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[pct-l] FW: Roy's Hiking Log - 1999
- Subject: [pct-l] FW: Roy's Hiking Log - 1999
- From: "Robinson, Brian A" <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 20:42:28 -0700
Here is a trip report from my father who is hiking the PCT from Interstate
80 to Manning this summer. Looks like lots of snow this year...
6-09-99 Above Paradise Valley. I started from Boreal on I-80 at 2 PM.
Hiked till 7:45 PM across 3 to 5 feet of snow. Haven't yet found the trail
but map and compass worked great! Hit Paradise Valley Creek within 200
of bridge! About 9 miles the first day on trail. The Greyhound driver was
kind enough to make an unscheduled stop for me at the first stop E. of
Boreal. No foot problems.
Some overcast -- weak sun earlier. Nice sunset. I found a
patch on south slope to set up camp. Have seen no one, but not too
surprising. Trail, where are you?
6-10-99 Lunch break on Peak 8214 (L-3). 8 miles since I started at 7:40
Now 12:40. Much map and compass, trying to find route. It was cold last
night. Set up the tarp and had to get the bivy out about 11 PM.
6-11-99 Totalled 18.5 miles yesterday. Trail N. of Peak 8214 was mostly
snow-free which made it possible to reach Jackson Meadow Reservoir. I
checked out the campground. No water yet. They were charging $13. per
night. Camp host didn't know what the PCT was. I stealth camped. I'm now
on trail N. of Jackson Meadow, maybe 10 miles to Sierra City. Have to get
there before P.O. closes. Heard an owl this morning and saw first deer on
the trail up here. Still no other hikers.
3:30 PM. In Sierra City. Just picked up food box at P.O. Got it all in
pack, barely. Signed trail register at the P.O. As I suspected, I'm the
first to sign in in '99. Had lunch at Wild Plum Campground. It was nice to
see the place again. I'll find dinner in town, then head back to the trail.
It's a 3000 foot cllimb with no water for 7 miles, so will get an early
in the morning.
8:00 PM. Set up camp at spring near Hwy 49 after dinner of sea bass,
potatoes au gratin, green salad, glass of white wine and coffee, at the
Buckhorn in Sierra City. Spent much of the afternoon hob-nobbing with
townsfolks in front of the general store and making a dent in a 2-liter
bottle of Sprite. I need the bottle to carry extra water up the hill
tomorrow. Generally a good day. 11 miles.
6-12-99 Porch of a cabin above Gold Lake. 7 PM. It's flat, great view,
isn't snow-covered. Tough 14 miles today. The climb out of Sierra City
turned out to be the easiest part. The second 7 miles was snowdrifts.
a few hundred yards of trail once in a while in the good spots. I've got to
do better than this if I'm going to get to Belden Thursday night.
6-13-99 7 AM. Clouded up last night but warm and sunny this morning. I
have to do 15 mpd to get to Belden on time. Looks like some bad snow spots
ahead but there are a couple spots I can head for the highway if I get
behind. I'll head back up to the trail and see how it looks on top.
2:30 PM. Had lunch at Lakes Basin Campground. Made it up to Summit Lake
this morning and got as far as Oakland Pond (Hill 7550), about 2 miles in 3
hours. There I lost the trail completely in heavy snow and forest. Looking
ahead, it's obviously more of same. Too much work and time lost climbing
snowdrifts and figuring out where I am. I did see a bear about a mile N. of
Summit Lake. It went the other way when we saw each other. I took a
of it's tracks in the snow. Anyway, to keep the schedule I'm going to do
some road hiking, probably clear to Belden. Heading down to Graeagle now.
Looks like about 8 miles, so will probably stop for the night before I get
7:30 PM. Set up camp in woods off highway about 3 miles before Graeagle.
There's water near for dinner (filter first) so mosquitoes are thick. My
mosquito netting works great! I can see and hear them but none get inside.
Road hiking is hot and boring -- and hard on the feet. No blisters or other
foot problems though. Hope I put extra boot socks in the drift box. The
one's I'm wearing are getting thin in the heels. I saw Mt. Lassen this
morning before I turned around. Quite a way, yet.
6-15-99 Quincy. 20 miles yesterday and another 10 so far today. It's near
noon, warm but overcast. Yesterday was hot, especially on the pavement.
