Pacific Crest #07


Date:​Aug 6, 1979Time:​7:30 am

Alt.:​8,294 ft.



Place:​Lake Gilmore


Got confused, couldn’t seem to find the right trail to Dick’s Pass. Instead of stumbling around in the dark, I decided to set-up camp at Lake Gilmore. Apparently a number of people are confused because it is almost as crowded here as at Echo Lake. A man and two boys who threw rocks over the dam, two fishermen who weren’t friendly and deservedly had no fish, three women who were downright rude, and a couple that ate peanut butter on french rolls.  

Planning to head cross-country to find Dick’s Pass, can’t find the trail that leads to it.





Date:​Aug 6, 1979

Time:​10:30 am

Alt.:​ 9,300 ft.



Place:​Dick’s Pass


Taking a break with Tim. Tim plans to hike Mt. Whitney soon and is here as part of his training. Tim shares his prunes with me. I take some for the road.

My next stop is Middle Velma Lake, and perhaps I’ll make Soda Springs on Friday. Trail signs are still confusing…I can see where I need to go, but the trails don’t seem to head that way. Normally I hate to break trail, but this granite base is certainly not harmed by my stepping off the assigned path.





Date:​Aug 6, 1979

Time:​8:30 pm

Alt.:​8,100 ft.



Place: near Barker Meadow


This has not been the best ten hours I ever had. I have to keep telling myself that at least I’m in the mountains. The confusion of the signs at Dick’s Pass forced me to head cross country to hit General Creek and descend that down to Bear Lake and Barker Meadow. Looked fairly easy on the map. It wasn’t.

Luckily, I met two gentlemen at the top of General Creek, they warned me that the creek remained dry almost to the bottom. They were so parched that halfway up they had dug in the creek bed to get a small cupful of brown water. It was a six mile downhill flight, General Creek dry as a bone next to me. I saw where the hole had been dug but I determined that I would not drink water that was chunky.

Miller Lake was pleasant enough but I really had to keep moving if I was going to reach Bear Lake.


I determined to spend the night at Barker Meadow but my shoulders and my feet were telling me stories of a different kind. Just then a Jeep came by, driven by a youngman and his wife. They offered me a ride down to Tahoma if I wished. Boy, don’t I wish, at least I wish that I would have wished. General Creek just knocked the crap out of me and I was very tempted to end the whole hike right there. But I continued on.


The temptation was too much and unfortunately it affected my judgement. In the process of trying to make up for lost time, I thought I would take a logging road short-cut that could get me to Barker Meadow in half the time, bypassing Bear Lake altogether. An hour and a half later I was at the proverbial deadend. This sometimes happens when I’m driving but then there’s no real problem, I just turn around and drive back out to the last known correct coordinates. Backtracking in a car is not particularly painful, however, revisiting ground that has already been walked is monsterously painful, particularly at the end of a long hike.

There were no real options. I had flirted with disaster on previous occasions by heading cross-country, but this was different. I was far enough off the beaten track that if anything happened, a twisted ankle or broken leg, I probably wouldn’t be spotted for weeks. The only rational choice was to head back to where I started on the logging road and try to find the original trail.

The roads had changed considerable and didn’t match the map. Loggers had cut across with new roads at regular intervals, creating a haphazard maze. Fortunately, the trucks had ground the earth into a fine reddish dust, two or three inches deep, so all I had to do was follow my tracks backwards.

The afternoon dragged on and I became somewhat trail blind, seeing only the few feet in front of me and nothing else. Around 8:30 pm I finally came across signs of a trail. At least I’m back where I stared. I’m writing this dog tired. I almost decided to crawl into my bag right then and skip my evening rituals. Almost too tired to eat. Almost.