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Big Sur - Pine Ridge Trail to Sykes Camp

Easy backpack in on the Pine Ridge Trail. I have a campsite at Pfeiffer Big Sur on Friday June 21, and am planning to backpack into Sykes Camp Saturday morning on the 22d, taking two days to get there (camping at Barlow Flats Saturday night). Those needing to return Sunday can do so, and those with more time can continue on to Sykes on Sunday.  For those that stay on, we will probably will just hang out at the Sykes hot springs on Monday, and hike out Tuesday from Sykes.

I also have a campsite at Kirk Creek on June 25 for anyone who would like to camp at this beautiful site on the coast after finishing. Sign up for the waitlist if interested, and let me know if you can only do the weekend or can spend a few more days.

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  • Amy

    Thank you Alan for organizing another awesome backpacking adventure...beautiful area, awesome company and a much needed getaway - am looking forward to the next opportunity to get together with you all!!

    June 26, 2013

  • Scott A.

    Nice meeting you all. Anyone get wet? Got my Fitbit today to track steps on the next trip.

    June 25, 2013

  • Rita

    great - good workout

    June 25, 2013

  • Noreen

    Beautiful area, nice teamwork, good workout, everyone out safely and happily and without poison oak (yet). Life is good. I'm looking forward to returning. Thanks again for orchestrating everything, Alan.

    June 25, 2013

  • Alan W

    Great trip with excellent company.

    June 24, 2013

  • Alan W

    The weather forecast for Sunday and Monday has cooled to highs in the mid 60s and lows in the mid 50s for Big Sur, so bring a fleece layer. Still no rain forecast, although there may be some up here in the Bay Area.

    June 21, 2013

  • Alan W

    Hilary - Sorry you can't make it. Maybe next time. FYI, Mark has to work as well, so we are down to 5. Pretty much what I was planning on. There is always lots of last minute attrition. For those still coming, do not underestimate the attractiveness of a whole layover day at Sykes camp on a non-weekend day. - Alan

    June 20, 2013

  • Alan W

    One last packing item. Everyone should bring a "modesty layer" for the hot springs. Doesn't have to be a bathing suit, just something you don't mind getting wet. Although the hot springs are "clothing optional" we may find ourselves sharing with families, etc., or one or more of our own group may prefer "clothing required." Also, we should expect to be sharing the springs with other groups, particularly on Sunday.

    June 20, 2013

  • Rita

    Noreen are you driving down with Alan and myself on Friday?

    1 · June 19, 2013

    • Noreen

      Yes, I'm driving down on Friday.

      June 19, 2013

  • Amy

    Hi All,

    Amy (Santa Rosa) my phone number is[masked] and I will arrive Saturday morning and can stay til Tuesday but leaving Monday would also be agreeable.

    Alan: I will meet you all at the Forest Service lot by camp site #10 at 9:30 am. I don't see a parking area near Camp site #10 on the Reserve America map but will have faith it is there! Please clarify if this is inaccurate.

    Noreen: Will you be departing Monday?

    Mark & Alan - how long are you staying?

    Looking forward to this and some much needed R&R. My son isn't coming - just me.

    Thanks Santa Rosa Amy

    June 19, 2013

    • Noreen

      Yes, I'm aiming for a leisurely hike out on Monday. Looking forward to meeting you.

      June 19, 2013

  • Rita

    My cell is[masked]

    June 17, 2013

  • Alan W

    Basically, as long as I know when and where everyone is showing up, and who is showing up, we can work it out from there pretty much.

    FYI, my cell is[masked]-7220. If at least one or two of the Pfeiffer campers could send me their cell numbers that would be great (in case something happens on the way there).

    June 17, 2013

    • Noreen

      Cell 650/208-0356. Friday sometime late afternoon.

      June 17, 2013

  • Scott A.

    My cell is[masked]
    See you Saturday around 8:30

    June 17, 2013

  • Alan W

    So, Scott and San Francisco Amy are hiking out Sunday. Are both of you planning to go to Sykes? I want to be sure that no one is hiking alone if possible.

