I woke up and drove back to Bottcher’s Gap to set out towards Pico Blanco. In truth, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to head to Pico Blanco (a mountain with lots of limestone) or Jackson camp, since both looked equally campsite-looking on the trail map.
I started out on the trail at almost exactly 7:30am (just after sunrise) and headed south towards Pico Blanco boy scout camp. Along the way, I encountered Little Sur river camp, which is where I made a costly mistake — the trail map was a bit confusing, and I hiked downhill about a mile, only to realize I had made a wrong turn and had to hike back uphill and continue where I left off. Lesson learned: study the trail map closely. My 7-mile planned hike today had already turned into a 9 mile hike. Oh well!
Hiked 3.5 miles out through ups and downs on a mountain road, roughly alongside Little Sur River (creek, really). Waded through and arrived at Pico Blanco boy scout camp. Encountered another group of hikers here, who gave me some stellar parking tips for next time (hint: it’s possible to pay boy scout camp fees and drive the portion I’d just walked — but where’s the fun in that?). This group helped me decide between Jackson and Pico Blanco; Just past Jackson camp was some spectacular Redwood scenery, but Pico Blanco would be sunnier and more remote. The next sign I saw had Jackson camp 1.5 miles away, and as it was only 10am, I of course decided to go to Pico Blanco instead.
The next 3 miles of the trip were roughly uphill, climbed to ~2000 feet, up Pico Blanco. Those day hikers lapped me, and provided an additional incentive: they told me about a beautiful remote waterfall and swimming hole near the Pico Blanco camp. Their dogs also recognized me this time! As I reached the highest point on my hike, it opened up from lush forest into a wide-open meadow on the side of Pico Blanco. There was a lot of limestone.
Hiked out Sunday.