Cottonwood bridge – Willow Springs Road

February 19th, 2013
By: Daytripper

February 15-16, 2013. Hiked PCT mile 535 (Cottonwood Creek Trailhead) to mile 558 (Willow Springs Road Trailhead). Route now well marked with new posts bearing PCT emblem along entire length of this segment. Hiker/equestrian friendly new gate installed in barb-wire fence at mile 536. PCT posts on both sides of most new roads constructed in the windfarm (miles 535-540) reduce confusion. Motorcycle tracks common from Tylerhorse Canyon (mile 541) to near mile 552. Trail tread between Tylerhorse Canyon (mile 541) and Gamble Spring Canyon (mile 545) in poor shape; much erosion and damage due to motorcycle use (equestrians could have difficultly). Switchbacks Nobo from Gamble Springs Canyon in better shape with less erosion. Trail travels through Canyon Fire (ignited by fatal plane crash September 4, 2011) burn area (miles 548 – 556). Mature pinyon pine forest severely burned. Trail through burn has been extensively cleared of dead trees; only about 10 newly fallen trees across trail. List of numerous Tehachapi trail angel names/phone numbers posted on telephone pole at Willow Springs Trailhead parking area (mile 558).

Water: Did not check water faucet south of Cottonwood bridge at mile 535 (no water from faucet in October 2012) . Cache north of bridge in one-sided shelter (mile 535) limited to three newly placed gallon water jugs. Tylerhorse Canyon (mile 541.5) has flowing water (1 ft wide, 1 inch deep) with algae on bottom. Gamble Spring Canyon dry. Recently placed water cache (mile 549) at 6240 ft elevation (soon after end of climb out of Gamble Spring Canyon) consisting of about fifteen 20 ounce store-bought water bottles, folding lawn chair, trash bag, and faded sign indicated cache established by Dr. ? (unreadable) and Larry. Tiger tank shower (mile 551) dry. Water flowing in Oak Creek (mile 558) about four feet wide, 6 inches deep, with algae. Water cache at Willow Springs Rd. trailhead (mile 558) in ice chest with a few gallons of water. Daytripper.