairly boring details of climbing and falling along this trail towards the peak and take you up near the saddle between the peaks. About half a mile from the saddle you’ll see an old metal jeep frame that looks to have been there far longer than I’ve been alive (29 years at the writing of this post). This is the first indicator that you’re nearly to the payoff. Continuing up to the saddle you then have a choice once you’ve reached the sign marking the trail junctions. From this marker, you can continue straight ahead to the big rock face visible from town (known as El Cap, popular with rock climbers), or you can take the trail to your right which leads up to the El Capitan Peak, or you can take the trial to your left which is the trail for El Cajon Mountain peak. Most people that reach this point seem to go just for El Cajon Mountain. I (Jon) have yet to go to the rock face part of El Cap, but have been to both El Cajon peak and El Capitan peak and the view from El Cajon is better undoubtedly. El Capitan peak does have an old shack of some sort, perhaps an old radio tower no longer in use which is sort of interesting. The trail to El Capitan is far easier than the trail to El Cajon though. El Capitan’s peak trail is your typical trial that winds to the peak and requires little effort outside of just hiking uphill. El Cajon’s peak trail winds its way through large boulders and requires some rock scrambling at times near the peak marker. The view is well worth the climb though, it’s quite breathtaking looking out over the entire valley. On a very clear day you can see all the way to the coast, this was not one of those days.

Gary, Lora, and Jon (from left to right) at the Peak of El Cajon Mountain While Training for the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). (Click Image for Larger View.)
Gary, Lora, and Jon (from left to right) at the Peak of El Cajon Mountain While Training for the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). (Click Image for Larger View.)

From the peak you simply retrace your up and down (this time mostly down) steps to return to your car at the parking lot along Wildcat Canyon Road. Here are the stats for our training hike up to El Cajon Mountain peak, I apologize there are no elevation stats as my app didn’t seem to track them for whatever reason (probably because of the relative remoteness of this hike compared to the usual training hikes in Mission Trails Regional Park).

El Cajon Mountain Peak Hike Used as Training for the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). (Click Image for Larger View.)
El Cajon Mountain Peak Hike Used as Training for the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). (Click Image for Larger View.)

Gary’s Gear List, First Edition

As someone who has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) for the first time forty years ago it has become more and more important for me to become gear and weight conscious as the miles tally up on my hiking career. It is for this reason, that I’ve made it my goal to leave the border with a pack weight of just twenty pounds including my food. Obviously, when in the Sierra Nevada region more cold weather gear will be required which will increase pack weight in that area. One benefit of having such a long hiking career is that I’ve been able to accumulate a healthy list of gear items that can accommodate a variety of weather conditions. This will allow me to cut ounces by swapping items in and out between mail drops and drop offs from our support crew. Keeping that in mind, when you browse through my gear list remember that items along the trial will be picked up and dropped off and this list is more fluid than rigid.

Starting with my “Big Four”, which is made up of my pack, tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad, you’ll see this section will account for the mafority of non-food/water weight. My pack is the ULA CDT Pack, which could be swapped out should I need more space in the Sierra’s. Jon and I are splitting the weight of the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2 as our tent. My main sleeping bag, which will change in the Sierra’s as more warmth is needed, will be my Marmot Hydrogen Bag which is rated down to 30 degrees. I’ll be sleeping on the Therm-a-rest NeoAir XTherm which adds some warmth by having a layer of air between me and the ground and is also quite comfortable.

Gary's "Big Four" Items for the Pacific Crest Trail (Click for Larger View.)
Gary’s “Big Four” Items for the Pacific Crest Trail (Click for Larger View.)

Moving on to how I’ll cook my meals. I’ll have my pocket rocket stove from MSR along with, typically, an eight ounce fuel can, 2 sporks (because I am notorious spork breaker) and a simple lighter.

Gary's Cooking System for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)
Gary’s Cooking System for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)

Now that we’ve covered my food preparation let’s talk about hydration. I’ll mostly be carrying two collapsible Platypus bottles for the majority of the trail and supplementing during the long dry spots on the trail with a regular old two liter bottle. My filter will be the Sawyer mini water filter, you can’t beat the ease of use and the weight saving size of that thing!

Gary's Hydration System for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)
Gary’s Hydration System for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)

Now that we’ve met some of the basic needs along the trail like shelter, food and water we can move on to some of the other items I’ll be carrying inside my pack. Let’s start that off with the navigation and trail essentials I’ll have with me. This includes crucial things like maps, compass, headlamp, first aid and repair kits, my knife and cordage. These are all things we’ll need at some point or another along the way.

Gary's Navigation and Trail Essential for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)
Gary’s Navigation and Trail Essential for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)

After trail essentials and navigation I’ll have some sanitation and hygiene items along the way. Here is the list of those items.

