Thursday June 25, 18.9mi/30.4km
Eightmile Creek (36.9/1200ft) to West Fork Clear Creek (55.8/2800ft) (CA)
I’ve been hiking blind on this trail, since they don’t give an elevation profile, or even elevations at all. I’m kinda glad I didn’t know how brutal today would be, with 7400ft of climbing. Ouch.
I left my campsite at 7:30, and immediately had to get my feet wet crossing Eightmile Creek.
The next hour was easy hiking, just a few PUDs and dodging the occasional poison oak.
There was a random trail sign on the ground near a small stream crossing… weird.
I searched for 10 minutes for the trail that would take me up the ridge, departing Smith Creek. I finally found it, overgrown and marked with some very faded flagging tape. After a half mile, the trail actually got much better, and was great all the way to the top. I climbed from 1400ft up to the summit of Mt Baldy, 5650ft. As I got higher, cool wildflowers started appearing.
And the trees disappeared, and good views everywhere!
I got to the summit at 1pm, and it was HOT.
My watch read 30C, way too hot to be hiking. So I drank a liter of water, ditched the pants, and got out my chrome dome (solar umbrella). Onward!
A mile past the summit, the trail was less defined. So, I followed the purple flowers.
I dropped into a burn area, and as expected, the trail was very difficult to find/follow.
Eventually, I left that charred forest and climbed up to a small tarn at the base of Harrington Mountain.
I was surprised to see a moose standing in the water, and he was surprised to see me, and he ran away quickly.
I climbed up to Harrington Mountain, surprising a bear along the way. The views from the top were grand.
The view back to Mt Baldy, where I was 3 hours ago.
I left the summit after only a few minutes, I had 5 more miles to go and it was already 4:30.
Another burned forest came soon after, and it looked so cool with all the bent trees.
I flew down the mountain, dropping 2000ft in an hour, and then I had a quick M&Ms break. The last part of the day dragged on, as the trail kept crossing the West Fork Clear Creek. I tried to keep my feet dry but after the 5th crossing I gave up, mostly to save time. I got to a flat spot at 7:30 and called it good enough to camp. I set up, then walked 200m away to cook dinner, since I saw several bears today. Gonna sleep great tonight!