    Also, a few more packing tips. Hiking in lightweight pants, rather than shorts, is recommended since there is some poison oak along the trail. I have never gotten it, but friends have. Also, bring about 20 feet of light cord to hang your food. There are raccoons and other small critters. Don't forget a towel.

    I checked and we can have up to three cars at Pfeiffer State Park, and the second and third need to pay (not clear how much). Any beyond that we will need to shuttle up to the Forest Service lot. I have campsite 014 in the South Loop. I plan to get there by about 3 pm Friday.

    Those meeting us at Pfeiffer please do so by 9:30 on Saturday, when we are going to decamp and go to the Forest Service lot, on the trail by 10. I have a white Econoline camper van with a white roofrack that is easy to spot.

    June 16, 2013

    • Alan W

      Just be sure to update your RSVP if you decide not to come so that we know whether to be watching for you.

      June 17, 2013

    • Noreen

      I have another plan also -- I wouldn't mind hiking out Monday...

      June 17, 2013

  • Amy

    Alan- I will come on Saturday morning and depart Sunday after the hot springs. Is there room that I can bring my son? He has packed with me before. Amy Santa Rosa

    June 16, 2013

    • Alan W

      Sure. There is no limit on the hiking, just the state park camping. Where should we expect to see you Saturday AM?

      June 16, 2013

  • Noreen

    Rita and Hilary -- looks like we are on the arrive Friday, depart Tuesday schedule. I have a Kia Soul which has held 3 people and 3 packs to the east side of Sierra Nevada and don't mind driving. People can park on the street in front of my house in residential Belmont or we can meet at the Park and Ride off 101 at Whipple exit in Redwood City or the one at Ralston/92. I'm thinking departure around 1 p.m. on Friday but am flexible. Let me know. Thanks for getting the campsite, Alan.

    June 16, 2013

    • Alan W

      I think that it is actually Hilary and Santa Rosa Amy that are on the same schedule as you. I believe that Rita plans to camp Tuesday at Kirk Creek.

      June 16, 2013

  • Scott A.

    Planning on driving from Foster City early Saturday morning. Will meet you at the campsite. Leaning towards returning Sunday after the Hot Springs.

    June 15, 2013

  • Alan W

    Sounds like, so far at least, Rita, Noreen and Hillary will be camping at Pfeiffer on Friday. There is room for everyone in terms of people, but we may need to shuttle some cars.

    June 15, 2013

  • Rita

    I am interested in staying both Friday and Tuesday if there is room available.

    June 15, 2013

    • Alan W

      So, to answer your question specifically, there will be room for you on both ends.

      June 15, 2013

  • Alan W

    My state park permits allow 8 people, but only 2 cars. At Pfeiffer at least there are other options for parking (such as the Forest Service parking lot where we will be leaving the vehicles while we are backpacking). When I get an accurate count I will check it out further.

    June 15, 2013

  • Alan W

    Just looked at ReserveAmerica.com and campsite 8 at Pfeiffer is currently available Tuesday the 25th for anyone interested.

    June 15, 2013

  • Alan W

    Update (continued). Carpools need to be arranged directly, either through posting on this page or via emails.

    Fire restrictions are currently in effect, so it is "stoves only." Answering Rita's question, when I reserved the campsites a few weeks back, the two sites (on Friday and Tuesday) were the only ones available for months in either direction. Kirk Creek does have a number of "first-come first-served" sites. Being there Tuesday night might help, but I have no idea what the odds are of being able to stay on.

    There are limits on my two state park campsites (both in terms of the number of cars and number of people) so let me know (by posting here) whether you would like to camp on Friday and/or Tuesday. On Friday night, I am in campsite 014 in the South Camp loop at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Check-in is at 2:00 pm and I plan to be there about then. My plan is to leave Pfeiffer and go to the Forest Service parking lot at 9:30, hitting the trail at 10 sharp.