Best you can say about road hiking is -- you find money! 47 cents
between Graeagle and Quincy. Then again, that's only about 2 cents per
Camped last night on a knoll between the highway and the railroad tracks.
There were more trucks than trains, but plenty of both. I've had enough
highway so am heading to Bucks Lake -- 16 miles. From there it's another 19
miles on the trail to Belden. Should make it to Belden Thursday PM, on
8:30 PM. Well, it's been a good hiking day -- another 13 or 14 miles here
Buck's Summit from Quincy. So, 23 or 24 miles in all. That includes a 15
percent grade climb on the last three miles of road getting up to the
Much steeper than most of the PCT, and not recommended for campers. (Nice
pink sunset right now.) 19 trail miles to Belden and I don't have to do it
On the way here from Quincy I went through Meadow Valley -- a
community that's got to be one of the best-kept secrets around. Historic,
charming, the most friendly people. I met one old-timer in front of the
schoolhouse. He was lame and quite deaf, trying to drive gophers out by
running water from a garden hose into their burrows. Had a rake to hit them
when they emerged. Too dark to write. Will finish this story in the
6-16-99 Clear Creek. 10 miles today, in about 9 hours. That was total,
hiking time. There was a lot of snow again but I only missed one turn.
the trail going up Spanish Peak and overshot going up the ridge in the trees
till I could get a reference point. Backtracked and found the trail once I
knew where I was. Lots of trail was snow-covered and in thick forest.
goodness for the little tin diamonds which mark the way. You're supposed to
be able to spot these mailed to trees as you hike along. Sometimes you
find the next one. Then you have to take the time to sort it out. 9 easy
miles to Belden tomorrow, mostly downhill. Belden's at 2300 feet -- I'm
camped at 6200 feet tonight.
But back to the gopher hunter. He told me the schoolhouse was built
more than 100 years ago -- still in use, and still in good shape. He took
picture. A bit further on another fellow, named Earl, stopped his car and
hobbled across the road to talk. He had seen me earlier in the day on Hwy
70. Earl was wearing one of those Frankenstein boots. Had slipped on the
ice and broken his ankle. Earl seemed to be the unofficial Meadow Valley
booster. Real salesman (like Orin), I'd guessed. Turns out he owns a
company in Oakland -- makes modular displays for conventions. He also owns
40 acres (!!) in Meadow Valley, completely surrounded by National Forest
(Again !!). Unique situation. The sideroad where he stopped was his
"driveway". Anyway, we're invited to dinner next time we're around this
M.V. is becoming quite a Bay Area retirement community.
It's 6-17-99, Thursday AM -- Since line 5 above where the writing
gets legible. Hard to write propped on an elbow in sleeping bag. Cold this
morning, and everything damp from the dew. Since I have the time I'll let
things dry a bit before packing. Still, the sooner I get to Belden, sooner
get a hot shower!
4:00 PM. Belden. No motel. No post office. Good thing Kathi's bringing
the food box. Folks here say the P.O. is now in Twain (?) about 11 miles
away. However, they do have UPS here and will hold boxes for hikers. They
do have cabins and a laundromat. So I have clean clothes and a cabin --
$59.95, which is plenty for what you get. Rustic! River view! Really dim
It's been a hot hike down the hill. Crossed a huge snowbank near
top -- had to stomp in footsteps. Nobody has been on the trail this year,
at least not that far up. Descending into the canyon, it got really hot (90
degrees?) and below about 4000 feet the poison oak was healthy. Time to go
over to the restaurant and see what they have that looks like food. That
shower and shave sure raised the spirits! There's a phone booth on the way.
6:15 PM. Well! You've got to be careful when your spirits are raised. The
restaurant opens in 2 days if they pass final inspection. I was really
looking forward to, maybe, some steak, mashpotatoes, etc. Rather than hike
miles up the highway to a place the nice lady said she would call to make
sure they were open, I decided to check out the hotdog dispenser (ala 7-11?)
in the store. Nice lady and I discovered four hotdogs in there, of unknown
vintage. "Wonder who made those?", N.L. says. She kindly made me 3
fresh, complete with 3 mayo's, 3 sweet relishes and 3 ketchups from the
condiment tray. I took these back to cabin #3 (get it?) along with only one
Bud -- I've got to hike tomorrow. This all tasted very good. Thank you,
Oh, speaking of Cabin #3, I finally figured out where the weird
was coming from. I'd heard this scratchy sound every few minutes -- thought
there might be mice in the ceiling. There's a battery-powered "Mango Mist'r
with Odor Counteractant" which has an off-switch inside. Solved problem.