Gary's Toiletries for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)
Gary’s Toiletries for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)

Outside of sanitation and trail essentials there are always some items that don’t seem to fit into a certain category, these might be organizational items like stuff sacks and wallets, or personal items like journals and a phone. Here is what I am calling my miscellaneous category, for lack of a better term.

Gary's Miscellaneous Items for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)
Gary’s Miscellaneous Items for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)

We’ve basically covered all the stuff that I can’t wear, so let’s circle back to those items that can be worn. Firstly, there are the clothing items that will, for the most part, be in my pack. These are situational items such as thermals, jackets, rain gear, beanie, gloves, etc.

Gary's Clothing in Pack for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)
Gary’s Clothing in Pack for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)

Secondly, there are the items that will serve as my primary clothing pieces. I’ve also included items that will mostly be outside of my pack in this section. These other items are predominantly trekking poles, watch, and eyeglasses.

Gary's Primarily Worn Clothing for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)
Gary’s Primarily Worn Clothing for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)

Finally, there are those items that we’ll need only as needed. These things include ice axes, snowshoes and bear canisters in the Sierra Nevada area and possible heavier boots, gaiters and crampons should conditions dictate.

Gary's Sierra Nevada and Cold Weather Gear on the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)
Gary’s Sierra Nevada and Cold Weather Gear on the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)

So that’s it, that’s the first iteration of what I’ll be taking with my on the trail this year. Some items may drop out if I can save some ounces here or there. I’ll leave you with my pack totals as they stand now. Keep in mind, if you are doing the math on your own here that these totals have the weights of the “Clothing Worn” section dropped because it’s a pack total and those items won’t be in my pack, they’ll be on my back.

Gary's Pack Total Weight for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)
Gary’s Pack Total Weight for the Pacific Crest Trail. (Click for Larger View.)

TRAINING HIKE: Barrel Springs to Agua Caliente Creek Camp Overnight!

As mentioned in a previous training hike post, Marissa and I (Jon) were planning on doing an overnight hike/camp trip to the trail camp that is roughly 4 miles north of Warner Springs along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). This is the account of that overnight hike.

To get to the Barrel Springs entry point on the PCT we parked along Montezuma Valley Road (S22) at the 1 mile marker. There was a pretty well defined dirt pullout on the south side of the road with good shade cover where we parked. From the car we entered onto the PCT by crossing the road (Look both ways! The speed limit is 55 here so cars can come up fast!) and entering through a cattle gate heading north. This part of the trail begins with a slight climb on some looping ridge lines finally bringing you to the top of a chaparral covered ridge. From here you’ll descend through the chaparral and cacti to reach the valley below. Once at the valley, you may feel a bit exposed as the terrain is much more prairie like and contains nearly no overhead growth until you reach the next ridge. The first valley is pretty short, though, and serves as a bit of a prelude to what is to come. After the first valley you’ll traverse another small ridge with more chaparral and cacti before descending again to the next valley floor. The climbs are negligible, as you’ll see in the stats images at the end of this post. The total gain/loss for the entire one-way hike from Barrel Springs to our camp site was only 1040 ft. Once you’re on the second valley floor you’ll head out into the open again with great panoramic views of rolling hills and their accompanied ridge lines on the outskirts. The trail first takes you to some rock formations you can just make out as your start your trek through the meadow. From these first rock formations you’ll follow the trail up a slight ascent and then back down again as it bends west a bit and finally arrives at Eagle Rock. Eagle rock is another grouping of rock formations right around the 5 mile mark.

A main challenge in this open space, at least on the days we were coming through in mid-November, was wind. The wind coming through the valleys can be pretty brutal if you don’t have some sort of wind protection. I was wearing a long sleeve dryfit shirt to protect against the sun and wind and my hat has a chin strap which came in very handy in this area. We took a break at the trail crossing to Eagle Rock (you can take a small side trail up to the rocks if you’re nasty) where there were a few decent sized rocks near the trail that we could get a rest from the wind for a few minutes. Click here for a video of the panoramic view from the trail with my AEE MagiCam SD22 (It’s like a GoPro but a fraction of the cost). I replaced the annoying wind flooding the camera’s microphone with a more soothing, yet still fitting, tone.

Eagle Rock between Barrel Springs and Warner Springs
Eagle Rock between Barrel Springs and Warner Springs on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Click here for a video of the area.

