Saturday 25 June 2022

40 Years Ago On The Pacific Crest Trail: Out Of The High Sierra


Article in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza

On June 25th 1982 I was in Little Norway, a hamlet above Echo Lake, with Larry Lake. The second longest section of my PCT hike was over. The 178 miles (286km) from Mammoth Lakes had taken 16 days. But now the tough crossing of the snowbound High Sierra was over and the lower walking ahead looked easier. It needed to be as I'd now walked 942 miles {1516km) in 83 days, just over 11 miles (18km) a day. With around 1660 miles (2670km} to go I needed to up my daily mileage to reach Canada before the next winter began. As it was, this turned out to be quite easy. I was now so fit that much longer distances on good trails involved no extra effort. Lighter packs helped too. Hoping for less snow and warmer weather ahead we sent home some cold weather gear, 10lbs (4.5km) worth in my case, double that in Larry's. We only needed to carry a week's food to the next resupply point as well. 

While at Little Norway a reporter from the local paper, the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, came to interview us as the first hikers through the High Sierra that year. Mike Lewis sent us a copy a few weeks later. He described us as "looking like miners out of an 1849 gold rush photograph". I guess we did look a bit rough!

Susie Lake, Desolation Wilderness

From Little Norway we went through the Desolation Wilderness and the even lower northern Sierra Nevada before leaving the Sierra for the first volcanic landscapes of the Cascade Mountains. Less snow did make the walking easier and there was a profusion of spring flowers. Against that there was the desolation of clear-cut logging in a few areas.

Larry hiking through Mountain Mule's Ears in Northern California

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