Friday, June 19, 2015

6.19.15 ..... Castle Peak

Hike Details:
  • Elevation – 9,103 ft.
  •  Location – near I-80 just across from Boreal Ridge Ski Resort
  • Mileage – 7 1/2  miles round-trip
  • Time – 3 1/2 hours
  • Route – see map and description below
  • Weather – Perfect
Take the exit at Boreal Ski Resort, turn left under the freeway and drive just a little bit around a bend to park at the trailhead.
 See those craggy peaks FAR off in the distance? Yeah, that's where we're hiking. So...one foot in front of the other and pretty soon those peaks start getting closer and closer.  First we hiked down a gravel road until a fork in the road to the right took us over to connect with the Pacific Crest Trail.
 We passed by some lovely meadows before diving into the thick of the forest.
 And a higher-up meadow...
 Those rocks are getting a little closer...
 We reached the saddle where the PCT heads North and met up with some fun PCT thru-hikers. (I've learned their trail names are DirtyBowl and DoubleHappiness. I'm sure there are fun stories behind those. Hm, I think I need to have a trail name.) We quizzed them about their journey and found out one of them is writing a blog about her experience called "The Importance of Elsewhere". (Click here for the link or I'm putting a link on my sidebar.) It's awesome! Seriously great writing, for one thing. And if you sign up to follow her blog by email, it's like you get a little glimpse of what it might be like to do a thru-hike. I'm living vicariously through reading her great trail journal and wishing I were 30 years younger and could just take off for a few months on such a cool adventure! But for now we're planning to be trail angels on our next hike. (Plus we need to get some more colorful hiking gear! We love their style!)
Okay, back to the trail and time to start making our way up the rocky section to the summit. The last time we hiked up here was crazy windy, almost to the point of knocking us over, so I was happy to have nice calm weather this time. Though as soon as we hit the ridge line, the wind came right up the side of the mountain and was pretty strong. 
 And I had forgotten how steep this trail was. There was plenty of slipping and sliding on the way up, and even more on the way down, not to mention the huffing and puffing as we hit the higher altitude. (That's what I'm blaming it on, anyway.)
 But then we had this view...
 and this view...
And then there was this view...
or even this one...

There was 360° worth of spectacular views! And a nice little perch with a cave-like overhang from which to view all the spectacular-ness.
 Here we are at the top -- victory!
 Not too shabby for some old ladies. (Okay, I'm old, they're not!)

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