Just returned from a three-day trip to the Granite Chief Wilderness near Truckee, California and Lake Tahoe. The PCT cuts through the area, no doubt adding to the foot traffic in summer. Right now, except for day hikers (which we didn’t see until hiking out on Father’s Day), we had the place to ourselves. Although a few patches of snow remain, the trail is mostly dry and mosquito free. We hiked in 2.5 miles (steep for about the first two miles, then flattening out) to the largest lake in Five Lakes Basin. A pretty spot with red fir, jeffrey pines and some lodgepole. Some wildflowers. Since you can camp no closer than 600 feet from the lake or 200 feet from the stream flowing out, we tucked ourselves away from trail where there was abundant downed wood for a fire. Days were around 70 degrees and nights about 40. With my ultralight backpacking companions, The Duke and Wild Bill, I explored the Whiskey Creek area (there’s a old cabin used now by rangers) and we headed south along the PCT, which in the tall trees was too deep in snow still to comfortably follow the trail. From our basecamp, we hiked about 10 miles a day with lots of ups and downs. But we took our time, stopped to check out flowers, marvel at a view or enjoy the shade a big pine and a warm breeze.
Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.