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[pct-l] Campo to Idyllwild water, camps

William Speers wrote:
>>I will be on the PCT for two weeks between April 18 and May 2, between
Campo and Idyllwild.  Can anyone tell me where the reliable water sources
are, how
close they are to the trail, etc.?  Any suggestions for avoiding bad guys if
camping  near Hauser Canyon and Fred Canyon?  Is the campsite near Yellow
Rose Spring a mile north of where the trail crosses Kithcen Creek Road a
decent place to camp/get water?<<

I hiked through this area in May of both '95 and '96.  '95 was an above
average rain year, and water was flowing everywhere.  Since '98 could end up
being similar to '95 in terms of rainfall, I suspect most springs that might
otherwise be dry in May will be flowing between April 18 and May 2.  The
best sources are Hauser Creek, Lake Morena (campground), Boulder Oaks
(store), Long Canyon (map A6), water fountain south of Mt.Laguna, Mt.
Laguna, (this starts the long stretch between reliable water-but there is a
water tank somewhere on map A8, check with the PCTA on exact location;
Chariot Canyon is normally dry; push on to San Felipe Creek); Barrel Spring;
Warner Springs (town), Agua Caliente Creek, Lost Valley Spring (marginal),
Tule Spring, Nance Canyon (flowed in both '95 and '96), Hwy 74 (go west 1
mile to Paradise Corner restaurant), Tunnel Spring or Live Oak Spring(B6),
S. Fork Tahquitz Creek.  On my trips in '95 and '96 I found water in all of
the above locations.  Sorry I could not provide mileages between the points.

Regarding Chariot Canyon (map A10), the guidebook suggests walking down the
valley to a spring.  I never looked for it in both years in hiked.  In the
wet '95 season, I found trickles of water in the meadows just before
crossing the dirt road that descends into the canyon.  There is also a tank
along the road very close to the PCT, but I don't think it contained water.
(Perhaps someone else could post a comment on the tank.)  I also strongly
suggest calling the PCTA before starting your hike regarding the
availability of water from the tank north of Mt. Laguna on map A9.
Thankfully, in '96 I found bottled water left by Brick Robbins near the
highway on map A9, which prevented me from having to go into Chariot Canyon
looking for the spring!

Yellow Rose Spring was flowing in '95 but not '96.  Long Canyon, about 4
miles ahead, is a sure bet.  Yellow Rose would make a good campsite, except
it doesn't provide enough cover (read the next paragraph). 

Avoiding "bad guys" near the Mexico border?  I would say definately do not
camp along Hauser Creek.  Between Campo and Mt. Laguna, it is fairly easy to
find flat, small clearings in the brush away from the trail.  You might have
to climb out of Hauser Creek valley to find such a place, however.  I tested
my campsites by making sure nobody could see me (or a tent) from the trail.
In '96 I actually heard footsteps in the middle of the night. But I didn't
care because the chances of someone seeing me was almost nil.  I was just 30
feet from the trail.  That night I came closer to having an encounter with a
coyote than an immigrant!  The next night near boulder oaks it was a skunk!
North of Mt. Laguna you normally don't need to worry about encounters with
immigrants.  But I heard in '96 that one was seen along the trail near
Barrel Spring.  I am sure the PCTA will have better info regarding this as
your departure date nears.

roger carpenter
Mexico > Canada '96 

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