Gnar crew finished up our time in the Lake Tahoe area and headed north to the Klamath National Forest, but not before having all you can eat sushi. The sushi chefs got more than they could bargain for with 6 trail crew members coming in fresh off hitch. After we nearly put the sushi place out of business we headed off on our journey. All season we had anticipated cold weather as we headed to Northern California and the cold rain on our travels proved right. We set up our camp in Carter Meadows at around 6,000 ft and went to sleep dreaming of the tread work to come.
The next morning when we awoke we were in a winter wonderland, which we promptly named the Gnarth Pole. Nearly 8 inches of snow had fallen overnight. The entire camp was buried deep. Our kitchen tarp had collapsed under the weight of the snow and buried everything. So before the coffee could be had to warm us up on the mid-20’s morning we had to dig our stuff out in the dark. After we finally dug everything out and had our warm beverages we headed out to the trail to see what could be done. There was even more snow up on the trail as we trampled through the snow looking for what might hint at a trail. We finally determined there was nothing we could do for the day as the snow kept coming down hard. We went back to camp and practiced our winter survival skills. We successfully built a fire despite the snow and rain. Then Tim showed us how to build a snow shelter called a quinsy. We went to bed that night with the snow still falling and wondering if our hitch was done before it could even get started.
The following day the snow finally stopped and we went further out on the trail to reassess conditions. By this time the snow on the trail was nearly knee deep but the sun was making promises of melt so we decided to wait it out. Friday was melt day as the sun sent loads of snow flying off the trees, which we were hoping would happen so we could at least brush the trail. In the mean time we headed a little west to the town of Mt. Shasta and learned of the geological history of the mountain and the surrounding area. Saturday we hiked about 4 miles out and caught our first cloudless view of the glorious Mt. Shasta. It was just the sight we needed to life our spirits and remind us of why we’re really out here.
The next few days we worked our way back from the Russian Wilderness border doing some seriously needed brushing. After about three and a half miles of that we decided to switch things up and finally get some tread work under way. After days of snow and endless lopping, the feel of a pick mattock and loose dirt under foot felt great. We hammered out nearly a thousand feet of tread work on our last day with a sunny 60 degrees. All in all we had the most trying weather we’ve had all season. We had over a foot of snow, rain, and temperatures ranging from low 20’s to mid 60’s. Through it all our shenanigans and laughter got us through the tough times. Now we’re headed out of the Gnarth Pole back down to Southern California for some much needed warmth and sunshine on our days off. Tune in next time for more gnarly adventures from the Gnar Crew.
PCT 1 – 10/4 – 10/14 The Gnarth Pole……Brrrrr
October 31, 2011 •