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Jo - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2008

Entry 118 of 174
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State: California
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 1, 2008
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Mon, Sep 4th, 2006
Start: Gunboot Lake
End: Deadfall Lakes
Daily Distance: 11
Trip Distance: 1,800.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 324
Journal Visits: 69,243
Guestbook Views: 3,645
Guestbook Entrys: 9

Pacific Crest Trail Map

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Gunboot Lake to Deadfall Lakes

It was 54 degrees in the morning and our clothes were bone dry. We were on the trail at 6:30 a.m., a bit of a slow start. We had to climb out of the bowl of the lake and Cody was moving slowly on his tender feet. We were very concerned about him.

In our four days out, I noticed that the butterflies had greatly diminished in number since our trip three weeks earlier. Up until our climb out of Castle Crags, I had seen only the a few butterflies, California Sisters. Then leaving the low lands yesterday, I started seeing the orange butterflies with black markings on their wings, some kind of tortoise shell I think. I saw more of at least two kinds of brown butterflies, one a Dusky Wing and the other too ethereal for me to get a good look at. We also saw small yellow butterflies.

We saw more of the odd looking Pitcher Plants, we first saw the day before. They grew by the streams we passed. Apparently, these bug-catching plants thrive in soil where the ancient ultramafic rocks abound. They looked tropical in this decidedly un-tropical place.

We arrived at Upper Deadfall Lake in time for lunch. It was beautiful there. There was a breeze blowing quite strongly. It wasn’t cold but it discouraged us from swimming. At this point, Kerry and I were feeling very anxious about whether Cody would be able to go on. A great strong dog, having his paws damaged is nothing short of disaster for him, and us. We could only hope that rest and paw wax would do its job.

The lake was beautiful and so was the day—it was Labor Day and people came and went, on horses, on foot, children in carriers. I sat with my butt on a piece of sun-warmed granite in the lake. My feet were in the water, which lapped gently against my ankles. I couldn’t think of a better place to be. Looking up, I could see that snow still kissed the mountains in two small places.

Kerry was disappointed that we had to stop. I decided not to fight the inevitable. We couldn’t go on now and we might not be able to go on tomorrow, so I enjoyed the sun and rest in this time, now, and postponed thinking about the “ifs.” We wiled away the day, sleeping, reading, observing and resting some more. Toward evening, people started to leave. The sun sunk beneath the mountain and the cool wind felt more chill. Two young women came in about 5 p.m. They were carrying packs and had three dogs. They told us they had come down from Oregon to hike in the Russians, which they found full of smoke and closed due to fire, so then they tried the Marble Mountains only to find the same conditions. This was of some concern to us since this was direction we were headed. They were looking for a group of friends who had promised to meet them here. We told them we hadn’t seen them but a little later they did meet up and the group camped at another spot around the lake.

Still later, Snap came by. The same Snap that Snow Cat and Frank had said to say, “Hi” to three nights back. We must have passed him at Castella where he went in for resupply. We learned that he had already hiked Oregon and Washington and that his hike would end at Ashland. His real name was Frank and he came from San Diego.

We ate our dinner and Kerry read another chapter from Desert Solitaire. Unbelievably, the story was about Abbey interacting with the tourists on Labor Day. I thought about how odd it was that the book continued to read like an echo of our hikes. Perhaps, this was not the way to look at it but rather that we should not be surprised that Abbey’s experience was not so different from ours, he wrote about his life in the wilderness and that is where we are.

The wind blew confidently and I fell asleep surprisingly easily, trying not to worry about tomorrow and the fate of our journey.

Entry 118 of 174
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Journal Photo

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:


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