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Rcluster - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2009

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Ron & Julie "Snowplow & Rubber Legs" Cluster
City: Eugene
State: OR
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 12, 2009
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sat, Aug 15th, 2009
Start: 1 mile north of Benson Lake trail, CA
End: Near Matterhorn Canyon Trail Jct, CA - 8460 ft
Daily Distance: 11
Trip Distance: 778.0
Hours Hiked: 6.25
Daily Ascent: 3203
Daily Descent: 3276
Min Elevation: 7615
Max Elevation: 10154
Entry Lat: 38.00668
Entry Lng: -119.4229
Min Temp: 37
Max Temp: 75
People Met: 7

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 667
Journal Visits: 94,664
Guestbook Views: 34,232
Guestbook Entrys: 123

Gear list Journal Plan Training

Pacific Crest Trail Map

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Crossing a stream

Benson Pass

We got started at 8:00am and had about 1 mile of downhill to get warmed up on before we started into the 2600 foot climb up to Benson Pass. The first 3 miles of the climb are tough because of the steepness and the rocky trail. The surroundings are beautiful, huge granite mountainsides with sheer cliffs, very large conifers to offer some shade. We do notice and appreciate the beauty we are hiking through but the climb is taxing us both to the limit. Our legs are tiring already and, approaching 9000 feet, Julie needs to use the inhaler again. We slow down and take lots of short rest breaks to keep her breathing under control.

Just before 1:00pm, at 4.4 miles into the climb, we come to Smedberg Lake at 9250 feet. It is a gorgeous mountain lake surrounded by tall, stark white granite ridges. We decide this is a good place to stop and rest before the final push to the top of the pass. We eat a small lunch, filter water and then just sit in the sun for a little while and rest. After a half hour or so we decide that we had better get moving because we still have about 7 miles to go before we reach our camp area.

Benson Pass, at 10150 feet is not generally considered a difficult pass, nor is it a particularly high one. Even so, with our knee troubles and Julie's altitude issue, we had to take it very slow. The trail was pretty good for these final 2 miles and we reached the top at 3:30pm. We stopped at the top for about 15 minutes to enjoy the view, eat a snack and let our breathing return to normal.

Dropping down the other side, the trail was very good and we made better time. Our knees bothered us some, but not as much as yesterday. That second dose of Excedrin must have helped some, but we can't do that every day. We dropped down to 8460 feet in about 4.5 miles and found a really good campsite down in the bottom of the canyon at 6:45pm. Tomorrow we climb to about 9700 feet, descend back down, climb to about 9100 feet and then descend back down again. That's in about 10 miles so it should actually be easier than today. That will leave about 10 miles left to Tuolomne Meadows where we will figure out the details of getting home.

Animal sitings: Squirrels, hummingbird.

Entry 110 of 118
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Journal Photo

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:


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