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PCT 2015 Day 71: Wild Flowers and Trail Magic

  • Start: 1,066.9
  • End: 1,087.3
  • Miles: 20.4
  • Camp: Below Echo Summit

The trail was a forest walk early on, so it was hard to get excited, but it opened to views of blue lakes as the morning wore on. I was slightly frustrated with the winding path again, criss-crossing the hill and rarely heading in the direction I expected. 

We descended into the forest once more, stopping at a lakeside for lunch. The trail seemed to cross other trails popular with day hikers although I wasn’t sure how they had gotten there. The issue with the maps I’m using is that they only cover the PCT corridor and depending on the direction the trail goes in that map section could completely miss out busy areas nearby. No warning of civilisation. 

We arrived at Carson Pass to find the reason for the number of day hikers. The trailhead and permitting station is right by the road, and is a popular day use area for the wild flowers. There were volunteers from the station cooking up hot dogs for thru-hikers, and we stopped for a while to enjoy the hot food.

On the other side of the road we hiked across a sloping meadow with a creek running through it, brushing through tall vegetation. In this section it is a mix of large leaves and white spikes, fine leaves and purple flowers looking like a cross between buddleia and sticky weed, and mint.

As we climbed up into rocky scree again, we saw maybe the last marmot of the trip. I hope not, but the trail is at a lower elevation and it strikes me as less appealing for these creatures.

Wild flowers adorned the afternoon as we walked towards Showers Lake: purple daisies, irises, red needles, small pink flowers low to the ground, orange dandelion type flowers, blue and purple flowers on tall stalks.

At the last water stop we met Little Foot who originally intended to section hike as far as Lone Pine, but has since quit her job to extend her hike. Shortly after we met new people Orny and Granny. Not quite a bubble, but nice to see other long distance hikers after so many day hikers.

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