The Road to Mt. Shasta Ascends Through the Eastern Sierras

2 08 2008

The week before the scheduled summit trip, I spent 4 nights at Rock Creek Lake to acclimate to high altitude. I actually camped for 4 nights in a row in a tent! The altitude at the campground is 9700 feet, and to that I did a moderate hike each day. There were a few caches along the way to the lake and around Bishop, but no caches on any of the hikes!

Before I go further, I do want to thank two of the people who helped me with my preparation for summiting Mt. Shasta: Ranboze (a geocacher) and Jody (a hiking/singing buddy). Jody came up with me for these training hikes and camping, and Ranboze provided a wealth of knowledge and encouragement as I worked to accomplish this goal over the last year!

This is the path to Dorothy Lake, up around 10,000 feet:

This butterfly was showing off:

It started raining during this hike, and you can see the drops in this little lake:

Near the end of the hike, I shot my first bit of video with my new Canon SureShot!

The next day, we hiked up to Ruby Lake. There are a string of 9 lakes along the creek below it:

I couldn’t resist a good nap with Ruby Lake as my back yard for the afternoon:

On the third day, I headed over to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine forest, for a 4.5 trek through the remarkable trees. Here you can see a young one and an old one right next to each other:

This is a view from the trail, looking more or less east:

These are a few of the many ancient trees in the Methuselah grove:

A few of these trees are over 4500 years old!

I did get a couple of photos at the more noteworthy geocaches.
These hills have ears

Dazee’s Field of Dreams
They were using the adjacent area to stage helicopters to fight the huge number of forest fires in the area:

Yep, next stop = Mt. Shasta!!

The Road to Mt. Shasta…. continues with Sawmill Mtn.

26 06 2008

My next hike to train for Shasta was past Mt. Pinos and on to Sawmill Mountain. I camped overnight at McGill to acclimate a bit to the elevation so I could walk farther at least little more comfortably. This hike was 8 miles RT, and turned out to be quite a workout. The first leg to Mt. Pinos felt easy, but the next peak involved more elevation loss and gain than I had thought. I really had to descend about 400′, then back up 300′ in a couple of miles. The views up there are just as nice, though.

Sawmill Mountian (sic)

This is the last of the snow!

I noticed this odd plant, which appears to be fungal. The color is really brilliant, though:

I made it! I ran in to one other person today, just in time for him to take my picture.

Summit Log

After bagging this peak, I went on to find a cache further on and back down a hill. This meant my return trip was up, down, up and across! I was SO tired after that… and my feet were really hurting. (sigh) I’ll need to break in the boots more…

So, that last cache was also an Altoids tin in a rock outcropping! I despaired of finding it, but decided to get really determined, and did after some searching. I had forgotten to bring the spoiler photo! At least I was successful… whew!

Sheepish Grouse

The Road to Mt. Shasta… begins with Mt. Pinos

15 06 2008

Last week, I began my training for climbing Mt. Shasta in mid-July. I’ll be ascending that singular mount with local guides, but really want to be physically prepared by hiking and sleeping at higher altitudes as much possible between now and then.

My first step was to summit Mt. Pinos, which is almost a drive-up, but still requires about a 3 mile RT walk up a road from the parking lot. The peak is at 8831 feet, and coming from sea level, that’s enough to make the walking rather strenuous, even with only a gentle 500 foot elevation gain!

I know I have my work cut out for me to prepare for Shasta!

Here are the caches for the day:
Once A Pond, Almost A Pond
Pinon Pines Pit Stop
Pine Mountain Wildlife
Per Ardua Ad Astra
Space Mountain
Mt. Pinos Cave Dweller
Mt. Pinos – 8831 ft
Peace Valley – B44
Peace Valley – 297
Peace Valley – 107
Peace Valley – Panorama
Peace Valley – 108
Peace Valley – Benchmark

Here are the photos for the day:

Above is the summit benchmark. These are a couple of the wonderful vistas from up there:

Here’s a sign about the trail ahead, but not taken today:

On the way back, I managed to get a photo of a local:

I continued my adventure here this week, so more on this area in an upcoming post!