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  • Writer's pictureDale Hill

TCT Day 2: Black Jack to Little Harbor

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

After much climbing yesterday, today promises to be mostly downhill after lunch at the Catalina Airport in the Sky.

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I encourage you to follow my journey as it unfolded, enjoying the articles chronologically; however, for ease, these links allow you to jump between specific days. All links open in a new window so you won't lose your location.

TCT Day 2 Statistics

Date: January 23, 2023

Distance: 8.40 Miles

Total Elapsed Time: 6h 58m

Total Moving Time: 4h 27m

Highest Elevation: 1,657 Feet

Elevation Gain: 715 Feet

Trailhead: Black Jack Campground

Good Morning From Black Jack Campground

I awoke after sunrise, feeling refreshed and having had a much better night's sleep. The only noises I heard during the night were the strong winds, but my tent location was well protected, and I quickly fell back to sleep. After my standard trail breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, I began my morning routine of breaking camp. I expected today to be an easy day, beginning with a two-mile hike to the airport for lunch, then it was all downhill to Little Harbor.

Looking around the campground, I saw most of the hikers were already gone, the last few leaving as I packed my gear. I wasn't in a rush as I wanted to time my arrival at the airport for an early lunch stop. The trail went downhill for a mile, and then it was a mile climb up to the airport. I left the campground at 9:30 a.m. under sunny and clear skies and arrived at the airport restaurant at 11:00 a.m., dropping my pack on a picnic table on the back patio.

Two hikers I'd met earlier on the trail were there, and they had just received their food; it looked amazing! I ordered a bison burger and fries, got a few bottles of Gatorade and found an outlet to plug in my battery pack.

I grabbed my recovery kit and went to the flag pole in front of the restaurant to recover a survey mark. I have found that when survey marks are set in the bases of flag poles, there's a high probability that they will be intact and in good condition, and this was no exception.

U 993 (PID: DY2143)

Type of Marker: DB - Bench Mark Disc

Setting: 35 - Set in a mat foundation or concrete slab other than pavement

Stamping: U 993 1965

Monumented: 1965 by the US Coast and Geodetic Survey

I use talc power or liquid chalk to highlight the engraving on the discs; today, I spread a small amount of liquid chalk over the disc's surface, let it dry, then buffed the excess off with a Magic Eraser pad.

This was my only planned recovery for the day, so I returned my recovery kit to my pack and waited for my lunch. This was the first time I'd had a bison burger, which was delicious! I enjoyed talking with Kristin and Brenda over lunch while waiting for my battery pack to recharge. I also took advantage of free WiFi at the airport to make a few social media posts and send pictures to my family. I spent two and a half hours hanging out there, but I wasn't too concerned as the last six miles of today's hike were generally downhill to Little Harbor.

Back to Sea Level

There were a few small rollers as the trail headed to Little Harbor, but descending 1,500 feet over 6 miles made for an enjoyable afternoon trek. Since the trail wasn't technical, I took in the sights more; the views were spectacular. Looking back to the mainland, I could see the snow-capped peaks in the distance; I may have laughed out loud just a bit when thinking of my friends tackling those peaks with full-on mountaineering gear while I was sweating and soaking up the sun in mid 60'ish temperatures! 🤣

As I hiked toward camp, I couldn't help but be blown away by the vibrant colors, the quiet, and the beauty of my surroundings. 🥰

Little Harbor Campground

I arrived at the campground at 4:30 p.m. I had reserved site #10, one of the two spots closest to the beach. Seeing that Don and Donna were my neighbors again was a pleasant surprise! I found the bundle of firewood I'd preordered, and my first order of business was to get a fire going. I was a little bummed that they forgot to include the fire starter, but it was only a mild annoyance as I always carry fire starters as part of my essentials. With the fire going, I found an excellent place to pitch my tent, then made dinner.

Tonight was another new meal, Good To-Go's Mushroom Risotto; it was fantastic and quickly made it into my top three favorite pre-packaged trail meals. Once again, the views made the evening; the sunset was gorgeous, and I chilled by the fire until it burned down.

How can you NOT love this? ❤️  

Relive® 3D Video of Today's Section

Tomorrow will be Day 3, and I'll have a significant climb before returning to sea level and the village of Two Harbors.

I fell asleep to the sounds of a youth group camping nearby, playing an acoustic guitar and singing an eclectic selection of songs; kudos on their rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight. 😉

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