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Mrolph - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2008

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Martin "Lei Low" Rolph
City: Cameron Park
State: CA
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 12, 2008
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sat, Jun 7th, 2008
Start: Piute Creek
End: Lake Edison
Daily Distance: 22.8
Trip Distance: 880.5
Entry Lat: 37.376194
Entry Lng: -119.012302

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,375
Journal Visits: 184,857
Guestbook Views: 5,677
Guestbook Entrys: 35

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Pacific Crest Trail Map

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Heart Lake below Selden Pass

A Wet Boat Ride and BBQ Night at Vermillion Valley Resort

Mmmm! Nice and cozy with a full belly at Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR). More on that later. Because I had a long way to go and a deadline (4:45PM), I left camp really early (4:50AM), with just barely enough light to see the trail. The first order of business was a 3,000-foot climb up to Selden Pass. I'm glad I started early... the frosty temperatures kept me going up the endless switchbacks across open slopes. The views down the San Joaquin River were impressive. The river was a large, white streak of cascades with a roar that I could hear thousands of feet above.

Eventually the trail reached Sally Keyes Lakes at about the 10,000-foot elevation. The lakes were surrounded by snow patches, but the water was ice-free. There were many trout rising and cruising along the shore. I met four backpackers from Fresno camped near the first lake. These were the first people I'd seen in three full days. After a short chat, I continued up the trail past the still-frozen Heart Lake. The final scramble up to Selden Pass was partially covered in snow, but it was by far the easiest pass so far.

Since time was an issue, I only took a short break on top before starting down the much snowier north side. The snow was soft but solid and completely covered everything for about a mile and a half. The large timberline Marie Lake was mostly frozen, but still scenic. Since I couldn't follow the trail, I headed more or less down the hill, hoping to cut the trail where it crossed Rosemarie Meadow. With just a minor bit of bushwhacking, I found the trail and managed to stay on it (more or less) down to the crossing at Bear Creek.

Bear Creek is another infamous ford, but the conditions proved similar to Evolution Creek ... knee-deep water flowing fairly fast, but manageable with hiking poles and careful steps. The trail continued down Bear Creek, passing several nice meadows and many cascades over granite slabs.

The final nasty, steep, switchbacking climb put me on top of Bear Ridge above Mono Creek. There's an epic set of endless switchbacks down from the ridge to the valley bottom. I didn't stop or take any breaks to make sure I was at the lake by 4:45PM for the ferry.

At the bottom of the switchbacks I found the mosquitoes out in full force at 8,000 feet. That was all the more incentive to hustle down the trail. The ferry picks up about 1.5 miles off the PCT on the shore of Lake Edison. When I got there, there was a sign indicating that regular service had not started yet, but if you call on a cell phone, they'll send a boat. I was shocked that cell phones worked in such a remote spot, but mine did. I called and they said a boat was already on its way to pick up two day-hikers.

I met the hikers at the lake - a nice couple from Burlingame (California). Soon we were on a very wet ride (small boat going into the waves) across the lake to VVR. The lake was very low compared to the last time I was here (2001). We had to dock about a half-mile away and transfer to a truck.

Inside the resort, I met the owner, Jim, who just about rolled out the red carpet for my arrival. I was the 2nd PCT thru-hiker of the season. Jim said another PCTer had just called and was on his way across the lake. It is a long-standing tradition at VVR that thru-hikers get a free beer and the first night in the tent cabin free. But today, the tent cabins had not yet been set up. So Jim put us (the other PCTer and me) up in one of the four motel rooms, complete with shower, heat, and a flush toilet.

I took advantage of the shower, then went to dinner. Saturday night is BBQ night: tri-tip, chicken, ribs, and sausage. I had a combo plate and finished it with apple pie and ice cream. Yum! During dinner, the other PCTer arrived and introduced himself. Mike "Showoff" is from Long Beach but currently fishes for salmon in Alaska for a living (when he's not hiking). He's an interesting and energetic guy. Mike is doing 30-mile days, so I probably won't see him up the trail.

So now I'm full and toasty warm and mostly clean (my clothes still stink). I've got a soft bed with sheets and real pillows. So... goodnight all,

Martin "Lei Low"



Entry 61 of 134
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Journal Photo

Tales From The Crest

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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