Thursday, May 22, 2008

life and death in pine creek

I set off from the house yesterday intending to boulder/run in the Tablelands, but clouds of blowing dust across Hwy 6 led me to ditch my bouldering plans and detour NW into the canyons of the Sierra for a hike/run. I figured that the Rock Creek trail would be fairly sheltered from the wind and exited 395 at the Rovana/Lower Rock Creek Road. A mile up the road I turned around and decided to check out Pine Creek instead. I hadn't been up there since the 2004 Sierra Challenge, but I am planning to do a ridge traverse there later this summer and it seemed like worthy of a recon.

The trail overlooks the massive, but inactive Pine Creek
tungsten mine and Pine and Morgan Creek Falls before it plateaus out around 9600 ft. The creeks were raging with the recent snow melt. Granite Park was completely snowed in, but I am looking forward to returning when the alpine meadows are in full view. The wind was surprisingly calm considering the high country weather forecast and the valley conditions, although I started getting cold and opted to turn around at Pine Lake.

On the drive out I passed two roadside crosses, both well maintained. Curiosity took the best of me and I decided to look into what led to the demise of these two individuals. I managed to find information on one, who died of hypothermia while trying to get help after she and her mother became stranded in their car in whiteout conditions. If I had to croak somewhere, better it be in the mountains than on the L.A. freeway.

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