Sunday, August 8, 2010

August 8 - On the Wind

Arise way early, past hot air balloons aloft above Dixon,


over, and

down the Sierra crest to

the upper Truckee Canyon and

Alpine Meadows to hike from the

Five Lakes Trailhead (a little below 6600 feet) to just above the

Picayune Divide (7600) -- a bit of a roller coaster, with about a 2000 foot differential, when all is experienced and walked.

The way leads up past

striking exposures of

rhyolite and


mounting a fairly naked

promontory of Squaw Ridge,

up Five Lakes

Canyon to the

forest-border of the

Granite Chief

Wilderness, which is also the the continental divide (drainage east interior to Pyramid Lake, and west down the Rubicon tributaries to the American, Sacramento, and Pacific).

Beyond the woodsy

connection to the Crest Trail,

snow lingering in the highlands surmounting





junction to

Whiskey Creek

Camp. After a chat with Jeff, who's done the Loop and camped here in the rain last night (semi-ominous news, as the clouds are clearly building today as well),

it's up the quixotic


(with a "c" in all the maps and guidebooks and dictionaries),


Shank's Cove


views opening from

Granite Chief, Squaw Peak, Five Lakes Pass, and Ward Ridge, to

farther south.

Slopes of

ambiguous, path-obscuring

Mule Ears






the south prospect draining to Hell Hole Reservoir, and the north beyond Mildred's snows to French Meadows.

By now, the nimbo-cumuli seem so close that it's time to put away the camera, etc., for the downslope, yet there's still an interval to chat with the intrepid Mike Sweeney, heading upslope upon descent, who's doing the optimal: hiking from point of origin over and down to Talbot Camp, thanks to a significant-other shuttle. We exchange info and then it's a beeline east in the crescendo of thunder to the car, arriving just before anything more than a spritz starts (God takes care of fools, once again). Signs of promise in the sky,

the cliffs of Bullshead,

Big and

Little Chief and

at last the

sun returns west of Donner Summit, homeward, with two more Animal Farm videos upon return:

XXV. Dogs and

XXVI. Wolves (a few of the former on the popular beginning of the trail today, but none of the latter).