Sunday, August 8, 2010
August 8 - On the Wind
Arise way early, past hot air balloons aloft above Dixon,
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
mounting a fairly naked
promontory of Squaw Ridge,
up Five Lakes
Canyon to the
forest-border of the
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
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),
views opening from
Granite Chief, Squaw Peak, Five Lakes Pass, and Ward Ridge, to
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,
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).