Trans-Catalina Trail: Day 3

I awoke just before sunrise, after a fairly good sleep under the stars. I had gotten a little damp overnight, but nothing too troublesome. Today was going to be a warm one, as the forecasts for the rest of the week was going to be unseasonably hot. So I wanted to get an early start to get the climb out of Little Harbor done before it was too warm. I made a cup of coffee and ate a breakfast bar while I broke camp. I still had a coke that I had bought the day before, so I drank it down for some extra “go” juice. I waved goodbye to the woman at the next site, as she was just starting her day. My plasma lighter had trouble last night igniting the tinder, so I borrowed her traditional lighter, and that coupled with the bag my oatmeal-raisin cookie came in let me enjoy my campfire.

The trail doesn’t waste any time and starts climbing directly from the campground. Why the trail builders did not use switchbacks, I will never know. While it was steep, it was not too awful.  I did remember to stop and turn back toward Little Harbor for a few more photos. As I continued climbing, the views of the coast to my left were stunning. After about 2 miles, a shade shelter came into view, which indicated that the summit was almost there. I paused and shared with another hiker that I’d been “chasing” for much of the climb, but the draw of the General Store in Two Harbors was strong, so I said my goodbyes and continued down the trail. I had another almost 2.5 miles to go, but I did make a very short side trip to the top of Banning House Mountain. The extreme heat forecasted for the next day meant that it was highly unlikely I was actually going to try and summit Silver Peak if I took the high route out to Parsons Landing.

The descent was pleasant and seeing Cat Harbor was a welcome sight. I dropped my pack near the General Store and grabbed some cool drinks. After that, I made the ¼ mile walk over to the campsite. This time I’d be right next to the water. Once I was set up, I headed back into town for lunch and exploration. Between the campground and town, there’s a small hill that you go up and over. I had my lunch and then inquired about the locker key for Parsons Landing. Instead of putting my water and firewood in the locker, it would be marked for me placed next to one. I strolled back to the campsite and then went down to the beach below me to find a spot to relax. I also took some time to rinse my clothes and grab a simple shower. While you can pay for a warm one in town, the warm day made this cold one feel very refreshing. Since the store closes at 5, I made my way back over to grab a beer and hopefully some Fritos to go with dinner Sadly there were no Fritos to accompany my chili mac. I also opted to grab a Detour IPA from the excellent beer selection. It seemed appropriate since I was making a detour on the TCT.

Some of the other hikers I had met along the way were also in town waiting until the restaurant opened. They invited me for dinner, but I really wanted to eat and enjoy the view from my campsite. So I compromised and had a cup of chowder with them instead. I was hoping to sleep again without the rain fly and enjoy the night sky. However, the fog started to roll in, so on it went. I also brought the rain cover for my backpack and slipped it on as well. Once again I enjoyed another fire as evening fell. 

While I did debate an early start to try to take the high route, I knew that the additional 2 miles to also climb Silver Peak might be too much in this heat. Even so, I still wanted an early start to go to Parsons Landing. While the road route was mostly flat, it was still nearly 8 miles. One downside of the Two Harbors campground is it can be quite noisy in the evenings. And true to those warnings, we had some campers making a bit of a racket into the evening. Thankfully they did quiet down before I got too grumpy.

Day 4: Two Harbors to Parsons Landing

I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, Central Coast, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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