    June 14, 2013

    • Noreen

      My preference is to leave Friday mid-day and then return Tuesday after hiking out. I might just have to drive by myself. Or, perhaps bring someone along and have them return with the Wednesday returners?

      June 14, 2013

  • Alan W

    There have been a couple of requests for suggestions about food. My own approach is to maximize the "calorie density" of what I bring and minimize the cooking involved. About 100 calories per ounce is pretty much my minimum. For me, about 1 1/2 pounds "dry weight" per day at[masked] calories per ounce is what I actually eat. It is important to match both the total amount and the portions at each meal with what you are actually going to eat. On this trip, I am bringing about 5 ounces of granola for each day along with some powdered milk for breakfast. For caffeine, I bring Starbucks instant coffee.

    Mid-day will be various snacks, totaling about a pound per day. High calorie-dense and tasty things like gourmet potato chips, bacon jerky, gorp, nuts, power bars, etc.

    My dinners are Backpackers Pantry freeze dried that are about 6-7 ounces dry weight each. They require boiling water only and no simmer time.

    I also will bring 2 or 3 Ramen packets, which can work at any meal.

    June 14, 2013

  • Alan W

    So, here is the first update (there will likely be more this weekend). The weather report looks good so far, but it is hard to tell more than a week out. Highs in the 70s and lows in the low 50s currently forecast. No rain expected, but stay tuned.

    Answering Hillary's question, the trip is "individual commisary" so everyone is basically responsible for their own food. There may of course be some sharing around, but everyone needs to be self sufficient. There are now at least four people planning to stay to Tuesday. There are also at least four that appear to be only available for the weekend, several of which want to make it to Sykes and the hot springs. Given all this, my plan is still to go to Barlow Flats on Saturday, Sykes on Sunday, layover at Sykes on Monday, and hike out Tuesday. A subgroup of the weekend-only folks could continue on to Sykes on Saturday, and hike out on Sunday. Post your current intentions here. I mainly do not want anyone to be hiking alone.

    June 14, 2013

  • Rita

    I will be on the Bay Area Backpackers tour but plan on staying longer in the area. Is there a wait list for Kirkcreek?

    June 12, 2013

  • Alan W

    We still have nearly two weeks, and my experience is that lots of plans change at the last minute, so let's see who else signs up and what they are interested in, who is actually coming, and then firm up a final plan. I agree that the hot springs are not to be missed.

    June 9, 2013

  • Amy

    I can do either but I would definitely want to do the hot springs!! Coming from Santa Rosa so am happy to drive and pick up Bay Area peps along the way...

    June 9, 2013

  • Scott A.

    Would love to join you! Sounds great!

    June 9, 2013

  • Noreen

    I can stay through the morning of Tuesday, June 25 but am fine with doing what a majority of people need to do, especially if it means being able to carpool with at least someone else.

    June 9, 2013

  • Alan W

    So here is where things stand right now. We have six signed up, all but two of which (myself and one Amy) can only spend the weekend. We also have one less experienced backpacker, which is fine, but needs to be considered.

    My suggestion would be to camp at Barlow Flats (a little over 6 miles in) on Saturday night. Those needing to return Sunday could do so as a group and those able to stay longer could go on to Sykes on Sunday. Sykes is somewhere between 10 and 11 miles in, and the hot springs are another several hundred yards of cross country along the streambed, so it is pretty far to do as a two day trip, particularly under "boomer" standards. Another option for the Sunday-returners would be to day hike to the Sykes hot springs Sunday morning and pack out Sunday afternoon. That would make for a pretty long day, but it would avoid missing the hot springs.

    Let me know what you all think.

    June 9, 2013

  • Amy

    I live in San Francisco, and will need to be home Sunday night. I am open to carpooling on Friday, if one or more of you need to return on Sunday. Otherwise, I am looking into options for staying in Big Sur on Thursday night and meet you on Friday. Amy

    June 1, 2013

  • Noreen

    Sounds good. I can leave anytime Friday but will probably not stay over on June 25.

    June 1, 2013

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