The 5 hikers +1 started out yesterday for Pine Mountain and Lion Peak on the Desert Divide. We expected the start to be on the cold side – high 30’s, but it turned out to be in the low 30’s. The surprise to us came when we first started to see the Divide from Highway 371 above the Paradise Café. There was snow on top! These mountains are only ~7,500 feet and we didn’t think the recent storm snowed down that low. Matt, Kevin, and John were prepared with micro spikes and waterproof shells. The rest of us, not so much.
None of the concerns mattered until we reached the route to summit Pine. Until that point the snow was soft, only 2-3 inches deep, and only on the north facing and shaded parts of the trail. At the Pine turnoff there was a lot of bushwhacking, but the only problem was the snow-covered brush and trees. We were soaking wet when we summitted. Luckily the weather had warmed to the 50’s and there was no wind. Matt and Kevin did their free climbing thing to reach the summit boulders. John, Srisuda, Uwe and Jack enjoyed lunch and the sunshine. As usual, on the way down from the summit we ran into a perfectly good trail that would have required no bushwhacking if we’d have found it on the way up.
On the way back, we did a quick summit of Lion Peak. After that it was almost all downhill to the cars. Matt got significantly ahead of the group and missed a turn, so he recorded an extra mile of hiking and got to see Tunnel Spring :). Srisuda was the only casualty with a couple of blisters, it was her first hike in over 5 month. Otherwise another great day. (Please click on any picture to enlarge to see slide show)
Approximate hike stats:
15 miles, 3475 ft elevation gain, 9h away from vehicles (incl. ~1h 45min in breaks)
(Photos by Uwe unless otherwise noted.)