After leaving Eagle Rock the trail leads you through the final stretch of meadow and then into a shaded area that appears to follow a creek bed, which was dry during our hike. From here, you’ll descend some while enjoying the much more protected area of the shady oaks around you until you finally reach Warner Springs. Before you reach the first crossing of Highway 79 near Warner Springs you can opt to take the California Riding and Hiking Trail into town if you want to grab a bite to eat or need to tend to anything else in a small town before heading to camp. We continued on the Pacific Crest Trail with goes wide to the west of the town. If you continue on the PCT, first you’ll come to the Warner Springs Fire Station where you will have to come up to the road and cross (you can’t go under the bridge even when the creek is dry as there is a barbed wire fence on one side). Once across Highway 79, you’ll follow the trail northwest through some more open meadow lands until you reach some more shady oaks just before the second Highway 79 crossing. Just before crossing the second road we took another little break at what appeared to be an ill maintained campground. It wasn’t pretty but there were picnic tables and a rope swing in the area we set our packs down.

After starting up again you’ll pass by what looks like some fire fighter training grounds with a ropes course and some other structures around. Then you’ll come to the white bridge that you would park near if you were going to start the Agua Caliente Trail hike that was outlined in a previous post. From here, you will follow the PCT northbound as described in that earlier Agua Caliente Trail Hike post.

You can find a short video showing the Agua Caliente Creek trail camp site that we used on the San Diego Sloggers Facebook page. Here area  couple pictures of the area if you’re lazy.

Agua Caliente Creek Trail Camp on PCT
Agua Caliente Creek Trail Camp on PCT. Click here for a short video showing the whole area.
Agua Caliente Creek Trail Camp on PCT.
Agua Caliente Creek Trail Camp on PCT. Click here for a short video showing the whole area.

Below are the hike stats from our adventure.

Barrel Springs to Agua Caliente Creek Pace
Our Pace From Barrel Springs to Agua Caliente Creek Trail Camp along the PCT.
Barrel Springs to Agua Caliente Creek Trail Camp
Our Elevation Gain/Loss From Barrel Springs to Agua Caliente Creek Trail Camp along the PCT.

Thoughts on Training for The PCT

There are many different approaches to go about training for the PCT.  Most of which I imagine are successful considering some hikers simply hike their way into fitness the first several weeks having done little or no conditioning ahead of time.  I remember in the early years, many PCT’ers were so fired up at the beginning that they pushed themselves so hard they often sprained their knees or ankles and then needed to rest several days to recover, losing all that time they were trying to save. I guess that’s not surprising considering how much more the packs weighed back then.

In preparation for hiking the PCT, I have developed a strategy for training with the goal of just being in reasonable shape when we start. I don’t think it’s necessary that I start in peak condition, as if I’m going to run a marathon on day one.  I think that peak conditioning probably won’t occur until we are in the Sierras, after we have put in many successive 20 mile days, and we have acclimated to the high altitude.

As a middle aged hiker at 60 years old, I have learned to know what is reasonable to expect and what’s not.  I can increase my endurance and my aerobic capacity by putting in the necessary time. The rate of increase is much slower than when I was in my twenties, but nonetheless, it will increase with persistence.  Increasing speed is more difficult to achieve, and that probably won’t change much with more work outs. And increasing strength with weights is something I won’t even attempt it.  For me lifting weights of any significant amount usually results in a nagging injury instead of muscle building that happens with the 20 and 30 year olds. So, I’ll leave that to the youth.  All of this leads me to the primary emphasis of my training…. avoid injury!   My desire may push me to do more, but there is a price to pay for overdoing it.

It makes sense to train for a thru-hike by doing a lot of hiking, so I hike up the local mountains in Mission Trails Regional Park, Cowles Mtn, South Fortuna, and North Fortuna.   Typically, I get about 5 miles in, climbing about 1,000 ft each outing.  I try to achieve this 3-4 times a week. When I get a chance I go for a long one in the local mountains to the east, in the Lagunas or Cuyamacas.    I have now added cycling (either mountain or road bike) for about 1 ½ hours after a hike.  The advantage of crossing training with cycling is that it strengthens the knees without further impact that often occurs from too much downhill on rocky trails.  Excessive impact leads to injury.  Crossing training also strengthens different muscle groups that will help support hiking muscles.  The biggest benefit for me is the strengthening of the quadriceps that supports the knees and prevents patellar tendinitis.

Another source of knee pain for me comes from the common condition of flat arches and over-pronating.  I get poor tracking of my knee cap contributing to it aching.  I often use orthotics during a normal work day.  On the trail I look for maximum support and tend to replace my trail runners before the sole wears out.  I like the shock absorbing benefit from a new set of shoes and find it immediately provides relief from a slowly growing knee ache that gradually sets in from the wearing down of a sole.  Over the years of trying many hiking boots and trail runners I found maximum comfort with Solomon XA PRO 3D GTX.  I like its advanced chassis between the soles which provides the great stability and responsiveness as well as the cushioning in its footbed.  I know there are many good trail runners and a lot of times it depends on the fit for each individual, but I liked the Solomon’s so much that I sought them out as a sponsor and couldn’t be happier to have them back us.

