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[pct-l] trip report-long

Llamalady and company checking in.
Our 320 mile figure 8 loop (27 days) went bust.  The plan was to hike
the new Tahoe Rim Trail, clockwise, starting and ending at Echo Summit,
then hike south to Sonora Pass on the Tahoe-Yosemite Trail and return
north on the PCT, finishing at Echo Summit.  The TRT guidebook was
published and mailed to me three days before we left, after we got our
permit.  I read the guidebook during the drive up to Tahoe.  I was
shocked to learn that there are long dry portions of trail on the TRT,
to the extent of finding no water for 25 miles at a stretch.  To a thru
hiker who may be traveling that distance in a day this is not an
insurmountable problem.  But with three llamas and a dog we travel no
more than 16 miles in a day.  The llamas can carry enough water to meet
human and dog needs, but not llama needs.
Then we started hiking in Desolation Wilderness.  We noted that normally
swampy places were all dried up, the seasonal creeks were dry, and there
were no mosquitoes.  We decided on the first day to drop our plan to
hike the TRT, and instead devised an 80 mile loop trip all over
Desolation Wilderness, sticking close to the lakes.  Well, it was
glorious.  We'd never been there before, and we were really glad to be
there.  What a piece of true Sierra paradise.  The first three days had
high wind, but then the air went still and the heat turned up.
On the ninth day we returned to Echo Summit, resupplied, and started
hiking south on the TYT.  The heat was out of scope--95 degrees in the
afternoon.  We noted that the TYT drops down to 5600 feet at one point,
and decided to hike down and back on the PCT because it stays high.  We
hiked south for two days, about five miles past Carson Pass. We rounded
Elephants Back and took a long hard look at the sagebrush covered,
treeless, blackrock moonscape that is section J, stretching south as far
as the eye could see.  This is not the granite-slabbed water filled
meadow and forest of the high sierra that we know and love.  We stopped
for a while and discussed it, and decided to press on to Lost Lakes.  20
minutes later, while crossing a gully, one llama fell off the trail into
the gully, on his back. (The trail tread was washed out across the
gully).   He is flailing around, trying to get up and avoid being
throttled by his collar, I am trying to pop his collar off and avoid
being trampled.  After a moment of extreme chaos we were all upright and
on the trail.  The llamas did not want to try the gully again.  We took
it as a sign, and turned back and headed back to the camp we were in the
night before.  The next day we returned to the van by the Meiss
Meadow/Hawley Grade trails, still dying from the heat, and drove home.
We still had 13 days of vacation time left.  What to do?
We spent five days in San Diego, where it never got above 65 and the sun
never broke through the fog.  We came home this evening, and are leaving
tomorrow to hike the Piute-Muir-Bishop Pass Loop. We'll start and end at
South Lake, hiking the Tyee/George trail to get to Sabrina and
roadwalking between Sabrina and North Lake, to avoid doing a shuttle.
Marion Davison "Llamalady"