Pacific Crest #03


Date:​Aug 2, 1979Time:​5:48 am

Alt.:​9040 ft.



Place:​Golden Canyon Creekside

Had a repeat of yesterday’s breakfast. It was even better this morning. The sun just now broke upon me, 6:15 am, I hope to be packed and moving down the trail by 7:00.

The others are still in their bags although I can tell that Claus is awake. Claus is a strong fellow, with even stronger opinions. It’s clear from what he has shared with us that he doesn’t dismiss ideas of genetic superiority, and in fact believes that German genes are the reason behind most of the successes in America (until quite recently, when other genes dominated). We sat in silence and in some embarrassment while we listened to Claus’s opinions of race theory. In this naturally clean place it was like someone dumping a load of stinking filth, stark contrast for us. I didn’t say all that I felt and I refrained from a pointless argument. Pointless because Claus wasn’t going to change. And yet, letting his statements go unchallenged somehow shamed me, and perhaps embolded him. I know this is not true of most Germans, probably only true for the same percentage of obnoxious Americans. Still, this was bothersome.

Date:​Aug 2, 1979

Time:​8:48 am

Alt.:​9040 ft.


Barom.:​rising slowly

Place:​Just below Obert Peak

I have just climbed and named a previously un-named peak. While it’s size is not overly great, the view the top is breathtaking. At 9400 ft. it is not exactly a molehill, but it was conquered, and so by the age old tradition of mankind selfishly naming the un-named, I christened this peak as Mt. Obert. Named for a close friend whose birthday this is. A very nice birthday present indeed, I’ll bring him a rock from the summit.

My feet do not seem worse, perhaps the soaking has worked. It still may be a good idea to lay over at the next camp in order to recruit. I saw my first deer this morning, although I was far too busy to stop and watch. It seems as if I have stumbled into a high altitude grazing pasture. 30 cows and two bulls can make the ground shake. I could barely get across the meadow before the stampede. I must admit that I was somewhat afraid that I would wind up as small bits of flesh and nylon in the cracks of their collective hooves.

A terrific noise from their hooves.

Asa Lake is the next best stop, good water, free of wandering beef. I hope.

Still feel rotten about the mental processes of Claus. He poisons minds and is not as harmless as I first thought. At what point would I be prepared to be his assassin, verbal or physical?

Date:​Aug 2, 1979

Time:​9:00 pm

Alt.:​8600 ft.


Barom.:​rising slowly

Place:​Above Asa Lake

It’s a wonderful campsite, a natural spring gushes from the mountain and flushes the lake with cold clear water. I tried fishing briefly this afternoon in order to have some variety. The fish followed but didn’t bite. I suppose they were waiting for just the right lure. All I know is that I didn’ have it.

A party of three hikers joined Claus and I at the lake. They seemed civil but not overly friendly. Claus and I hiked a bit away from the lake and set up a separate camp. I got here at about 1:00 pm and have spent the afternoon resting, soaking my feet, and washing clothes. Claus and I continued our talk, or rather, I continued to listen to his opinions. He senses my unease and seems to modify some points. I don’t believe that he is being honest. Three more people showed in the early evening, a married couple and a young man on a horse. They felt the same way about the three hikers by the lake so joined our campsite with our invitation.

Eric and Sue were teachers from Michigan, wandering the Sierras before returning to teach junior high school in September. The young man with the horse had left Mexico about a month back and hoped to get to Canada by October. The horse was named Traveler, the rider was Rob. We all had a delightful time and stayed up far longer than our tired bodies deserved.

Rob had just been through an awful experience about 5 or 6 days previous. It seems he was leading Traveler on a particularly narrow trail high up on a ridge line. Somehow Traveler lost his rear footing and began to slide off the trail, tried to regain his footing with his forelegs. Rob couldn’t completely pull a full grown horse up onto the trail by the reins alone, the best he could hope for is that Traveler would somehow do it on his own, with Rob’s encouragement. Rob had raised Traveler from a colt and he knew that if Traveler could just find solid rock to stand on then he could make it. Unfortunately there was no solid rock, and Traveler slipped further of the trail until there was nothing more for Rob to do except drop the reins and watch Traveler go head over tea kettles backwards, down the mountainside, until he was well out of sight. Even then he could hear the roll and crash as his best friend continued his fall, camp gear clanging, food, clothing, personal possessions strewn all the way down the slope. Finally there was silence, and Rob was left alone on the trail with the certain knowledge of either a dead or a badly hurt horse at the bottom of the ravine.

It took some time to careful pick his way down the slope, picking up lost articles along the way. When Rob finally did reach the bottom he couldn’t find the expected carcass. In fact, in the process of walking a little way down the river, he found Traveler casually standing, munching some river grass, not much the worse for wear. Traveler did have some deep gashes on his hind legs, and some obvious scrapes on his knees, but apart from that he seemed fine. So now it was five days later and Rob was still taking it kind of slow and Traveler, the horse that fell off a mountain, seemed to appreciate the gesture.

Eric and Sue decide to head to Markleeville in the morning. I think this is a good idea and consider it myself. Distancing myself from Claus is very attractive.