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City: Rancho Palos Verdes
Begins: May 9, 2009
Date: Sat, Aug 1st, 2009
Start: Boundary of Castle Crags State Park
End: Upper Deadfall Lake
Daily Distance: 22
Trip Distance: 1,541.0
Entry Visits: 632
Journal Visits: 132,524
Guestbook Views: 13,620
Guestbook Entrys: 182
After a late night it was not a very auspicious start to the day. My Blackberry speaker has died so my primary alarm clock is not operational. My watch isn't loud enough to wake me and the net result of all this was I didn't wake up until just before 7:00 am. I got breakfast and packed up as quickly as possible and my first priority was to find water since I was now completely out. The spring was just flowing and I found it from the sound of the water trickling. But it required some bushwacking to locate the flow because it was dry at the trail. I am not sure I could have found this last night in the dark so my decision to stop when I did was very prudent especially as the next campsite was several more trail miles.
I had to use my bowl to scoop the water out of a small, shallow pool. I was feeling thirsty so I downed a liter on the spot and loaded up with four more. The next on-trail water was over 14 miles away so this was about the least I think I needed but I didn't want to add another liter because the pack weight was getting on the high side with all water and six days of food.
The trail went along a south facing ridge with very little tree cover. It was hot in the direct sun but with the extra altitude and it cooling off a bit from previous days it wasn't too uncomfortable. The open ridge did provide lots of great views of Castle Crag but this time its north side. I have essentially now walked around both Mt Shasta and Castle Crag. At the end of the ridge was another spectacular rock called Boulder Peak with Echo Lake nestled at its base. Then I reached a saddle that was the Trinity Divide. Prior to this, all the creeks end up in the Sacramento River and beyond the divide they now all flow into the Trinity River.
After lunch the trail was a gentle, mostly forested, hike to the next water spring. On the way, four mountain bikers came the other way and I, like the hikers in front of me, chastised them for being on the PCT illegally. But I think they were politely ignoring me as they had all the other people that had told them off.
I was out of water again when I reached the spring. It was right next to the trail and the water was literally coming out of the hillside. There was no sign of water on the surface just above the spring. And it was beautiful cold and clean water. I loaded up with enough for the rest of the afternoon and I also picked out Upper Deadfall Lake as my campsite for the night. No more night hiking if I can avoid it.
The trail went around a large almost circular ridge with Toad Lake at its base. This was a very nice setting with Mt Shasta in the background. It then went along an east facing ridge and I could see there was a community down in the valley which I have to assume was Mt Shasta City. I tried the cell phone and it had a reasonable signal to call home. I also received two guestbook messages one of which corrected me on my rather flippant comment about forestry management. Apparently man has been managing the forest since the ice age so the tree thinning that was going on is nothing new. In fact, a few days later I went through a section of forest that had been thinned out several years ago. The big ruts from the logging equipment were barely noticeable and the forest was light and the trees looked very healthy. So I would have to conclude it is working, although the cost and time to cover the millions of acres a gargantuan task. It surely is a better approach, however, than the clear cutting of areas that leave such ugly scars on the hillsides.
I then climbed to a saddle at 7620 ft which contrasts with the 2130 ft where I started at Interstate 5 just 24 hours earlier. I will not get any higher than this for the rest of California.
I reached Upper Deadfall Lake expecting a nice peaceful alpine lake to myself only to find it was packed and almost all the campsites filled. It turns out that this particular lake is only a couple of miles from a road and is a popular weekend camping and fishing spot. I started chatting to one group and saw a flat spot near their campsite and I asked if they wouldn't mind me setting down there. They were very interested in what I was doing so they were happy to have me as a close neighbor.
I haven't said much recently about the weather because every day has been a beautiful blue cloudless sky. I haven't put up the rain fly for probably a month now and I didn't even think about doing so tonight. As I got into bed there was lightning out to the west but since there was no thunder I assumed, as I had done several other times, that it was a distant localized mountain thunderstorm that wouldn't come close. So much for that theory. Less than hour later it's become extremely windy, the lightning now has thunder with it and then I hear and feel rain spots. So I jumped out of the sleeping bag and put the rain fly up as quickly as I could. And good job I did because it showered on and off for much of the night. I think this is the first overnight rain I have experienced on this trip.
Mad Dogs & Englishmen
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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