Distance: 13.6 miles (out and back)
Start: Lightning Creek
Camp: Lightning Creek
Highlights: Epic views of Ross Lake and the snowcapped Cascades between intermittent clouds blowing up and over Desolation.
I woke up with the feeling that I was carrying a lot of food weight and I needed to pare it down some before making the 5500′ climb out of the valley and onto the ridge that would take me to the PCT. Plus, I was ahead of schedule so it would just be silly to press on carrying that extra food. I decided to burn a day with an unplanned summit of Desolation Peak – and another unpermitted night at Lightning Creek. I packed a big lunch and lots of snacks and left everything else in a bear box WITHOUT drain holes. Even with my stove and all of my cold whether gear my pack felt amazingly light. I bounced up the switchbacks and over snow to what may have been the fire lookout that Jack Kerouac manned in Desolation Angels.