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Begins: Apr 1, 2008
Date: Sun, Sep 5th, 2004
Start: Five Lakes
End: Donner Pass
Daily Distance: 20.6
Trip Distance: 739.5
Entry Visits: 402
Journal Visits: 73,901
Guestbook Views: 3,717
Guestbook Entrys: 9
Near Five Lakes to Donner Pass (interstate 80)
Again, it was warmer on this final morning and as the day advanced it would become hot as we expected it to at this time of year. We left at 8 a.m. again and wound our way down the valley and up over a ridge toward Granite Chief Peak. As we ascended we walked through our first valley/field of dying mule ears. Their once green lushness had gone; the mule ears were dry and bleached white from the sun and rustled in the late summer breeze creating an impression of water in a creek. This was undoubtedly enhanced by our desire to find water, but even dry and hot, we felt cooler in its presence. We passed through several hillsides covered in this unlikely sea and although the flowers were gone the air was still full of their smells—sagey and peppery and rich.
We walked down toward the turn off to Squaw Valley and met many day hikers out on this beautiful Sunday before Labor Day. We walked down toward the now dry Miller Creek and began the final biggest ascent toward Tinker Knob at 8949 feet. Beyond Tinker Knob, where we enjoyed panoramic views, we again hugged the crest around Mt. Anderson and down toward Mt. Judah and old highway 40. It was just below Tinker Knob that we walked on the shale common to the paths near many granitic-volcanic mountains. It is hard to walk on, especially in light shoes because you feel everything through the shoe soles and your ankles can twist if you miss your footing. But the sound of your feet on the shale is like the sound of a stick on a xylophone. As you walk across the flat rocks they click together to the rhythm of your feet, creating a personal tune for the walker.
Toward the end of this section of the hike, I became quite tired. I wondered if it was the food factor. I am always surprised at how much more energy I have some times than at others.
By five or six p.m. we crossed old Highway 40 and entered the final and most interesting four miles of the hike. Immediately after crossing the road, the terrain changed into granitic boulders dotted with pines, reminiscent of Yosemite. It was very peaceful and stunning, and a great way to end our walk.
One glitch that we should be used to by now is the difficulty in finding the trailhead at the end of a hike. The instructions in the guidebook are frequently confusing and unclear as are the signposts on the trail. As with the leg which ended at Echo Lake, we walked an extra three miles trying to figure out the way to our car. I suppose this is a small price to pay for the experience and perhaps we’ll get better at deciphering the signs! We hiked 490 miles this season, we may be able to go one more time. That thought will keep me going until next time!
Confessions Of A Serial Hiker
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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