Pacific Crest Trail (2019) 6: Mixed Bag

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 – 14.30 miles

Dawn heralded grey skies. I’d known that rain was in the forecast, but was disappointed when I left the campground and found the views marred by low-hanging clouds, my archrival. One of my archrivals (the other one is cows).

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A strong wind was driving the mist through the air and low shrubbery was the only shelter. It was the type of day when you just trudge along, looking down at your feet. That changed a few hours later however, when the ceiling lifted and beams of sunshine slipped between the clouds. The mountains looked beautiful mottled with light.

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Then, around 3:00 PM, the clouds dropped again and rain began, then hail, then rain, then hail, then snow. Though small, the hail stung since the wind drove it into my poor flesh. I encountered a guy who was bailing out at the next trailhead with the help of his wife. AND THEN… yes, the sun returned, the scenery was pretty, the wind was still freezing and unrelenting.

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I saw little hope of finding a sheltered campsite, but found one near the Mason Valley fire tank that was at least protected from the wind in the wind’s current direction. Now it’s raining again, and more rain is in tomorrow’s forecast. But this just wouldn’t be SoCal if I weren’t snowed and hailed on, right?

Some interesting trivia from eTrails at mile 52.1: ‘Pass a closed jeep road that once led into Oriflamme Canyon. The name of the mountain means “Golden Flame.” It comes from many reports of seeing “spirit lights” or balls of fire dancing on the mountain’s eastern slopes. Some scientists believe that these lights are the discharges of static electricity developed by the desert winds blowing over quartz boulders.’ I want to see?!

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