Destination: MM 1178ish
Cumulative Miles: 1184
We went to breakfast this morning before heading out of town. The "Downieville Downhill" was about to get under way, so the streets were beginning to fill up with mountain bikers ready for competition. We ate a filling breakfast to fuel us up a hill which was not very difficult. As the PCT is a "crest" walk, most every town stop requires a descent to, and a climb out.
Today's climb was easy going, a few miles up, a few miles of roughly level grade, repeated a few times. We stopped at creeks along the way to replenish our water, resting at campsites that would be nice to linger longer at. Unfortunately, we had miles to cover and moved shortly after the water was done filtering.
We had lunch at Pass Creek, one of the larger streams that feeds the Jackson Reservoir. This particular reservoir was created in the 1800's to assist in hydraulic mining. Years after its original dam was built, a stronger dam was built to hold back more water for mining. After an unfortunate incident where the dam broke "either by accident or by dynamite" and six people died in the resulting flood, California started it's ban on hydraulic mining.
The distant whirring of boats on the lake served as a constant reminder of the not-to-distant-but-distant-enough impossibility of an afternoon swim. Psycho thought of water skiing, and his trip to Trinity Lake for a week of playing behind a boat which he did on his last hike at about this same time.
As we gradually gained elevation, the trees disappeared and gave way to hillsides covered in Indian Paintbrush and Lupines. The sweet Lupine aroma was as abundant as the wildflowers. The south facing slopes were decorated in the yellow flower which blooms after the snow melt, with it's large velvety leaves. The north facing slopes, where snow melt was slower had the early sprouts of velvet leaves, but nearly no wildflowers in bloom yet.
Where manzanita has been present for the entire hike, the sage has not. We re-entered sage country, and had hills which had small soft sagebrush growing all over the hillside in frequent patches.
Towards the end of the day, we started running in to a few more northbounders, including one friend, Goldenchild ( http://aslowbeginning.blogspot.com ). We congratulated them all for making it through the Sierras. At this point, mileage-wise, any hiker we pass is behind us in overall distance covered. This helps give us a measure of where we stand in the line of possible completion.
Tomorrow we will likely be back in snow, but forecast has it patchy at best. We'll see...
Tonight's mosquitoes were annoying...wonder if it'll get worse.
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