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[pct-l] Trail Conditions

In my effort to block out some time in late May and early June for family obligations I have been doing Southern California segments this spring. I completed the first 64 miles of Section C yesterday (Saturday). 

As has been true from Campo, crowds were not a challenge. I encountered no other backpackers but did see one couple day-hiking which turned off before I reached them. There were no human tracks in the snow.

I had no real water problems but the flows seemed lower than what I expected from the Guide Book descriptions of early season conditions. Probably due to the cold, none of the piped water was operational. There are patches of snow on north and east slopes at some of the higher elevations but none that slowed travel much or lasted more than a few hundred feet. Running shoes were fine.

There are a few blow downs that necessitate a scramble. 

In Mission Creek Gorge at dusk on Thursday I came upon 6 Big Horn Sheep at a distance of about 30 feet. I don't know who was more startled. They ran a few feet and looked back then bounded up the canyon wall. 

From my experience so far, this seems like a good year for early starts in Southern California. Snow is not a problem now and water may be later. One draw back to this time of year is that the days are still short so I do several hours in the dark. Walking at night has pluses but I prefer daylight. Although day time temperatures are wonderful, nights are cold. My water bottles were frozen at the Arrastre Trail Camp.  

I met the executive director of The Wildlands Conservancy who told me about a recent purchase of several thousand acres that his organization made in the Mission Creek area. I understand that the intention is to add the land to the wilderness area. A few miles east of the PCT they have installed a locked gate on Mission Creek and are in the process of removing all traces of mankind except for a few of the historic stone structures.  If you need access they will provide a code for the lock. 

Near Cienaga Seca Creek there are a number (15-20) of cages made of chain link surrounded by a high chin link fence. I saw a bear in one, a large cat (cougar?) in another, and a small cat (bobcat?) in a third. I don't have the latest Guide Book updates. Does anyone know what the story is behind this facility? 

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