They must rent this cabin to thru-hikers a lot.
Taking inventory, it looks like breakfast will be some wheat
with or without peanut butter, 2 hot cocoa mixes, and coffee if the Mr.
Coffee in here is functional.
6-18-99 Belden. Good morning! Sunny day. Good night's sleep. Mr. C.
makes very strong coffee. My road hike from M2 to M9 was 50 miles, close as
I can figure. This "alternate route" bypassed 55.5 miles of trail from
Oakland Pond to Bucks Summit. 130.1 trail miles covered to date.
I talked with Kathi B. last night. Expect her here about noon to
begin hiking Section N. I certainly hope trail conditions improve so we can
enjoy our hike to Burney Falls. If we're to make 19+ mpd, we can't spend a
lot of time looking for the trail.
This will go into an envelope for Kathi's friend to mail on the way
back to SF. A roll of film and the trail guide for sections already covered
will go into the drift box for mailing from Burney. Would be simpler if
there was a post office here. At least I won't have to carry it.
The restaurant here passed inspection and will open for business
tomorrow. They had to install lighted exit signs (in event of power
and widen already existing wheelchair access. This at a resort which a good
many of their customers hike to.
6-19-99 Saddle at 6480' on temporary alternate PCT (N2). We hiked about
miles yesterday afternoon from Belden, climbing 4150 feet on the temporarily
rerouted PCT. Looks like 4.5 miles to Poison Spring where we rejoin the
trail. Kathi developed a blister (small one on the inside of her left heel)
which she is fixing now. Time for breakfast, 6:30 AM. Sunny morning!
6-20-99 Camped last night on a logging road near Cold Springs (N4) after
making 10.5 miles in 9.5 hours. Snow has been 1.5 to 2 feet deep on much of
the route with deep drifts on northern slopes. Trail is not well marked.
The alternate route we followed to Poison Spring from Belden in the morning
is not marked at all. The orange markers which were placed to mark the
are, with a few exceptions, long gone. The 4.5 miles of the alternate PCT
route which we hiked yesterday took us more than 5 hours because of
route-finding problems. While we're complaining, I should note that the
start of the alternate route at Belden is not marked. While we were pretty
sure we had the right path -- after a false start up the Yellow Creek trail
-- there was no confirmation that this was, indeed, the alt. PCT for about 3
miles, at which point Kathi spotted an orange flag on the ground along the
trail. A semi-permanent sign is needed 2 or 3 hundred yards up the trail
identifying it as the alternate route.
Kathi and I agree it's too early to hike this section. We are going
to head out to Chester and call it a hike. I'll return to the trail in
6-21-99 Chester. Antlers Motel. After breaking camp yesterday just 1/4
mile short of Humbug Road (N4) and hiking about 2 miles down to Slate Creek,
we stopped to get water, sort out directions, etc. As we were getting our
packs back on, the first car we saw travelling Humbug Road in our direction
stopped and offered us a ride into Chester. Scott from Mountain View and
parents who live near Paradise, CA were on their way to have breakfast at
Kopper Kettle Cafe in Chester, a place worth driving across the mountains
for. Thank you, Trail Angel Scott! Saved us a long, hot walk.
We found rooms, then had breakfast at the above-mentioned KK Cafe.
Julianne will drive up today, stay overnight and we will all return to the
Bay Area tomorrow.
Kathi and I had dinner at the Timber House Restaurant -- a
fascinating place built almost entirely from tree stumps which had been cut
into large blocks -- after having spent most of the afternoon at a Civil War
reenactment being held at a park 3 miles W. of town. Very interesting
displays, costumes, history buffs to talk with!
After all the effort, I'm sad to leave the trail. But I know
attempts to push through this early will only lead to more disappointment
discouragement. In a couple weeks there should be a trail to follow. This
log will resume when I return to the Crest. -- Roy Robinson
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