Mile: 1139.6 to 1160.8
up/down: 3900/4200 feet
News flies up and down the trail. Today we got word that our dear friends Tom and Liga tied the knot this past weekend. It's about time! Just kidding- a hearty congratulations from us both. Can't wait to celebrate with you this fall.
We climbed the 500 feet from camp to the crest above Squaw Valley ski resort. Along the way we crossed the Tevis (horse ride) and Western States 100 (hundred mile foot race from Squaw Valley to Auburn) trail. WS100 was run just last weekend and I could see the footprints of hundreds of runners. The race is always in late June. In 1998 when I ran it the first 25 miles were nearly 100 percent snow cover. That was an epic snow year, and while we've had our fair share of snow issues I know it could be a lot worse.
Once on the ridge we stayed there and yo-yo hiked up and down for miles. The ridge was fun and views were big. We had a singing Horned Lark, the first of those in quite a long while. The wildflowers were incredible all the way too. There are a few too many fires now in the west and the air is getting hazy, especially for photos in the afternoon. After the ridge we made a long up and down descent into Donner Summit.
We crossed highway 40 and wormed our way through a rocky ridge to Interstate 80 three miles away. We got under the interstate through a couple of tunnels.
There was no way we were camping anywhere within earshot of the interstate so pushed on and made the big climb to Castle Pass beside Castle Peak. Then a short drop got us to the Peter Grubb Ski Hut. While it is open to hikers, I've read the mice are problematic. We're happy camping in our tent nearby. With the big meadow just a sort distance away the skeeters are pretty thick. But nothing like what I hear the Southern Sierra is like right now (hi Bill !). The biting deer flies give us occasional problems but for the most part we continue to stay ahead of the mosquito curve.
We left Placer County this afternoon. Susan pretty much cleaned up on montane species and got her county list to over 100. Now we are in Nevada County since crossing highway 40. This requires us to step up our birding game as we are helping Steve and Diane Rose (and their team) with a Nevada County Breeding Bird Atlas. We will be making careful bird observations all day tomorrow and reporting back our findings.