Monday, September 9, 2013

Pacific Crest Trail - Tehachapi, California (...or, My Early Morning Hike)

Pacific Crest Trail - Tehachapi, California
The Pacific Crest Trail is a 2,663 mile long footpath that traverses some of the most remote and beautiful scenery in California, Oregon and Washington. It takes the average person about 150 days to complete the trail end-to-end.

The route avoids populated areas, remaining mostly within National Forests and National Parks. Hikers can reload on supplies when the trail passes near a town. Tehachapi in central California is one of those towns.
Sunrise At Pacific Crest Trail - Tehachapi, California
A few mornings ago I went to the Pacific Crest Trail near Tehachapi and began hiking north. I started just before sunrise. The only thing I brought with me was a Sigma DP2 Merrill camera and a bottle of water.

The temperature was cool but not cold. The sky was clear other than some distant clouds. It was a nice morning to be out in nature.
Cache Peak Segment
The trail, at this point called the Cache Peak Segment, begins just north of Highway 58 at the Cameron Road exit. Signs and fences mark the trail well. It begins by heading east, closely paralleling the freeway. Approximately one mile down the trail begins moving north and away from the highway.

The trail is easy at this point. It is dirt, with a short paved section over an old alignment of the highway. It is up-and-down, but the hills are not steep. Just under a mile into the trek the brush is overgrown and blocks the path. I recommend wearing pants and not shorts.
Pacific Crest Trail Marker - Tehachapi, California
I only hiked approximately one-and-a-quarter miles before turning around. I would have loved to continue, but obligations and a lack of supplies prevented me from doing so. It was great just to have traversed the small section that I did. 

It is my understanding that not much further down from where I turned around, the trail becomes steeper and there are many switchbacks. There are some water holes, but one has to hike a day or two to begin finding them.
Trail Gate - Tehachapi, California
A word of caution: this part of the trail is in the desert. There are poisonous snakes and other dangerous creatures. Keep a constant lookout and always be careful.

The temperatures can also be quite hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Weather can be unpredictable and harsh. Pay close attention to forecasts and plan accordingly.
Hiker's Journal - Tehachapi, California
One of these days I will hike the full segment going north toward the Kern Valley. It is a five-to-six day hike, so it will take some practice and preparation to do so. I'm not physically ready, but it would be a great accomplishment.   

For Bus Service - Tehachapi, California

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