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Southern California Deserts

Section A

US/Mexico Border to Warner Springs

109 miles

9,000 ft. elevation gain

First time on the PCT! I completed it on February 2018, over five days. I was way overpacked on this trip, and had so much non-essential equipment! This included a 3-liters bag of wine, a Bluetooth speaker, and so much heavy canned Basque food. On the first day, the hike towards Lake Morena was 19 miles of waterless dry terrain. I ran out of water a few miles before Lake Morena, and while slowly becoming dehydrated, all I could do was giggling at the idea of not having water but carrying a big wine plastic bladder. I did enjoy the foie gras and wine very much though.

Sections B&C

Warner Springs to the Cajon Pass

232 miles

25,000 ft. elevation gain

I hiked this section for 11 days total in May and June of 2018 and it was much harder than I had anticipated. The drastic elevation changes throughout this section brought me at last out of the chaparral, although that involved going up high mountains passes, or down to the heated desert floor. The change of scenery made for a challenging but amazing hike.

Sections D&E

Cajon Pass to Tehachapi Pass

224 miles

28,000 ft. elevation gain

I first started this section in March 2019 over Spring Break, but the snow was so deep on the San Gabriel Mountains that I had to exit the trail and hike down to Wrightwood. 

I tried again in June, which made for fairly warm but much better hiking conditions. June was a little late to hike the desert floor stretches, but that made for night hiking opportunities, which I enjoyed way more than I thought. I surprised myself at how many miles I could cover at night under the moonlight, just waking and listening to my favorite podcasts along the way.

Section F to Kennedy Meadows

Tehachapi Pass - Walker Pass – Kennedy Meadows

144 miles

16,000 ft. elevation gain

I completed this short section in July and October 2019. The goal was to reach Kennedy Meadows in order to finally be ready to cross the High Sierra the following summer. This section was fairly uneventful, there were lots of windmills, shrubs, and desert. I felt most excited over the last few days when I had finally witnessed the High Sierra peaks looming far ahead in the distance. On the last day, I was welcomed by the sight of the clear and cold South Fork Kern River and I knew that I was finally getting into the “real” Sierra Nevada backcountry!