PCT 2007 Day 91

Day 91 / 6-24-07 Tarp Tent
Asa Lake outlet creek – Carson Pass
35.5 miles; 1078.7 (48.4) total miles; 2968.7 trip miles
70’s sunny windy

Deer count is 62
Marmot count is 47
Pika count is 2
Bear count is 1

We all woke up and were on the trail by 6:05. The day started with a climb
up to a windy saddle. We descended to a sunny spot where we had breakfast.
We descended further through some sweet lava rock spires in these cool
canyons, before ascending to the junction of Noble Lake Trail.

We quickly came to Highway 4 near Ebbetts Pass. The road came out of nowhere
and I was confused when I saw a white SUV in the middle the woods. Silver
and Backtrack were waiting at the road. We chatted up a guy from Ohio who
was doing day hikes and taking pictures. He was on a five week trip. We left the road and hiked into a beautiful area. We hiked into a meadow with these beautiful lava mountains to our left and there were these huge boulders from the mountain side just laying in the meadow. They were cool because of how they were formed.

We passed many more creeks and crested Sagebrush Saddle where the wind was so strong. At one point we were all in a line and the wind blew so hard it knocked each one of us off the trail in unison. We all started laughing but Backtrack thought we were laughing at him until he turned and saw we too had been blown off trail and it made it even funnier.

Just down the trail we passed Thirsty Boot who was taking a break. We stopped not too far down the trail from him for lunch. During lunch Silver and I kept hearing a electronic beeping. Backtrack thought we were crazy. I thought it was coming from Silver and he thought it was coming from me. I thought another hiker lost a watch in the pines needles. We never found out what the sound was. Thirsty Boots went by, as did a southbound day hiker. We moved on and had to climb a useless knob and the junction of the Raymond Lake Trail. Then we went down some long switchbacks before climbing again to a “Conspicuous saddle” as the data book called it.

We went on and all of a sudden I saw smoke off to the northeast. It was clearly a forest fire from the amount of smoke in the air. We passed two ladies on horses but they were not sure if we went in that direction.

We passed the Pleasant Valley Trail and then left the Mokelumne Wilderness. We crossed a few dirt roads and then finally reached Blue Lakes Road, one of the few paved roads in the last few weeks. We snacked there since it was decided to do another 2.4 miles to dinner. I read the data book wrong and we actually had 1.4 on top of the 2.4 to reach our chosen dinner spot. We climbed up to a saddle southeast of The Nipple. I can say The Nipple looked just like its name. The wind though was once again blowing super hard. We had to keep climbing, which none of us were ready for, and I was getting super hungry so I was cranky. By the time we got to the top of the climb, the wind was so bad it almost blew me down to the ground.

We descended to Lost Lake spur road where we cooked dinner. Thirsty Boots came by once again. He was pushing on till 7:30 before stopping for the day. We knew at this point we only had about 1.6 miles to go to reach a 30 mile day. (This would be Silver and Backtracks first 30 ever).

We finished dinner and moved on. Shortly later, I had to stop to answer nature’s call. Silver said to me, “We won’t leave the trail!”. I finished my business and was off to catch up. Shortly I came to a snowfield where Silver’s foot prints went straight. I just barely noticed stones marking there was a switchback. I looked over my shoulder and sure enough there was the trail. I made the turn and guessed Silver and Backtrack just made the turn on the rocks after the snow. I then passed Summit City Canyon Trail and started the descent into the next valley. Near the bottom I saw Thirsty Boots who made a wrong turn. I asked if he’d seen the others and said they must have gone by him during his detour.

I left Thirsty Boots as he stopped for the night. I quickly left the valley and started to climb out of it. By this time I started to wonder if Silver actually did make the turn back at the snowfield. As I started the climb, I yelled for them and only spooked a deer. It was now dusk and telling what was a rock and what was human was getting tough. I couldn’t believe they were in front of me; but Silver said they wouldn’t leave the trail. So I climbed and climbed. Of course the wind grew as I climbed limiting my options to camp. I got to a snow field and more climbing I couldn’t see before. I decided I better look for a place to throw down for the night. There was nothing available so I pushed on. I got about 10 minutes up the trail and stopped to get out my maps since it was so dark now. I looked back to where I came and saw two lights. One was red and one white. I didn’t think any thing of it; I just thought one of them had one of the headlamps with the red lenses. I yelled my loudest; but with the wind, they couldn’t hear me. I started flashing my headlamp but they didn’t see me. Their lights went out of sight so I thought they found a windless spot.

I turned around and headed back down the slope to where I last saw them. I got all the way back to the first snowfield where I thought about camping and saw the red and lights again. But then I saw a second set of lights and realized I was looking at two cars descending the Blue Lakes Road which I passed back on the other side of the valley. I was so pissed off! I swore at the top of my lungs. I looked for a flat spot again and said screw it; I’m going back up. I made it back up to where I had stopped the first time. I built a cairn so if Silver and Backtrack were behind me they would know how far I backtracked. I made it to a sign saying I was entering the Carson Wilderness. I thought about camping in a few spots but knew I was only 1.1 miles from Carson Pass and I knew the others, if they were in front of me, wouldn’t go any further than the pass. I got to the pass at 10:26 PM. I was so excited to see there were bathrooms, trash cans, and a phone. I set up camp and decided to cowboy camp. I sat in the dark reading email and a mouse tried to steal one of my Take 5 candy bars. I went to be bed but the mouse ran around me and I finally put up the tarp tent. I fell asleep pretty fast after that.

Scatman 2011- This day was epic.  To think me stopping to take a piss resulted in me losing my hiking partners, hiking in the dark, anger, soreness (the next day) and me doing a 35.5 mile day.  To this point this was my longest day ever!  By the end I was getting pretty tired.  Hiking so long after dinner made it feel like dinner wasn’t even eaten on the same day.

Little did I know my issues were nothing compared to those in the area of the fire we saw.  It would turn out to be the start of the Lake Tahoe fires.  The column of smoke from the fire was massive, and when you added the wind to the mixture, I couldn’t imagine the result for those fighting it.



Get out there!

You can check out my Appalachian Trail or Continental Divide Trail journals too!

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