Our next rendezvous with Freestyle and Benton is Donner Pass. We stayed at Donner Memorial State Park located close to Truckee the night before meeting Brad and then again the night of his arrival. The park is nice but huge. Way too many giant RV's and loud generators so represented for us the "other" kind of camping. Ed and I camp somewhere between the camping Brad is doing on the PCT and the large RV owners. We have a tiny tent camper, spending all of our time outside, except for sleeping or inclement weather.
We arrive at Donner Pass early so we can be angels on the trail before Freestyle and Benton arrive. In order to meet on the east side of Highway 5, we thought we needed to park on the west side and hike under the freeway. It turned out there was a trail from the east I-5 rest stop to the PCT. The sign had been removed so we found the rest stop from the west side trail. Beautiful trail though, so no regrets.
This was our first angel stop where no PCT thru-hikers came through. We had many day hikers and even some horseback riders -- all enjoyed our cold drinks -- but no thru-hikers. We sat and read for two or three hours waiting. Finally, Brad got through on the cell and requested we meet him at Sugar Bowl instead as Benton was very tired and limping. We dug a small hole in the forest duff, filled it with ice, and left cold drinks for the hikers passing by.
Off to Sugar Bowl, the ski area of my high school ski days. Memory lane! All of this part of California is so close to my home town of Auburn, and where I spent so much time as a student in high school and college. I had decided I would call no friends or family, and enjoy California as a tourist, but it seemed strange.
|Lovely stream on the west side of Highway 5 at Donner Pass|
|Fran at the culvert going under I-5|
|PCT under I-5 at Donner Pass|
|PCT and location of our angel drop|
|Beautiful Donner Pass|
|Here's the crew at Sugar Bowl bookended between Freestyle & Ed|
Benton is already in the back of the Element sleeping