California DONE!!

On July 21st I reached Chester California and completed the California section of the PCT all 1,700 miles.  The last 180 miles from Donner Pass on Highway 80 was marked by hot weather, lots of up and down climbing and swimming.  For the first time all the rivers, lakes and creeks are warm enough to jump in (if they are deep enough) and I found myself enjoying getting clean at least once or twice a day.  Was able to swim in the Yuba River in Sierra City, Summit Lake, Middle Fork of the Feather, and Chips Creek.  Also creeks were flowing so it was great to pour water over my head and soak my t-shirt to cool off during the day.  The section did require over 32,000 feet of climbing one of the most up and down stretches on the trail

Left Donner Pass around 10:00 in the morning and had a nice relaxing hike to Mule Ear Creek about 22 miles north.  Little problem as I got there at 7:30 all the sites had tents on them.  Walked down the trail a half mile and found a single site that would work.

Lake view from trail
View of Castle Peak

Next day hiked 16 miles into Sierra City and did the one mile hitch hike into town got a ride right away from a FedX truck that delivers a ton of hiker packages.  Sierra City was packed with hikers and no rooms were available.  Ended up finding a house that had an outdoor tent with beds.  The house rented out two other rooms and in one room were Jerry and my friends from Southern California – Gadget Girl and Seasoned Strider.  Had not seen them since around mile 500 and there they were

Tons of hikers in Sierra City – My new friend Phantom from Montana


Since Sierra City did not have a dinner restaurant Phantom picked up some steaks and I fired up the grill and we ate pretty well at the house.

Barbequed steaks for dinner fun group 

The next day had to hike 5,000 feet out of the Yuba River valley it was a hot day.  I only went 14 miles up to Summit Lake where I camped with other hikers and did a quick swim to clean off the dirt.

Sierra City looking down from the PCT
Sierra Buttes very cool rock formation and peak.

Next day got to the Feather River at noon and jumped into the pool for a swim.  Phantom was already there sleeping when I showed up and was thinking about the next 5,000 foot climb out the valley.

Bridge over the Feather
Great swimming area under the bridge

The next day I started hiking with Phantom on the way to Bucks Lake.  Ended up sharing a room and hiking together to Belden.  It was fun to hike with someone again and get to know them a bit. Phantom is pretty fast he has run over 26 marathons and has run the Boston marathon 3 times.

A new Wilderness
Phantom on the trail

I got to Belden and planned to take a zero day and swim in the river and relax.  But the town was having a music and art festival and was kicking out people without the $150 tickets.  They expected 2,500 people to show up so it was going to get crazy in Belden.  So I ended up finishing my laundry and leaving around 11:00 am for another 5,000 foot climb out of the river valley.

Stamp Mill near Belden Big gold mining area
Swimming Creek killed 2 hours here during a 90 degree day
My camp on the hill with fantastic views

The last day hiked 31 miles out to Chester.  This section had very little water.  Most springs were 1/3 to 1/2 mile off trail and usually required a climb down 300 feet.  Great views of Lassen on the last day looks a bit different from early June.

View of Lassen
Nice meadow on trail
Passing friends from Sierra City
PCT halfway marker
View of Lake Almador
Lassen dead ahead

Now since I am about 6 days ahead of schedule I will take two weeks off from hiking one at home and one week with family and friends at the Lair of the Bear at Pinecrest Lake.  Back on Trail on August 8th.  950 miles to go in Oregon and Washington.


Over 1,500 miles – resting in Truckee, CA

My great friend Neil Crawford drove up to Sonora pass to bring me a food resupply box and to take my bear canister and other snow gear back home. Wow my pack got much lighter. 

Rrady to go a Sonora Pass

Nice hiking out of Sonora where I have done so many Lair hikes especially with perfect weather. Lots of snow on North side of Sonora peak. Some crazy PCT hikers were building a snow cave to sleep in because they had not done it before

Snow cave one guy is inside
Snow is melting and water is flowing

This section of 140 miles included lots of highway crossings,  Ebbets Pass on highway 4, Carson Pass on Highway 88, Echo Pass on Highway 50 and Donner Pass on highway 80. On Ebbets pass ran into a fantastic group of trail angels from Sonoma, Ca who were feeding hikers fruit, burgers, hot dogs, soda, and beer. They had tables chairs and gear to feed over 15 hikers at a time. They were great. Really increased my calories for the day

Feeding the hungry hikers

The trails were open and easy to hike so with my light pack I made great time.  Got to Carson Pass and Rangers had soda and snacks for PCT hikers. Had a root beer and moved out to get to Echo Pass. 

