With May now upon us and June fast approaching, the first of the Pacific Crest National Trail (PCT) hikers are starting to filter through Jawbone Canyon on their way to Kennedy Meadows. No section of the PCT is easy, but the section that runs from highway 58 to Walker Pass presents some difficult logistical problems: namely that water is hard to find in regular supply in the desert.

In fact, the longest section of the PCT without any reliable water happens just north of 58 and has just a little over 38 miles between water sources. Other parts of the PCT cross and re-cross streams and rivers that run with fresh snowmelt year-round, but the section in our backyard doesn’t have any springs directly on the trail and some of the more reliable water-sources are up to three miles off the main trail. Thus, at key points, hikers must step off the trail and head down the local dirt roads in search of springs or the water caches that were left for them.

So, keep an eye out for foot traffic and (more rarely) equestrian traffic, as hiking season kicks into high gear. It won’t only be the long-haulers who are making the trip from Mexico to Canada, but also those doing ‘section hikes’ either as a destination in-and-of themselves or as training for future hikes. If you encounter a hiker (or a group of hikers) why not say hello and ask them where they are going and where they have come from (hikers come from not just all over the United States, but all over the world). If you have it to spare, most hikers will be more than happy to join you for lunch since they will have had nothing but freeze-dried food and water for the previous few weeks, a diet that can make even a simple sandwich with fresh bread seem like a four-course dinner at a five-star restaurant. 

For more information about the PCT visit the Pacific Crest Trail Association's webpage by clicking here. The Friends of Jawbone are proud to have done trail maintenance along the PCT and to have signed and erected step-over barriers to protect both hikers and OHV riders from straying unknowingly onto the wrong road. For more information on FOJ’s work on the PCT, click this link. 

Friends of Jawbone members Doug and Rick meet Maria, a hiker from germany, who plans to walk the entire length of the PCT, hoping to finish before October 2nd. They invited her to join them at camp for lunch, and, according to Doug, had an excellent conversation before they sent her off with snacks and fresh water. Her next destination was Tyler Horse Canyon, where she planned to spend the night.