Friday, September 12, 2014

Day 157: Wolf Creek Lake

Day 157, 9/12/14
1041 (Wolf Creek) to 1022 (Wolf Creek Lake)
18 miles

The trail had more animal prints than people prints today.  Sitting quietly eating 2nd breakfast, a coyote rounded the corner and just like that we were a stones throw from one another.  I could see the pattern of his fur, the look in his eyes.  Then, he dashed off. 

Left the cows in the valley, and climbed up the East Fork of the Carson River canyon beneath towering granite peaks.
Headwaters of the East Fork Carson River.
Normally I camp at lower elevation but this evening I decided to take a risk, hoping for an incredible view.   So, I kept climbing up to 10,200 feet where the wind was howling.  The Wolf Creek Lake saddle would have been freezing in my hammock.  So I descended off the PCT down to the lake, but the wind was fierce there too, I was still so high up.  More bushwhacking, more exploring to find a sheltered campsite in the lee of a rock.  It made me wonder if I shouldn't have just camped earlier down below, taken the safe and easy campsite.  All the off-trail travel was exhausting on top of the long climb.
Finally, I found some shelter from the wind.  I was a whole 0.3 miles from the PCT- sheesh turned out to be more bushwhacking and boulder scrambling than I expected. 

Will the extra effort be worthwhile?  Right now I'm sore and tired, but snug in my hammock.  Happy of course too that I pushed myself.  Plus I realize I like the exploring and getting a deeper sense of this place, seeing how the wind moves through the landscape.  I don't have that insight when I stay down below where it is safe but where I can't see anything. So no matter what, the effort is worthwhile from what I learned from being up here, and from experiencing the joy of romping around the lake.  I remember how rewarding it is when I get off the trail and do my own thing.
The next morning, the sunrise is breathtaking from my vantage point high up.  Totally enchanting light and the feet were feeling well-rested.  I was so glad that I hiked up to the pass, and pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
Sunrise over Wolf Creek Lake
Flowers bathed in alpineglow.

More views from up high.
Softer color of late morning.


  1. Hemlock! Your photos are astounding! My envy grows :^) I am back home now. Back to "real life." I continue to marvel at your writing and your eye for pictures. You rock. Safe Travels my friend...

    1. Aww thanks so much, SlowBro! Congrats on making it to Canada, my friend! Hope you are having a good re-entry.

      I've really been enjoying my time back on the trail, taking the time to enjoy it, and really getting into photography. Sure has been a different than when I was trying to make more miles, but I'm grateful I got both of these experiences.

  2. Your slower miles sure make for better writing and photos. Many of us appreciate those details. Glad you were able to enjoy this area before the smoke from the fires obliterated your views

    1. Yes, it's incredible how having the precieved pressure off of doing a thru hike changed things for me. I can't believe how lucky I am to have just snuck through before the fires. WOW. Things change so quickly.