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Brian "Gadget" Lewis
Begins: Apr 27, 2008
Date: Wed, Jun 4th, 2008
Start: Mile 673.2, Ridge between Spanish Needle Group and Lamont Peak
End: Mile 694.0, First Creek after Rockhouse Basin
Daily Distance: 20.8
Trip Distance: 714.8
Entry Visits: 630
Journal Visits: 153,389
Guestbook Views: 84,278
Guestbook Entrys: 155
Pacific Crest Trail Map
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Remains of a fire
Woke up this morning to clouds overhead, high clouds in general, and lower cloud on the high point we were soon headed to. I elected to wear --- almost certainly for the last time --- my trash bag wind shirt (wind smock?). It doesn't breathe of course, which means it gets damp inside, but it cuts the wind nicely. And what finer atire for hiker trash than an actual trash bag?
So we walked into the cloud and then down and life was pretty good. Stopped at Fox Mill Spring where we modestly tanked up, and I cameled up (the former is loading water into water containers, the latter is drinking as much as you can on the spot).
Then we began the latter part of our climb for the day, and I found J.B. stopped about 400' below the high point, so we had lunch there.
All well and good, but when we resumed our hike uphill, the wind was at times beyond just "fierce" and bordering on the ridiculous. With some of the stronger gusts I didn't try to make forward progress, just bracing and holding my ground was a victory.
About this time we had started hiking in a burned area; this fire was in 2000 and was pretty hot and extensive, and includes about 14 miles of the PCT. About all that's in this zone is dead blackened trees and various grasses and bushes that have since colonized.
Shortly after I began my descent from the day's high point (8020'), I heard a sharp "crack" maybe 15 or 20 feet away, a large branch I believe of one of the many dead trees. I didn't pause to investigate, but I did find that I can run pretty fast despite wind and backpack when the need is there.
Not long after, a complete tree blew down and fell over about 100' in front of me, right next to the trail. In fact, we saw a lot of blowdowns in this area, and at least a few others are from today, as older blowdowns will have an ad hoc trail around them.
When we got to our destination, it was still windy. As I'm cowboy camping, the problem with the wind is as it blows across my face I get randomly chilled and it wakes me or keeps me from sleeping --- something I'm getting a bit tired of (and from). I have a balaclava that can cover my nose but it's not pleasant to sleep in that way. So I noticed some large rocks nearby and based on the prevailing wind, J.B. And I set up camp in the lee of these. Then the wind shifted, and in fact, it seems a pretty shifty wind in general; we wandered all around these rocks, I got a campsite that's well blocked on two sides, but the wind periodically howls through anyway. Such is my lot, I suppose. Hopefully when I pick up my tent tomorrow it will allow me to block the wind from my body, supposing that I'm able to stake out the tent to that it can sustain the wind. I hope it's less windy in the Sierras proper!