I woke early and got myself moving. Tank, Dingo, and Dingos partner had already left the camp and I wasn’t far behind. As I climbed I soon found the manzanita seemed to dominate the landscape. It lined the trail and kept it company when hikers were away.
I started what others referred to as a dreaded climb. It was humid out, warm, and the air was thick with smoke from a nerby fire. No great views with the smoke, but the jetting Crags of Castle Crag could be seen through the haze as jagged teeth of the menacing mountain. It did look pretty cool and I snapped a few pictures.
The climb was long and hardy and my legs wayned under my backpack laden with 5 days of food. It was a price that sometimes you had to day! I trudged on and soon found a break in the grade and shade in some trees. I plopped for a break and soon Mouse and her friend joined me for a quick snack.
It was time to move and I pressed on and up the hill, it seemed like a forever gain until finally I came to a spring and stopped for water after the 10 mile dry stretch. The weight of the food and water made me much slower than usual. But the good news was I had fresh fruit in my bag and the thought of a nice apple or orange made me forget the weight, at least for a time.
I pressed on, and up again. I soon come to a came where at least 10 hikers had all taken a lunch break and afternoon nap. Not in the mood and needing to get some miles in, I pressed on. TreeBeard followed me out and we chatted on as we walked the ridge. He was an interesting fella, and really was glad to be out in Cali enjoying the mountains.
I slogged the next miles slowly and I felt like a slug, it was still a beautiful day. However, I had started to heard thunder in the distance, and I watched and the hug pluming clouds gathering. There was 1 more short beak at Picayune Spring before I pressed on for camp. The hope was Porcupine Lake, but the thunder continued to draw nearer.
Closer it came as I hurried on. I saw a large number of hikers setting up not too far after the spring, but I wanted to get a bit further. The light sprayed through the clouds in some areas and I could see rain falling in others across the valley. Then I felt it, the first drop of water had hit my shoulder. I hurried on faster and finally got to the lake turnoff as the rin started coming down harder. To my surprise Tank, Dingo, and her partner were there all set up, tucked away in their tents.
I set up quickly and by the time I dove in the tent the drops seemed to gain in size and fall more rapidly. It was only a short spell, but after making dinner and stretching in my tent the rain seemed to drop off. I wasn’t in the mood for a wet night, but the air up here was much cooler than down in the valley. I thought back to all the great views of the day and my favorite were of the building storms. Another good one for the books!
TreeBeard – early 30s, from Laguna beach. Hes held quite a few odd jobs, including running a WOLFing farm in Hawaii, being a fire catcher at festivals, and a surf instructor. Super nice and friendly, we chatted on about his different jobs. His main stay is helping out his disabled dad which he has been doing for some time now. He was solid enough to be left for a few months at a time so he came out to hike! Free spirited and a hell of a good guy!