Day 22 – April 25, 2022
Mile 307.9 (Deep Creek Hot Springs) to 328.8 (Silverwood Lake Campsite)
20.9 trail miles | 21.2 tracked miles | 2,296 ft elevation gain | 84.2 F / 29 °C
The night at Deep Creek Hot Springs turned out to be uneventful. Most of the locals ended up packing up and leaving by the time we went to sleep, while those who did stay overnight weren’t too rowdy after all.
A few early risers among thru-hikers enjoyed a morning soak, while I chose to sleep in instead. We left at 7:30am.
The early morning trek along Deep Creek was enchanting. Winding its way through the canyon, the trail closely followed the curves of the creek.
Eventually, the path became straighter, and we got a first glimpse of the Mojave River Dam. Built by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1974, the dam is located at the confluence of the Deep Creek and the West Fork Mojave River.
I couldn’t make sense of the adjacent concrete wall.
Wikipedia came to the rescue: the dam is a three-part structure, with an auxiliary dam to the west of the main dam, and a concrete spillway on the east side. We got an up, close, and personal view of the structures, and they looked rather decrepit. I was tempted to go on an #urbex mission, but we had to keep moving, and I don’t think that anyone else was attracted by this eyesore.
The dam was designed for flood control, so the reservoir is usually empty. Fortunately, that was definitely the case today. I suppose hikers would want to high-tail it out of this area after a storm, though.
As if this walk through giant concrete structures wasn’t enough of a contrast with the wilderness we’ve become accustomed to, the trail then briefly detoured through Highway 173.
On the plus side, I stumbled upon a trash can. Trash receptacles and bathrooms are probably two of a thru-hiker’s favorite sights (after food.)
We passed another dam, Cedar Springs Dam, which is used both for power generation and as a means to store fresh water. The trail continued along Silverwood Lake, which is body of water retained by the dam.
The Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is designated as a California State Park, and is equipped with a boat launch, picnic tables, and basic recreation facilities. We were ahead of schedule and stopped for a break and a dip.
Dispersed camping is not allowed at the Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area, and we didn’t feel like pushing much further ahead, so we took the spur trail to an official campsite operated by the State of California. It is a developed campground with all sorts of glamping amenities including grills, picnic tables, and my favorite—coin showers.
I enjoyed my shower thoroughly. Michael had a less stellar experience. His shower ate all his coins then stopped running immediately after he lathered up. Have I ever mentioned how California is such a leader in technology?
Since we were close to civilization, we decided to order pizza from Uber Eats. It was expensive, entirely unnecessary, and we waited for almost an hour as the courier had to drive 30 minutes to us. Plus, we missed an opportunity to reduce the weight of our packs, ever so slightly. But it was great fun, and a welcome change from our usual diet!
It’s been a luxurious week overall—we’ve enjoyed hot springs, two sit-down toilets, and now pizza. The streak isn’t over, as tomorrow we’ll hit the famous Cajon Pass McDonald’s, the only McDonald’s on trail. I can’t believe I’m excited for junk food, but any departure from tortillas and nutrition bars is a treat!