I had a fantastic trip to Paradise and Warren Lakes this weekend. While I want to write about it, I’m not feeling the urge to write a narrative. So…
- The Rangers were pretty unhelpful and didn’t know much about the section of the PCT that I would be hiking. But “Dave” at the Ranger Station – a guy who was there to buy a woodcutting permit – knew the area like it was his backyard. Thanks for the awesome advice, Dave.
- Once the I-80 hum disappeared I had this overwhelming feeling that it was great to be out of the city. The forest was lush, with bright colors everywhere, and the air smelled post-rain fresh.
- I saw three other people in the first few miles of my hike, then it was just me. Of the people I saw over the course of the trip, the coolest were the 70 and 80 year old people who hike (one runs!) the trail regularly.
- My pack weight and size got some nice validation from a hiker who told me that he “sees people going overnight with packs triple the size of that backpack.” Later on in the trip I saw those people.
- Nearly 4000′ of elevation change along the 8 mile hike in gave me some spectacular views.
- Toward the end, the trail became a bit iffy. Thanks to my map and compass, however, I knew exactly where I was going. Two thumbs up to myself for practicing my orienteering before I left.
- Paradise Lake lived up to its name, and I found a lovely campsite on its south-east side.
- Explored the ‘path’ to Warren Lake, which is really just a choose-your-own-adventure of rock scrambles. Because I was soloing I chose carefully, backtracking a couple of times where the going got too rough. Reaching the lake and looking back up at the six hundred foot rock wall you just climbed down is at once harrowing and exhilarating. I had very carefully marked my safe path down, and after stopping for a snack I reversed it to get back to camp.
- The PCT method for hanging a bear bag is the cleverest thing, really. Learn it.
- Spent a while searching for dry firewood,in the process learning some neat tricks for finding dry wood. (Remember, it had just rained for four days.)
- In the early evening I heard a few people arriving across the lake. Translation: it was weekend.
- I picked up a couple of semi-lost hikers on my way out from Paradise Lake. It’s fascinating to see what a difference it makes to have a map, compass, and some orienteering knowledge. They probably would have made it out, but it wouldn’t have been fun the way they were going. We hiked together for an hour or so, chatting about agriculture and economics. (The conversation was definitely nice, but my primary purpose of continuing on with them was to pass the time on a huge ascent.)
- I stopped by Peter Grubb Hut, where some Sierra Club volunteers had spent the day doing some maintenance work, prepping the cabin for winter. I took advantage of their offer for some s’mores and fresh-cut firewood, and got a great campsite recommendation from their organizer.
- A wonderful night. Dark dark dark and clear skies, lovely sunset and moonset, and a roaring campfire. Couldn’t be better.
- Having camped out not-too-far from the Hut, I decided to stash my pack there for the night. Heading back in the morning to pick it up I found two people sleeping in the cabin: one on a table and another on the kitchen counter. Whatever. My entrance didn’t disturb them, but as I quietly got my bag off of a shelf I felt something wet on my ankle. Their very sleepy and very cute dog had awakened and wanted to see what was going on. I hung out with the dog for a bit, and then left to make breakfast. I’m not sure if it’s to the dog’s credit that it went right back to sleep on my departure. A lovely dog, but not a great watchman.
- It was a cool morning, so after a nice hot breakfast and a bit of reading by an overlook I was anxious to get moving so I could take off some of my layers. The hike back was at a brisk pace, although my ‘brisk pace’ really drove home how much slower hiking is than city walking. Elevation changes, obstacle evasion, enjoying surroundings, wearing a pack… my brisk pace ended up being between two and two-and-a-half miles and hour. Not so brisk after all!
Once I made it out I felt great, needed a shower, and was looking forward to resting up. A successful trip!
posted by jay