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[pct-l] Roy Robinson's notes from the Pacific Crest Trail, part 1 (long)

> Hi all,
> For those of you who don't already know, my father Roy is now on the
> Pacific Crest Trail.  He is attempting to complete the 1500 miles that he
> missed in '97.  He started at Interstate 80 near Lake Tahoe and is heading
> for the Canadian border.  I'll be joining him July 31st at Crater Lake,
> Oregon.
> Here's the first installment of his notes:
> 6/9 Above Paradise Valley.  Started from Boreal I-80 at 2pm.  Hiked till
> 7:45 pm across 3-5 feet of snow.  Haven't yet found trail but map and
> compass worked great!  Hit Paradise Valley Creek within 200 yards of
> bridge!  9 miles the first day on trail.  Greyhound driver was kind enough
> to make an unscheduled stop for me at the rest stop E. of Boreal.  No foot
> problems.  Some overcast - weak sun earlier.  Nice sunset.  I found a snow
> free patch on south slope to set up camp.  Have seen no one but not too
> surprising.  Trail, where are you?
> 6/10 Totaled 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 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.
> 3:30pm in Sierra City.  Just picked up first 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 climb with no water for 7 miles, so will get an
> early start in the morning.
> 8:00pm  Set up camp at spring near Hwy 49 after dinner of sea bass,
> potatoes au gratin, green salad, glass of while wine and coffee, at the
> Buckhorn in Sierra City.  Spent much of the afternoon hob-nobbing with
> towns-folk 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  Porch of a cabin above Gold Lake.  7pm.  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 snow drifts.
> Catch a few 100 yards of the 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, 7am.  Clouded up last night but warm and sunny this morning.  I have
> to do 15mpd 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.  
> 2:30pm.  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 snow drifts 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 picture of its 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 there.
> 7:30  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 ones 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  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
> altogether between Graeagle and Quincy.  Then again, that's only about 2
> cents per mile.  Camped last night on a knoll between the highway and the
> railroad tracks.  There were more tracks than trains, but plenty of both.
> I've had enough highway so am heading to Bucks Lake - 16 miles.  from
> there, on the trail, it's another 19 miles to Belden.  Should make it to
> Belden Thursday PM, on schedule.
> 8:30pm - Well, it's been a good hiking day, another 13 or 14 miles here to
> Buck's Summit from Quincy.  So 23 or 24 miles in all.  That includes a 15
> percent grade climb on the last 3 miles of road getting up to the summit.
> Much steeper than 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 all
> tomorrow.
> 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 school
> house.  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 story in the morning.
> 6/16 Clear Creek - 10 miles today, in about 9 hours.  That was total, not
> hiking time.  There was a lot of snow again but I only missed one turn..
> Lost the trail going up Spanish Peak and overshot going up the ridge in
> the trees till I could get a reference point.  Back tracked and found the
> trail once I knew where I was.  Lots of trail was snow covered and in
> thick forest.  Thank goodness for the little tin diamonds which mark the
> way.  You're supposed to be able to spot these nailed to trees as you hike
> along.  Sometimes you can't 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 ft.  I'm camped at 6200 ft. tonight.
> But back to the gopher hunter.  He told me the school house was built more
> than 100 years ago - still in use, and still in good shape.  He took my
> picture.  A bit further on, another fellow, named Earl Whitaker, stopped
> his car and hobbled across the road to talk.  He had seen me earlier in
> the day on Hwy 70.  He 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 land.  (Again!!)  Unique situation.  The side road where he stopped
> was his "driveway."  Anyway, we're invited to dinner next time we're
> around this way.  M.V. is becoming quite a Bay Area retirement community.
> It's 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's damp from dew.  Since I have the time I'll let things dry a
> bit before packing.  Still, the sooner I reach Belden, sooner I get a hot
> shower!  
> 4pm - Belden  No motel.  No post office.  Good thing Kathi's bringing the
> food box.  Folks say the P.O. is now in Twain (?) about 11 miles away.
> However they do UPS here.  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 lights! 
> It's been a hot hike down the hill.  Crossed a huge snow bank near the top
> - had to stomp in foot steps.  Nobody has been on the trail at least that
> far up this year.  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.
> 6:15pm - 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, mashed potatoes, etc.
> Rather than hike 2 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 hot dog
> dispenser (ala 7-11?) in the store.  Nice lady and I discovered 4 hot dogs
> in there of unknown vintage.  "Wonder who made those?"  N.L. says.  She
> kindly made me 3 hot dogs, fresh, complete with 3 mayos, 3 sweet relish
> 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, N.L.
> Oh, speaking of cabin #3, I finally figured out where the weird smell was
> coming from.  I'd hear this scratchy sound every few minutes - thought
> there might be mice in the ceiling.  There's a battery powered "Mango
> Mister 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 crackers with
> or without peanut butter, 2 hot cocoa mixes, and coffee if the Mr. Coffee
> in here is functional.
> 6/18 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.  
> 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 failure) and
> widen the already existing wheel chair access.  This at a resort which a
> good many of their customers hike to. 
> 6/19  Saddle at 6480' on temp. alt. PCT (N2)  We hiked about 8.5 miles
> yesterday afternoon from Belden, climbing 4150 feet on the temporarily
> rerouted PCT.  Looks like 4.5 miles to Poison Spring where we will rejoin
> the trail.  K. developed a blister (small one on inside of left heel)
> which she is fixing now.  Time for breakfast.  6:30am.  Sunny morning!
> 6/20  Camped last night on logging road near Cold Spring (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 route
> are, with a few exception, long gone.  The 4.5 miles of alt. PCT route
> which we hike yesterday took us more than 5 hours, because of route
> finding problems.  While we're complaining, should note that the start of
> the alt. 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.
> Need a semi-permanent sign 2 or 3 hundred yards up the trail identifying
> it as the alternate route.
> K. 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 plan to return to the trail in
> about 2 weeks.
> 6/21 Chester.  Antlers Motel.  After breaking camp yesterday just 1/4 mile
> short of Humbug Road 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 his parents who live near Paradise, CA were on their way to have
> breakfast at the 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 as 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 which was being held at a park about 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 further
> attempts to push through this early will only lead to more disappointment
> and discouragement.  In a couple weeks there should be a trail to follow.
> This log will resume when I return to the crest.
> [That's all for this installment.  More coming soon.  -Brian]
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