Anyway, similar to a hike a couple weeks ago, I drove to the Chimney Creek Campground but this time hiked south on the PCT. I had another motive for choosing this hike which was to reach the Sierra Crest at high elevation in Kern County. This trail starts in Tulare County, but after 6.5 miles crosses the county line at an elevation of 7,000 feet. This is the weekend where birders scour Kern County as part of the "America's Birdiest County" effort. Kern has won this in the inland county category for many years.
|Lamont Peak in the distance|
Even though it was painfully dry, the relatively decent winter rain storms in the area made for continuing excellent flowers. If I knew anything about flower names, I would caption these photos...
The views from the crest were impressive, as I knew they would be.
|Looking east: Indian Wells Valley from the crest|
|Looking west: Domeland Wilderness and the Kern Plateau|
|Jeffery Pines inside Kern County|
Once in Kern County I found what I was looking for, a wonderful stand of Jeffery Pines, rare this far south on the Sierra Crest. While the habitat was what I hope for, the bird diversity was minimal. I heard a Northern Flicker call, and a Spotted Towhee was singing enthusiastically just below me. I sat and had lunch for about half an hour but magical birds just didn't materialize.
Overall it was a very enjoyable day with over 30 species seen and 14 miles hiked.