I try to use common guidelines while training.  Occasionally, I check my heart rate if I am in a strenuous workout.  I use one of the equations found on the internet like the American Heart Associations which is 220 minus my age which is 160.  I’ll go a little beyond it but not by much.  No need to stroke out now, there is plenty of time to do that on the trail.  I also follow the conversation rule which recommends that your workout  not exceed your ability to carry on a conversation.

Dehydration is a significant issue on long stretches of the trail. Although water by itself will be the primary means of hydration, flavored drinks can help to increase the volume you take in.  Some are better than others for performance.  Gatorade, and various sports drinks don’t have the correct mix of carbohydrates, potassium, and sodium.  They are mostly just sweet drinks made to sell.   Carbohydrate levels in a drink are important for maximum water absorption and electrolyte balance is needed to prevent cramping and maximize muscle performance. (And I will need all the help I can get)  It is easy to dehydrate on the trail if you’re not watching your fluid intake.  Vitalyte was created for these conditions which I why I sought them out as a sponsor. I anticipate drinking about 2 quarts a day of Vitalyte.

I plan to slowly increase my mileage until February and March when I will accelerate the mileage per week and add longer single hikes to include 15-20 mile outings.  I am lucky that the PCT is practically in my backyard, not much more than 30 minutes away, and I have a cabin less that’s less than a mile off the trail. This will make It easy for us to actually do warm up hikes on the trail itself.

So, that is my strategy, and only time will tell whether or not it works.

TRAINING HIKE: Agua Caliente Creek Trail

When preparing for a trip as long as the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) it is important to not only make sure your supply packages and town stops are planned out and in order. It’s also crucial to prepare your body for the wear and tear of walking all day everyday for an extended period of time. This means doing as much pre-departure training hikes as possible. Currently, as we are roughly 5 months out from the departure date of April 1, 2015, I am  hiking at least 3 times a week. Most of which are the usual 5-8 mile in town trails I’m used to. However, to give myself a change of scenery I try to get out of town when I can. A lot of the time this includes small sections of the PCT that can be done as day hikes. This hike is exactly one such section.

Less than a mile from Warner Springs, CA along highway 79 is a bridge that carry the cars on the highway across Agua Caliente Creek. At this bridge you’ll find turnouts on either side of the road to park your car. On the west end of the bridge is  a trail signed for the California Riding and Hiking Trail and just a few hundred feet up the trail is the PCT. Once entering onto the PCT, head north on the trail which will situate the seasonal stream of Agua Caliente Creek on your right hand side.

Late Summer view of the Pacific Crest Trail as it heads north along Agua Caliente Creek near Highway 79.
Late Summer view of the Pacific Crest Trail as it heads north along Agua Caliente Creek near Highway 79.

As you make your way north you’ll eventually cross the creek bed a couple times before heading up and around a small climb which takes you around a hillside and eventually back down to the creek. Once back to the creek after the climb (and subsequent descent), you’ll cross the creek again and then follow the trail along side of the stream bed for a while. While my wife, Marissa, and dog, Buster, hiked this in late summer I imagine that this section of the trail could be a bit soggy and problematic when water is actually flowing in the creek. Aqua Caliente Creek was bone dry by the time we made the journey in mid-October due to the severe California water drought. After following the creek bed for a while you’ll reach a fairly well defined campsite in a grove near the creek. This is where we chose to turn around which ended up being just short of 4 miles from our starting point on Highway 79. The campsite has a clearly groomed flat area for a tent and even a fire ring, though I believe this area is in the Cleveland National Forest which could make utilizing the fire ring slightly unlawful. Marissa and I are planning on extending this hike to come back to this campsite the week of Thanksgiving. Our likely extension will include starting at Barrel Spring along S2 (Montezuma Valley Road) and hiking up here for an overnight. I’ll detail that journey separately should it become a reality.

Buster relaxing near the makeshift fire ring at the campsite near Agua Caliente Creek
Buster relaxing near the makeshift fire ring at the campsite near Agua Caliente Creek.

From the campsite grove you’ll, simply, turn around and retrace your steps back to Highway 79 and your car. This was an enjoyable hike with some nice late Summer scenery, though I imagine water being in the stream would make it a bit more green and lush. I’m looking forward to seeing the same spot when we make our way past in mid/late-April next year!

Here are some trail stats I took with the MapMyRun app on my phone. It’s a nice free app (can pay for it for additional tracking and features if desired) to track things like distance, pace and elevation.

Stats from the MapMyRun app tracking distance, time, pace, calories and a map view of Agua Caliente Creek hike.
Stats from the MapMyRun app tracking distance, time, pace, calories and a map view of Agua Caliente Creek hike.


Stats from the MapMyRun app tracking elevation gain/loss, max and min elevation for Agua Caliente Creek hike.
Stats from the MapMyRun app tracking elevation gain/loss, max and min elevation for Agua Caliente Creek hike.