A short three-day trip into the Granite Chief Wilderness this week. I went in at Squaw Valley on the Granite Chief Trail, which is the most convenient entry point for me because the TART bus stops a hundred yards from the trailhead. I’m glad to have completed brushing on this trail last year, as it makes for a nice walk. The trail has been logged out, so is in good shape, but there are erosion problems on some of it that make it rocky going. I turned south on the PCT where there is a new trail sign to replace the one that had deteriorated and eventually disappeared. Two small creeks still cross the trail here, but both are small and will probably dry soon.
The PCT south to Whiskey Creek Trail has also been logged out. I camped just beyond the North Fork American River crossing. The creek out of the meadow just north of Granite Chief saddle and the north fork are both flowing, though lower than usual. The next day I did some brushing along the trail, picking up spots. I scared up a bee hive beneath one rock, and had to back off while the bees settled down. Coming up from Whiskey Creek Trail to the Five Lake Trail, I did some additional brushing that afternoon, but progress was slow, and I returned the next day to do more. I almost but not quite finished. The brush is mostly Huckleberry Oak, with White Thorn, sagebrush, and Bitter Cherry. Five Lakes Creek is low but flowing.
Thursday afternoon I headed south along the PCT. Several people have reported to me that this section really needs brushing, and yes it does. It is not quite is as bad condition as it was six-seven years ago or so when I started working on it, but almost, and it really needs to be brushed, particular the tobacco brush (Ceanothus) section between Twin Towers (the point between Grouse and Bear Pen) and Twin Peaks. I have been proud of the brushing work I’ve been doing along the PCT in the Granite Chief Wilderness over that time, but it is time for me to admit that I just can’t keep up with it. I spent time on the Granite Chief Trail, an important access point but not the PCT, and I’ve spent some time on trails within the wilderness including a remote nearly-gone trail that I’m trying to save from oblivion, but this took me away from the PCT, and it shows.
The wind was strong along the ridge, probably 30+ mph. The wind cleared out the regional smoke haze, and this was the clearest day I’ve seen all summer. It would have been a great day just to be up on a very high point, with warm gear because it was a cold wind. I walked to Twin Peaks, and then out down Ward Creek to camp. This morning the bus to Truckee and the train home.
2013-07-30 to 2013-08-01