Sunday, May 22, 2016

Day 19- Rapidly Changing Terrain

May 21, 2016
Tentsite(276.7) to Holcomb Crossing Camp(294.1) 17.4 Miles

Wow, was it cold last night! With the windchill it was probably close to 10 degrees. My sleeping bag performed admirably, my sleeping pad on the other hand did not. I was nice and toasty on top, but cold underneath. I felt like a rotisserie chicken. I slowly kept rolling over to try to stay warm. Understandably, I didn't get the greatest night of sleep. I finally dragged myself from my sleeping bag around 6:00. I got changed and packed up as fast as I could. It took about 45 minutes before I could feel my fingers and toes. I was not a happy camper. When the weather makes me miserable is when I usually question why I am out here putting myself through this. As it always happens when my thoughts go in that direction I got a great reminder. 
Scenes like this are why I'm out here

As the sun rose fully it quickly warmed up. It wasn't exactly hot out today, 48 degrees was the high, but it was pleasant to hike in. The lake in the picture above is Big Bear Lake. We came through here on the bus Thursday morning. It was pretty cool to see it from another point of view. Most of the day was spent hiking gradually downhill. We are rapidly leaving the forest behind. Some of the day was in the forest, other parts had a distinctive desert feel to them. In the early morning I hiked through an old fire area. The fire must have been a few years ago because you could clearly see the new growth. It had what I can only describe as a hopeful beauty to it. 
Trees that survived the fire
Hillside that didn't fair very well
Growth amongst devastation

I hiked alone for most of the day. I was so cold when I got up and left that everyone else was still in their sleeping bags or getting ready to leave. After about 9 miles I came to a horse campground that had a privy and a picnic bench. The rest of the group caught up to me there. We wanted to hike a 22-25 mile day, but as we studied our maps we discovered that there was a long stretch with no camping sites listed. We settled on hiking a 17 mile day to the last guaranteed camping spot. Since it was going to be such an easy and early day we took a really long break at the horse camping area. Spaceman left before the rest of us and I left soon after him. Even with the sun out it was too cold for me to sit around for too long. Towards the end of the day Outro passed me while I was taking a short break. A few miles later I caught up to her at a stream crossing. She was taking the opportunity to wash some clothes. This is only the second or third time I've seen running water on the trail. Luckily someone had placed a log over the stream to make crossing it easier. I usually dislike crossing streams on logs, but since this will be very common in the Sierra I was glad for the practice. 
Successful log crossing

Outro and I hiked together to our final camping spot only to discover that it was overrun by a Boy Scout troop. Just before entering the Whites last year we experienced what it is like to camp next to Boy Scouts. We decided to hike back a mile to avoid that unpleasantness. As we were setting up camp Warren(now called Uturn), Hawkeye, Evac, and F$&K It caught up to us here. Spaceman was nowhere to be seen. We figured he must have hiked a little farther on and risked not finding a suitable camping spot. We hope to find him tomorrow morning when we get to the hot springs. We are all hoping to get there before noon tomorrow to avoid the locals that will be there. Everyone is excited to soak our sore muscles for a little bit. It looks to be another cold night, but at least the winds have calmed down some. 

Fear not to try the mountain passes.
They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusistic action.
- John Muir


  1. What happened to your rock hopping skills? You don't need that stinkin' log!

  2. Darn those pesky kids! Lol��

    1. I must be getting old. I sound like that old man shaking my gusts screaming "you damn kids"

  3. I like your take on the new growth,( hopeful beauty to it). You're seeing renewal up close! The wonders of this earth in the circle of life.