Monday, May 26, 2014

Grouse Ridge, and more - All's Well That Ends Well

I left Roller Pass and headed down the valley. I didn't have a map of the area but I had been here once before. Things looked somewhat familiar, but that isn't saying much and most of the terrain in this part of the Sierras looks familiar. For a while I imagined what route might a wagon try to take up the valley. It worked for a while and it kept me for having to do any serious bushwackng.
The lower I got the less snow I saw and finally it disappeared altogether. I followed deer trails for a while and they dropped me on to some dirt roads. The dirt roads disappeared into a pile of old logging debris. Apparently I chose the wrong direction. 
It was quite sudden that I saw a well graded road directly below the deer trail I was following. I climbed down on to the roadbed and saw what appeared to be a big garage with a concrete roof below the level of the road and going under the road. I walked over to it and looked down and saw train tracks coming out of the garage, or were they going in? In either case what I was looking at was not a garage but the eastern end of a train tunnel. 
There was a loud sounding water fall on the other side of the road. I had run out of water a few minutes earlier so the timing was perfect. I filled up about two liters and had just started the Aqua Mira clock when I looked back over towards the mouth if the tunnel. I saw a bluish cloud coming out of the opening. I grappled my camera. My thought was that it would be cool to get a picture of a train exiting the tunnel. Maybe even a movie. I stood there on top of the tunnel waiting and waiting the smokie haze I continue to belch out of the opening, but no train. 
I went back and got my pack and brought it over. I sat there on the roof for over twenty minutes. Never saw a train.
I looked up my location on the maps applications that I had on my app and found there was a road that I could take from where I was all they way down to Donner Lake. I got here around noon with only one misstep when I turned too soon and ended up on a deadens at a top of a cliff over looking the lake. I backtracked about a half mile, kicked it into high gear and finished out my hike at a faster pace than when I started. Bring on the JMT!

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