PCT: Day 59

PCT to Vasquez Rocks

Miles today: 16.8

Trail miles: 452.9

Elevation: 2482

Spinning on the turntable: The Cranberries: Stars

PCT to Vasquez Rocks

Sunny valley

The morning started with clear skies and sunshine. It was a nice change from yesterday! I ditched my jacket and pants within a half hour of starting to hike and broke out the sunglasses.

The day should really be called Poodle Dog bush avoidance. “Poodle-Dog Bush, Eriodictyon parryi, is common in parts of Southern California. Touching it can cause a significant allergic reaction.

PCT to Vasquez Rocks

Poodledog bush

It was everywhere!

This is two or three bushes growing into the trail. In many locations the hikers are rerouting around the bush and off the trail. We met someone who had a severe allergic reaction to it last year and it ended their thru hike attempt. Get this-they believe they got it from a dog who had been in the Poodle Dog bush and then rubbed up against their legs. I’m now paranoid of both the Poodle dog bush and unleashed dogs.

The views were spectacular. Hiking early this morning was a reminder of why I enjoy backpacking so much.

PCT to Vasquez Rocks

Hills in the distance

I did find that my pace slowed considerably today when I had clear skies and a pleasant temperature. Lots of time to take pictures!

PCT to Vasquez Rocks

Beauty in the mountains

I was excited to arrive at the I-14 underpass late in the afternoon. The pass allows hikers to go underneath the freeway (6 or 8 lanes of traffic).

PCT to Vasquez Rocks

I14 Underpass

I had no idea what to expect. Water cache? Beer? Snacks?

PCT to Vasquez Rocks

Tunnel under the highway

It was just a very long dark tunnel with no goodies on either end.

PCT to Vasquez Rocks

Thru the tunnel!

PCT to Vasquez Rocks

Vasquez Rocks

…but…coming out of the tunnel and resuming the hike was amazing! I think there was a mile or two of towering red rock structures.

It was spectacular! Vasquez Rocks was the name I believe. Using the Guthook App on my phone, which often highlights rusting pipes, left me shocked that this section wasn’t mentioned. I was sad that Noelle wasn’t there to see it too.

PCT to Vasquez Rocks

Heading into the rocks


  1. Drew Smith

    Check out some pictures of poodledog bush, wikipedia has some good ones. I don’t think that the plant you are picturing is poodledog.
    Poodledog is a fire follower, common in several parts of the Angeles national forest. Generally it grows above 4000ft.
    Look out for caterpillar phacelia too. I waded through lots of these beautiful flowers last Friday and now have a terrible itchy rash.

    • mcgarveysan

      We’ve had a difficult time actually knowing which plants are PDB. Several people have told us it’s this one, even while the official pictures we’ve seen show spikier leaves. We’re opting to touch as few plants with purple flowers and/or spiky leaves as possible! 🤣🤣🤣

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