Thursday, April 11, 2019 – 14.70 miles
Despite it being almost 15 miles and 4800 feet of elevation gain away, I decided to walk to Coon Creek Cabin today since eTrails describes it as having a fire grate (which I interpreted as fireplace) and the night is supposed to be cold. Quickly I discovered that the bushwhacking in Mission Canyon was mostly over, with just a few final crossings of Mission Creek and one wander down an incorrect creekbed at the start of the day. A trail report on the PCTA website had scared my mother with descriptions of large boulders to climb over and many downed trees, but I didn’t encounter those. Large sections of trail remained in areas where the canyon was wider or the trail was positioned further from the water – searching for them was quicker than bushwhacking the entire way.
For most of the day I leapfrogged with Dropbear and Bake, who were also intending to hike to the cabin, but the uphill slog was brutal and they dropped off at Mission Springs Trail Campground with two other members of their group. I decided that I had six miles left in me – fireplace, fireplace – and continued on.
About three miles before the cabin, I hit patchy snow that continued on north-facing slopes until the cabin.
I had been worried about the snow since I had no recent information about conditions other than that it was ‘fine’, but it was marked by deep footprints and gave me no trouble. I saw a few places where someone had postholed, but the snow was firm for me in the cool and clouds.
With my last reserves of energy I arrived at Coon Creek Cabin and IT IS THE WORST. Apparently large groups can reserve the cabin, and when earlier Dropbear asked me ‘what if it’s reserved?’, I said that would be the worst. NO, THE CABIN ITSELF IS THE WORST. I was expecting a typical hut structure with sleeping platforms, but Coon Creek Cabin consists of one graffitied main building with three rooms and two side buildings, none of which have covered windows or doorways, so there’s no way to trap heat inside. One of the side buildings doesn’t even have a floor, so of course there are no sleeping platforms or chairs or any other piece of furniture. There’s not even a hiker logbook, but all of the entries would be ‘THIS IS DESPAIR’ anyway. Ultimately I’m not certain what the purpose of this structure is – was it built for something else and then abandoned to its current state? I don’t know. Some hikers are in tents outside, some are cowboy camping and some pitched their tents in the structure with the dirt floor. I spoke with the people in the various buildings and one woman was standoffish, like she thought I wanted to forcibly camp in their building. Lady, do you own Coon Creek Cabin? I know for a fact that you don’t, because WHO WOULD WANT IT. The icing on the sadcake is that the outhouse is locked.
I’m camping out of the wind in a gully.