Monday, August 3, 2015

Grizzly Peak, Part I

 On Friday, July 24, my teaching colleague, Joan Parkin, and I decided to check out the top of Grizzly Peak and try to locate the Devil's Punchbowl.  This was the second of four rigorous, high-altitude (for Plumas County) hikes I've taken in the past month.  The drought and the advancement of the season have taken their toll on my usual subject for this blog - blooming wildflowers and the bugs that land on them in various kinds of relationships ranging from resting, feeding, pollinating, and possibly some things we (or I) don't know about.  So, as I scroll through the photos taken on these hikes, I realize there's not much color besides green of foliage and blue skies, oh, and the brown surroundings.   So I'm taking "scenics."  I must admit, I really miss the wildflowers, so I might have to dip into the archive of years' past in order to tell the stories I want to tell.  For now, let's see what we could see from Grizzly Peak.  The entry point to the summit (above) has been blocked to motorized traffic, and that's a good idea.  The road gets very steep and consists of broken up rock of the slippery kind.  Some four-wheel-rive vehicles might have been able to get to the top but not without causing considerable damage.
 The first scene that I had to photograph was this snag just a few yards off the trail.  First we noticed the nice crop of Sagebrush at the base and we contemplated bringing some back home for incense.  In fact, this snag was so compelling, that we stopped here again on the way down for more photos and closer inspection.
 Just a few yards further, we came across this hardy pine which has obviously survived some really severe weather as indicated by the seriously snarled trunk.  Click on the photo for a closer view of the base of the tree.
 When the trail curved a bit southward along a ridge, we got our first good view of Quincy in the distance.
 Still further along, we looked westward and got a good view of Argentine Peak (foreground) and the Sierra Buttes (in the distance, center).
 There were two high points each of which could have been the actual summit of Grizzly Peak.  Along the ridge between them, we could look down into what we believe is the Devil's Punchbowl.  After several dry years, it didn't surprise us that it was bone dry.  Some older maps show a little lake down there, so we wonder when was the last time it contained water.  Maybe right after the snow melt.
 Another view.  A photo can't really capture the drama of the steepness of the slope beneath us.  The rock is so crumbly, this is definitely not a good place for rock climbing.
 We headed for the peak in the distance, the other high point that might actually be the summit of Grizzly Peak.  Click on this photo and you can see a pine tree at the summit which is where we ended up having lunch.  I hung my camera from a low branch while I ate lunch, then forgot to grab it when we headed back toward the car.  I had to take a round trip of about an extra mile to retrieve my camera.
 Here's another view of the Punchbowl.  There's no way I could finish a post of a trip like this without
including some color.  So, here's the only blooming wildflower I saw near the summit, and I don't even know what kind it is.  If nobody identifies it for me in the comments section, I know I'll find it eventually and come back to this post.
Meanwhile, it looks like I have enough photos for two more posts about this hike.  Then I'll move on to the hike I took the next day with my wife to the Lakes Basin.  We set out to hike around the Bear Lakes, but there were so many other hikes, we opted instead to head toward the Helgramite Lakes and the PCT above them, and maybe try to summit Mt. Elwell.  By the way, I know Hellgrammite is spelled wrong, but that's way it's spelled on my map!

1 comment:

  1. Loving the series Joe! Glad the camera was fixed, and in house to boot! Good to have tech savvy kids around!