Pacific Crest #05


PCT5

Date:​Aug 4, 1979Time:​7:00 am

Alt.:​5,531 ft.

Temp.:​72°

Barom.:​steady

Place:​east of Markleeville

 

Please let me get back to the woods. This place is noisy, and smells bad. In the future, plan for very little contact with commercial areas.

 

 

 

Date:​Aug 4, 1979

Time:​10:00 am

Alt.:​6,200 ft.

Temp.:​72°

Barom.:​steady

Place:​east of Markleeville

 

A firefighter gave me a ride half-way back up the mountain. Told me “the Pilgrims” around here probably would not like me being around. Finally, a great-grandmother from Lodi gave me the last few miles to the trailhead. Big El Dorado, nice lady. “Always was a rebel,” she says, “Never did follow the rules, ran my own ranch and wore pants before Hepburn.” I suddenly wished that she was younger or I was older. Her hands shook a little and she drove too fast. But there was a sparkle, no, it was more like a fire in her eyes. Sounds very trite as I write it now but it does the best in describing her look. She was simply very beautiful. As I watched her drive away I could see the slight weaving pattern that threw up a little dust each time that she drifted slightly to the right shoulder. Puff, a small cloud, then the sun catching the El Dorado’s bumper and, puff, another signal. I watched her drive down the valley, writing her name in puffs of white, until the road disappeared into the canyon.

 

 

 

Date:​Aug 4, 1979

Time:​9:00 pm

Alt.:​8740 ft.

Temp.:​56°

Barom.:​steady, winds gusting to forty

Place:​Showers Lake

 

Carson Pass did not particularly hold my attention, so I pushed on to Showers, only 3 or 4 miles in from the road. Good to be on the trail again. My new socks seem to be working and my feet seem happier. The lake is a little crowded so I find a little area just to the northeast of the lake. It is actually a rock shelf that extends over the canyon below, and affords a terrific view of the southern end of Lake Tahoe. It’s really a beautiful spot.

I spent the evening talking to the weekenders. Darnell and Harry want to come along with me, but have to go back to their jobs on Monday morning. Prisoners of their own careers. Me too.

 

 

 

Date:​Aug 5, 1979, a Sunday

Time:​7:08 pm

Alt.:​7414 ft.

Temp.:​65°

Barom.:​falling slowly

Place:​Echo Lake

 

A big day. It started at 6:30, when Darnell brought me some morning coffee. Very hospitable, really nice people who were making more of my hike than it deserved. Even though they both expressed the desire to come along, it was more that they liked the idea that somebody was doing it, even if they never would.

I got rolling around 8:00 am, with Echo Summit only ten miles away. The trail was fast and steep. Massive switch backs, a real winder. I made the pass at about 11:30. The downward pounding really put some stress on both of my Achilles tendons. The trail descended about 2000 feet in less than two hours of hiking. I remember the pain from my army experience, so I continued my soaking rituals.

Came off the mountain into a maze of felled trees and slag piles. I finally understood that I was in the middle of a ski resort in the making. The trail through here is mostly on asphalt.

I was hitchhiking again at noon. As it was a Sunday, there wasn’t much traffic going to South Lake Tahoe, most of it was leaving. I had to go down to get a wilderness permit to enter Desolation Valley. Having learned my lesson at Markleeville, I determined to get in and out of town as quickly as possible.

Pickup truck into town, pickup truck out of town, couldn’t have been easier. The only difficulty was that the post office at Echo Lake was not going to be open until 9:00 am Monday. On top of that, Echo Lake does not have campsites, nor do the local residents encourage hikers to sleep in the general area. The lake has been completely sub-divided with homes and cabins lining the shore. Earlier in the day I found a boulder with a hammer and sickle painted on it, now I can understand why it appeared.

I am waiting for dusk, so that I can slip unobserved to a campsite above the lake. Later that night I saw a small boat cruising the shore, shining a powerful light into the various coves and inlets. My guess is that it is a game warden looking for errant fisherman. At least I hope so. There is a certain Gestapo quality to that light, keeping me in my hiding place of stone. Could it be Claus?