Some pictures from a Labor Day weekend hiking trip. Brett and I first went
north on the 5 to Mount Shasta. After about 10 hours of driving (Mapquest
claimed it would be 550 miles but my odometer said 610) we arrived at Bunny
Flat Campground around 2am friday night/saturday morning. After a solid
5 hours of sleep, we got up and were on the trail by 8am. The altitude was
a real killer. Coming from essentially sea level and spending a total of
about 6 hours at 7000 feet was not adequate preparation for this hike.
We took the "Avalanche Gulch" route, as pictured below. I think that
picture was taken a month or so before we went, since we didn't have that
much snow to deal with.
After many laborious hours of hiking, we summitted around 2:30pm. Here's
a picture from near the top. Unfortunately, the clouds rolled in as we
approached the summit.
Even on September 1, the snow was abundant near the top, with glaciers
surrounding, but not covering the summit. Here I am at the summit, gasping
for breath in the thin air at 14,162 feet.
As we descended, the clouds got thicker and the air became almost cold.
Here, I'm walking down to the "Red Banks", just above Avalanche Gulch where
we ascended earlier in the day and were about to descend.
After 10 hours of painfully unacclimatized hiking, we were back at Bunny
Flat, ready for a warm dinner and a good night's rest. Here's a video I
found on the web showing Shasta for the day we hiked. Note how the clouds
appeared just before our summit time.
Shasta MPEG 9/1/01
The next morning, we packed up and drove to Lassen Volcanic Park. We hiked
up Lassen Peak with no trouble. Compared to Shasta, it was like a walk in
the park. Here I am at the summit. Amazingly, Shasta was visible from
here, about 70 miles in the distance. It's just a bit lower on the
horizon, though, so no picture.
After our stop at Lassen, we continued on through Lake Tahoe and on to
White Mountain Peak. The drive to the White Mountain trailhead involved
a climb from about 4000 feet to about 12000 feet, the last 16 miles (and
2000 vertical) of which were on a steep, winding, unpaved road. My trusty
Honda Accord did a great job of getting us to the trailhead. At 2am, we
parked, dressed in our warm clothes, and started our ascent to the peak.
This was my first experience night hiking. The moon was full and provided
ample light, but after 600+ miles of driving, a hike of Lassen, and the
previous day's Shasta adventure, we were hurting on this hike. A couple
miles into the hike was a "Research Station". This was eerie. We saw a
sign earlier that told us to refrain from hiking off the main trail due
to "Squirrel Research". Then, we ran across this pen of sheep. Who knows
what those University of California folks are up to now.
We reached the summit around 5am. The 7 mile approach was fairly flat and
an easy hike, since it only gained about 2000 feet of vertical. However,
at 14,250 this peak was not the simple hike we had imagined. We tried to
get some rest before the sun came up. Unfortunately, it was a bit too
cold and windy at the summit. Brett noticed that there was frost on the
ground as we descended, so the temperature on the summit, where we tried
to rest, was probably in the 20's. With the wind, lack of oxygen, and
our general exhaustion, we decided it would be best to descend before we
started losing circulation and consciousness. We walked back to the car
as the sun rose, drove back out to the highway, and then I struggled to
stay awake for the drive home. I reached my apartment around 5pm, cleaned
a weekend's worth of accumulated dust and sweat from my tired body, and
lay down for a nice 16 hour nap.