Monday, May 22
Start: Holcomb Creek Camp
Stop: secret deep creek hot springs
I wouldn’t say it was a particularly restful night but somehow I feel rested. Mostly I tossed and turned and watched all the planes headed for LAX. The sky is warming with today’s light and I feel like I’m getting a late start. My rustling wakes up Lil’ Buddha and he tells me that it’s 519am. Ooopps. I’m on trail by 540am but stop almost immediately as I see some large wake in the beaver dam zone. I stand very still and watch a large beaver climb up onto its dam and drag a willow branch out of sight. I slowly walk down near the water and watch a couple mallard ducks. After a while, what I thought was a rock starts to move and I watch as a beaver chomps on something in the water. A bunch of other ducks come floating in and the beaver starts to swim away. Before heading under water, it slaps its tale against the water. Watch the video here. I’ve never seen beavers before so this is all pretty fascinating to me. A few jack rabbit sightings round out the morning nature show.
We make good time and have just over 8 miles by 10am and 11.5 miles by noon. We get trail magic from Goaltech and Mountain Goat heading southbound. And then there’s a cooler with ICE COLD beer and gatorade just before the first Deep Creek Bridge. My first trail magic of the season (not counting water caches) and damn that beer was good.
Lunch is a two hour leisure on the banks of Deep Creek. I even wade in, wash my legs and dump cold water over my head. The last 8.5 miles are a slog as the afternoon heat bakes. I go all afternoon with my umbrella up so I’m not suffering from the heat as much as Lil’ Buddha. An egret swoops by and knocks me out of my trail trance. We push to the “secret” Deep Creek hotsprings and luckily no one is there. We cool off in the stream and then soak in a warm pool. Usually I’m not fond of getting in the water but I have to admit that the evening plunge makes a hard day worth it. The sky goes pink and reflects off the water as we finally eat some dinner.