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Ron & Julie "Snowplow & Rubber Legs" Cluster
Begins: Apr 12, 2009
Date: Wed, Aug 5th, 2009
Start: Showers Lake, CA
End: Lost Lake, CA - 8449 ft
Daily Distance: 13
Trip Distance: 670.1
Hours Hiked: 6.25
Daily Ascent: 4072
Daily Descent: 4100
Min Elevation: 8294
Max Elevation: 9059
Entry Lat: 38.64718
Entry Lng: -119.95178
Min Temp: 54
Max Temp: 65
People Met: 78
Entry Visits: 549
Journal Visits: 94,730
Guestbook Views: 34,232
Guestbook Entrys: 123
Carson Pass - Hwy 88
The winds never did calm down overnight, and we learned later that they were a sustained speed of 40 mph throughout the area, with higher gusts. The logs and rocks that we stacked around the bottom of our tent did little to stop the dust from blowing in. We put on our fleece balaclavas, not because we were cold but to keep some of the dirt out of our ears and hair. When we got up this morning everything inside the tent was covered with a layer of brown dirt. We shook things off as best we could and got packed up to go.
We were on the trail at 8:00am. We originally were planning on filtering water from Showers Lake before we left but decided to get moving and hopefully find a nicer source out of the wind. An hour later we came out into a huge wildflower filled meadow and the Upper Truckee River. More like a medium size stream this time of year, but it was running clear and cool and the wind was calm. We sat on a small gravel bar, filtered our water and watched the hummingbirds checking out all the wildflowers.
We then had a long but not too steep climb up out of the valley, over a ridge and down a couple of miles to Carson Pass on Hwy 88. The wind is blowing hard again as we climb up out of the valley and up the ridge. The higher we go, the harder the wind gusts are. When the wind is blowing that hard, it pushes the brim of our hats down in front of our faces. Quite often we are watching the trail with only one eye. Several times a gust pushed us sideways off the trail. I felt like a one eyed man on a pogo stick in a hurricane.
We pass a trail crew and I ask them if there is any cell reception down at the highway. They say no but you can get spotty reception up on the ridge before you start dropping down. I am having trouble again with our HyperFlow water filter, same symptoms that I had down in the desert earlier in our hike. I do get ok reception just past the top of the ridge so I call MSR. They listen to the issue, and I explain our current activity, and once again their customer service folks come through. He will send me a new cartridge as well as a "silt stopper" (something I have not tried before) and will send it UPS 2nd day so it will arrive at our next resupply point the day before we do. Fantastic company! The filter I have is still ok to use, but is only producing a small trickle of water instead of the full amount, so it takes a lot longer to filter water than normal. I do have chlorine dioxide tablets to use if the filter completely fails.
Arriving at Carson Pass a little after noon, we find they have a small information center staffed by volunteers. They are very friendly and when they find out we are hiking the PCT, they offer to provide water for us if we need any. One of the volunteers brings in fresh fruit everyday for the PCT hikers so we get a handful of seedless green grapes. Yum! We also meet USFS Ranger Tom who is very friendly and is working on section hiking the PCT. He has hiked about 1700 miles of the AT as well.
We take a long rest and enjoy talking to the volunteers. We also meet Pat who is up here for the day to hike in and see the wildflowers. She says that her son is interested in hiking the PCT so we give her our journal address and a few websites to check out. She provides a couple of cold apples for us which tasted fantastic. Thanks Pat, it was nice to meet you.
We do eventually get on the trail again and after a short climb, we have gained enough elevation that we are back in the wind. We are now heading up to a rock formation called the Elephants Back. The trail crosses over a ridge and then starts downhill, if you are going southbound as we are. The hillside is steep and rocky but all the snow has melted so we don't have any real difficulty getting down. Northbounders often have trouble here because they are often going through this area before the snow has melted and it is very steep.
The wind is still blowing hard and we struggle to maintain our footing. One final long climb to over 9000 feet and then a short drop brings us to Lost Lakes at about 7:30pm. Glen is already here and we agree to camp together. Glen is a very nice guy and we enjoy his conversation. About an hour of daylight left so we get busy and get the tent set up, eat dinner, get our food ready for tomorrow and then put all the food in the bear canisters and set them out away from the tent under a small tree.
The wind is still blowing hard but we are sheltered in a forest tonight so hopefully we won't have a repeat of the dirt storm like we had last night.
Animal sitings: Squirrels, marmots, hummingbirds.
Ron & Julie On The PCT - 2009
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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