Exploring the world with Curtis and Peggy Mekemson
The Desolation Wilderness: Hiking on the PCT at 75
I ran my first Sierra Trek through the Desolation Wilderness in 1975. The year before, I had created a nine-day, hundred-mile backpack trip as a fundraiser for the American Lung Association in Sacramento. With high hopes of not losing anybody, I had chosen a route across the Sierra Nevada Mountains that was used for a popular horse-endurance race from Squaw Valley to the foothill town of Auburn. Known as the Tevis Cup Trail, it was well marked with yellow ribbons and horse poop.
While the route had been easy to follow, we had been faced with struggling up and down steep canyon trails in 100 degree plus weather (37.7 C) in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I’d vowed to keep future trips higher in the mountains. My 1975 adventure had zigzagged through the Granite Chief and Desolation Wilderness areas, occasionally touching on what would become the finalized PCT.
When my plan to take my 13-year-old grandson into some of the more remote sections the Desolation Wilderness was cut short by his sprained ankle, I revised my plan and backpacked from Donner Pass to Echo Summit. I’ve already done posts on the Donner Summit through the Granite Chief Wilderness. Today’s photo essay will focus on Desolation.
As most of you are aware, the world famous traveling Bone has been ‘hiking’ with me on this journey. (He rides comfortably in a pouch and urges me to hike faster when I am making my way up steep mountains.) After coming out at Echo Lake, Peggy joined me on a day hike to take Bone back to his origin where my friend Tom Lovering and I found him south of Highway 50 in 1977 beside what is now the PCT. He has been traveling the world ever since.
NEXT POST: Lyla the Dog… NEXT BACKPACKING POST: The trail between Castle Crags State Park and Burney Falls.