Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 70-Castle Pass


Mile 1143 to Peter Grubb Hut at mile 1163

I did not sleep as well as I wanted. I was chilly-the patch of snow next to my tent should have warned me it was not the warmest camp. I actually slept until six, which is very unusual for me out here. Opus was pretty much packed up and Portrait was close to packed up by the time I emerged from my tent.

The trail continued on the way down from last night-a nice way to start the morning. Around mid morning we saw a roof off the trail and above us to our right-it was the ski hut that we had originally wanted to camp at when we left Tahoe, but the mileage didn't work out. A snack at the hut had to be second best.

It was a really cute place:  two stories (with view of Donner Pass), cots, table, and a two story out house near by. The out house had a ladder to climb up to get inside and it had the same great view as the hut (and smelled a thousand times worst). Inside the hut there was a propane two burner stove with fuel so Portrait and I had cheese casadias.  Probably the best first lunch I've had on trail. 

The first hut of the day
I got a message from Nightingale saying she had friends doing mediocre trail magic at Donner's Pass at 12:30. It was 11 o'clock and Donner's Pass was 5.5 miles away, so it seemed unlikely, but we left in a hurry anyways.

I had forgotten it was a weekend, but after leaving the hut we saw more people in those 5.5 miles than we did all week. Day hikers were flocking up the mountain towards the hut.  One group of three women stopped us, and I know we were all thinking the same thing:  I don't want to stop there's trail magic in 5 miles. They were thrilled to meet us and started taking goodies out of their day packs. I added a bag of cherries, an apple, and homemade cookies to my pack. Even if I hadn't been in a hurry I couldn't have eaten that food right then-I was feeling well feed.

About two miles from the pass there was a tricky bit of snow. We went straight over it, but we were some of the only ones that did. It looked like everybody else cut up the mountain to get past it.  It was a steep sidehill patch of snow that felt a little scary to walk across. I was in the lead and took my time kicking in steps and moving carefully. And then it was back to our regular hiking pace.

We didn't make it to the road until 1 o'clock and Nightingale and her friends were gone, but not too bug of a deal because Shadow and Country Mouse were there with their camper and trail magic signs.  They welcomed us with sodas and hot dogs, chips and potato salad, and a place to sit in the shade.  They had hiked the AT last year and were out paying back the kindness they received--I can hardly imagine how much trail magic I owe at this point.  We stayed for two hours--long enough to eat than eat again.  And long enough to see some hikers that we hadn't seen in some time. 
Shadow and Country Mouse cooking

After we left the trail slowly worked its way uphill overlooking some lakes and had granite cliffs above (with a lot of rock climbers climbing).  I could hear the interest three miles away.  It seemed so loud after the peacefulness of the Sierra's.  It was the trail's first huge road crossing since before the Sierra's.  The trail went under the interstate by way of a drainage tunnel--it was the type of place hikers would spend hours in while in the desert.  This day we just walked on through.  On the other side was the new rest area with bathrooms and outlets.  I filled up my water bladder and charged my phone some while eating my trail magic apple.  Oddly enough there is no vending machines there--I don't know if they know how many hiker dollars they are missing out on.

Castle Pass
After leaving the trail went up for two and a half miles.  At the top of the climb was Castle's Pass and a mile off trail was Castle's Peak.  My pass was treed and kind of uneventful and my sign was broken--they obviously didn't know I was coming.  Castle's Peak was pretty awesome looking--very jagged and castle looking.  Maybe I should have, but I didn't do the two mile off trail side trip to the top.  Just took a picture with my peak and moved on to the Grubb Hut.

At the hut we found Frost, who had been there all day, and it was easy to see why.  The hut was lovely.  There was a big table in the main room, a loft, and another room with a table in it.  I plunked myself down and read a Wired magazine while making (and eating) dinner.  I haven't read anything since my double zero day at Kennedy Meadows about four hundred miles ago.  I almost liked the magazine better than my cheese tortellini.  Through dinner time more hikers showed up.  It was probably the most hikers I've camped with in a very long time on trail (there is always a lot of hikers to camp with in town). 




1 comment:

  1. Erma "Flame" HumphriesJuly 6, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Hey Castle! So cool that you got to meet Shadow and Country Mouse doing trail majic for you guys! I met them on the A.T. last year, just past Franklin, N.Car. and we leapfrogged each other all the way to Katahdin! Then we summited that final mountain on the same day! Since they have family near where I live, we have gotten together for "dinner and reminiscing" a couple of times since our thru-hikes. Great trail friends!

    Keep plugging along, Castle! You are doing great! I'm enjoying following your adventure thru your blog. ~~"Flame" Ga.>Me. 2011

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