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Ascent to Black Jack to Parson's Landing on 2013-05-25

Climber: Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach

Date:Saturday, May 25, 2013
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
Place:Black Jack to Parson's Landing
    Elevation:2000 ft / 609 m

Ascent Trip Report

Day two on our Trans Catalina Trail Backpacking Trip.

Left Black Jack Campground (essentially mile 14 on the trail) with the intention of hiking to Parson's Landing (mile 33). As we knew it would be a longer day, we were up early and hiking by 0730. Beautiful rolling hills and we went through a lot more groves of trees than the first day. Stopped at the Airport in the Sky (mile 17) just to see what it looked like. As it was only 8:30 or 8:45, we decided to pass on the Buffalo Burger and Cookies that we had been hearing about. Spent a lot of time on dirt roads and could see a few buffalo on a ridge in the distance. Around mile 18 a ranger came up to us and asked if we had seeen the buffalo. We assured him that we had and that we knew to keep at least 150 feet of distance between us and them. He agreed - didn't ask to see our self-issued hiking permit. I finished the conversation by commenting that I didn't even like cows - so I would DEFINITELY stay away from the buffalo. He laughed and drove away. The 7 or 8 buffalo turned out to be nearly 30. We got up to the ridge - we saw them and they saw us - totally not phased (them, not us) - and ended up crossing less than 50 feet in front of us, running, and circling behind us. It was a little disconcerting - but they weren't malicious buffalo - just wanted to be on the other side of the road and behind us. Hearing their hooves and running was pretty aweesome - I tried to take a few photos but I didn't want to seem, um, intrusive - so we kept hiking.. The Sheep Chute was the easiest part of the trail. Basically 3 or 4 miles straight down hill to Little Harbor. Awesome views and we made great time. Little Harbor had places to refill water - but we had plenty and didn't need it. The climb from Little Harbor to 2 Harbors - well... I do a lot of hiking and I LOVE LOVE it... and while the views were spectacular, there was a quite a bit of up up up. Even though we only gained 1200' to the max elevation, it was rolling - so it definitely felt like more. Especailly with an overly heavy pack. Anyway - at the crest I threw off my pack and usucessfully tried to heave it over the edge. But it was too heavy. So I quit hiking for a few minutes, Nate fed me gorp, and eventually my good spirits returned. We all have those moments - right? Anyway - the scenery on this portion was FANTASTIC. Awesome views, steep cliffs, lots of fields of cacti, and rugged coastline. No rolling hills or golden fields. This was just rock with cactus and steep trail. Beautiful! Made our way eventually down to 2 Harbos at mile 26 or 27 of the trail and had an overly expensive coke in town. Got our info for our primitive campsite at Parson's Landing (at the visitor's center, they said that someone would drop off our bundle of firewood and 2.5 gallons of water to our camp site), and set off back on the TCT. At this point, Nate said that I should go ahead because at mile 30 or so - there was a turn off for Silver Peak (which I of course wanted to grab). So I pushed the pace hard up up up for another 3 or so miles to the trail junction, dropped my pack and made my way towards Silver Peak. This part of the trail WAS more steep - but having refuelled in 2 Harbors and knowing that it was the last big push of the day did wonders. Awesome views, although the color of the soil was different (lighter brown) and it was hillier and more rugged than the other part of the island. One on the Silver Peak trai, it was only supposed to be 1.5 miles to the peak and back. I had a map and I made good time to what I thought was the peak. However - there was no sign. According to the map I was at the peak... but EVERYTHING had been marked along the island and I was afraid that it wasn't the acutal peak. I could see another peak in the distance - maybe a mile or so down the road.... so just to be sure I ran down the road to check it out. Turns out I made a rookie error - it wasn't the peak... I should have gone the extra 75 feet to the summit to check it out. Ended up running back a mile (with my camera, poles, and map) - ran to the summit of Silver - saw the geocache box and small marker - took a quick picture, and ran back down to the trail junction where Nate was waiting. It was a 5 mile detour, but I was only gone for 1:15 or so - did a hike/run combo on this one. From there we made our 2000 foot descent to Parson's Landing. Took our time because part of it were STEEP and with packs we wanted to be careful. Our legs were killing us at the bottom, but the primiitive campsite and awesome beach totally made up for it. Found our wood and water at the top of the bluff over looking the campsite and had enough time to get a fire going and enjoy a beautiful sunset. Total stats were 19.2 miles hiking on the TCT. Probably another mile or so around 2 Harbors, and then an extra 5 (gulp) for me while I got Silver Peak. Nice day!
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