Different terrain as I go north

At echo Pass trail angel Coppertone was handing out root beer floats. Nice guy who follows hikers up the entire PCT
From Echo pass hiked to Echo Lakes grabbed a double scoop ice cream cone  at the store and hiked 7 more miles to Aloha Lake

Aloha Lake on a windy morning

Aloha Lake with its many islands

Next day hiked up to Dicks Pass at 9,400 feet great views of Desolation Wilderness

Dicks Lake looking north from the pass
South view from Dicks Pass

Last section to Donner Pass included walking through three ski resorts, Alpine, Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl. It was fun seeing the resorts in summer the look very different without the snow. 

View from Alpine looking at Tahoe

Under Granite Chief chair lift at Squaw

Donner Lake fro Sugarbowl ski area

Got to Donner pass and my trail angel father picked me up. Went straight to the grocery store and bought large qua ties of food for a two day rest at the cabin
Echo summit olympic training ground

Going over Half Way!!

The section from Reds Meadow to Sonora Pass  has  some high passes great views and lots of creek crossings. Toured Devils Post Pile at the start of the hike so started late going up to Thousand Island Lake. 

Devils Post Pile

The trail was packed with PCT, JMT and day hikers, lots of people enjoying the wilderness. 

Thousand Island Lake. Mt Banner behind

Got over Donahue Pass and made the 15 mile run to Toulumne Meadows in Yosemite  On the way I reached 1,325 miles of hiking – halfway done!!!!!

Frogger crossing a creek

The store was packed with hikers picking up boxes, catching buses or buying supplies. Lots of device charging as well.  Did a small resupply to get to enough food to get to Sonora Pass

Charging at Yosemite Store

Left Toulumne Meadows and camped at Glen Alun on Toulumne River.  Great hiking north of Yosemite with lots of water and great views. 

Falls on Toulumne river

View from Benson Pass

Dorothy Lake reflection

Falls near Walkens Meadows

Got to ridge above Sonora Pass with lots of snow on the hill. Glissaded down the hill about 700 feet down.  Fun way to end the day. 

Sliding down to Sonora Pass

Hitched hike down highway 108 to Pinecrest. Noticed Strawberry Inn had vacancy so walked down and got a room. Taking a break near the Lair for the 4th

Hanging out with Lair Bear

Back in the Sierras

My fantastic wife, Kathy dropped me off at Roads End in Kings Canyon for me to start my hike through the Sierras. 

Ready to hike 15 miles back to PCT
The weather was hot with a 1:30 start lots of people on trail. Ran into large group of CCC trail workers fixing lots of the steps and eroded sections of trail. The creeks were howling and were very scenic. 
Paradise Creek mist falls

Got to PCT at Woods Creek it was very different from back in May. There was around 50 people camping there – lots of PCT hikers and others hiking JMT or Rae Lakes loop.  
Woods Creek bridge

Great 4 days of hiking to VVR with 4 high passes and spectacular views. Met lots of hikers and camped with 4-10 other hikers each night. It is very busy on the trail.  Snow level is 11,000 feet with patches down to. 10,000. No problem hiking the snow

View from Pinshot Pass
Trail over Mather Pass
My tent by Lower Paradise Lake
Hiking up to Muir Pass
Lake below Muir Pass
Muir Hut on Muir Pass
Evolution Lake
Camp at Senger Creek
Got to VVR 2 days early and caught the ferry from the trail to the resort perfectly. Only problem was at VVR their generator was down so no showers or laundry and the beer was getting warm. Got my resupply box and decided to leave as early as possible and take a rest day in Mammoth instead. In the morning the boat broke down and after waiting two hours I ended up hiking out 4.6 miles instead of waiting longer for a boat. 
Had a good hike out with”Frogger” a guy from Iowa I met in VVR. We hike the same pace so it was nice to hike with someone again. Exited 25 miles later at Reds Meadows and took the bus out to Mammoth. Mammoth is a great place I will have to come back and ski this resort.