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Neglected TR

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Neglected TR

Postby Jimr » Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:58 pm

Well, Russ wanted TRs. I was foraging through a drawer and found a log book from a trip that I had not posted before.

TR Wishon Reservoir to Road's End.

7-23-89
A long, hard day!!! We set my little blue Toyota Celica at Road's End and waited for our ride to Wishon. Soon, my parents rolled in and we were on our way. We arrived at Wishon Reservoir at around 11am and started up trail about 11:30am trying to gain as much time as possible. We stopped to take a meadow shot, then trudged on.

We hit Crown Pass at 7:30pm hurting and exhausted. We hiked down the back side very quickly as the sun was disappearing. Half Moon lake soon came into view. It's a rather large, beautiful, clear jewel that lies snug against a rugged backdrop of granite-type rock. We stayed at an excellent campsite near the lake. While starting supper, my stove caught fire right up to the fuel bottle. It seems the o-ring was cracked and leaking. After a bit of a struggle, I finally buried the whole thing with dirt.

To deal with the drip for the rest of the trip, I positioned an aluminum plate underneath to catch the fuel, then draped a handywipe over it to keep something between the fuel and the fire. After each round with the stove, I added a few chunks of bark to soak up the fuel and used it to start the evening's fire.

7-24-89
We awoke early and went fishing for breakfast. Don and I caught 13 brook trout, so I let one go to make an even dozen for breakfast. They were delicious! I took some pictures, then we started off toward the North Fork Kings river. At 11:00am (I guess we were in no hurry). I took a shot of Big Maxon meadow against the Blackcap Basin and one shot of the LeConte divide through the trees.

The rest of the day was a ****! At about 10,000ft, the afternoon thunderstorms rolled in. We donned rain gear, but the rain worsened, so we setup camp on a giant granite slab near the stream, started supper and played cards next to the fire.

7-25-89
We started out early today compared to our prior days (9:30am) heading toward Cathedral lake.We hit Portal lake around 11:00am and stopped for lunch. After lunch, we moved on with the goal of hitting Cathedral lake for the night, but followed the wrong outlet stream and ended up at a small unnamed lake just south at 12:30pm. Oh well. We were only slightly off. We found a packer's campsite on the north side of the lake and setup camp. I expected to see thunderstorms with hail to hit, perhaps around 5.00pm. By 8:00pm, the skies were clear and we were looking at a clear, beautiful night.

7-26-89
We got up before sunrise and watched the light creep over the peaks of the White divide and Kettle ridge. We've now entered into the Mt. Goddard quadrangle. Tomorrow, we go over the divide into Goddard creek (it was some years before I found that the col had a name; Finger col). I caught 5 trout this morning using gold Kastmasters, hauled them back to camp and cooked them on a stick over an open campfire (best way). The trout are golden/rainbow hybrids and they fight, jump and throw lures with the best of them. I managed to catch 1 trout in the afternoon.

7-27-89
After climbing a ridge separating us from Cathedral lake, we finally got a glimpse of the small cut in the White divide that we were to cross. I had no idea whether or not we could make it over this, but Portal lake was a good indication that it was passable. In my way of thinking anyway. After an arduous climb to the 11,500ft notch in the divide, we entered a whole new world. The canyon to which Goddard creek drains is awesome. From the lake looking west lies the divide we just crossed, made up of mostly peppered grey/white granite and on the other side, looking East, Ragged spur. Ragged spur is made mostly of dark brown rock with a layer of red rock. Both sides meet at the lowest lake in the drainage (our goal for the night) and form a narrow canyon running to the middle fork Kings river. I had no clue whether or not this canyon was passable, but there was no car to return to. Don and I caught 8 or 9 golden/rainbow hybrids. Fightin' Fish! When I was at this lake in 1985, it was full of small 6 to 8 inch golden trout. The hybrids went upward to around 12 inches.

7-28-89
We woke up at 6:30am. It was about 40f out. The warmer air of the San Juaquin valley doesn't make it into this canyon like it does on the western slopes. After breakfast, we headed toward Ionian basin for a day hike. It must be colder than 40f because the condensation on my bag quickly turned to frost when left out on a rock to dry.

We got to the base of our climb up to Ionian basin, but Don's shoes weren't dealing with the boulders so we turned back to camp. At camp, we decided to try and hit the car in two days. Cut the trip a bit short and get back to REAL food. We packed up and headed down Goddard creek after lunch. Hiking down Goddard creek was five miles of pure HELL! We had to stay high on the mountain because the canyon was so narrow, starting with a waterfall at the outlet of the lake. There were many false ledges that led to sheer dropoffs, so I was reduced to route finding without pack, then go back for Don and the packs to move them forward over and over again.

We finally hit a ravine that afforded us access down to the river. We boulder hopped for hours, crossing the river back and forth many times. We eventually hit a flat wash that made walking easier, but this gave way to dense, low-lying vegetation that we were forced into many times. Climbing up the banks each time was nearly futile. The earth crumbled almost faster than we could step forward. Once in the bush choked forest, we were attacked by bramble vines covered with long, sharp fangs. They seemed to reach right out and attack with every other step. I let Don lead for awhile. While I was looking down trying to avoid the spiny octopus arms, a limb of a tree smashed me in the face. It seems my partner has no clue that when you load up a limb, then let her fly behind you that it automatically nails your partner in the mouth. Don was fired as leader. Finally, we were so extremely exhausted we had to stop and camp. The only place we could find was a small wash next to the river. We spent the evening drying our socks and shoes over a small fire wondering what we were going to do with our food. There was nowhere to hang it that wasn't easily accessible to bears. The food bags made decent pillows. This was definitely the hardest work I'd ever done (or so I thought) and I dug holes slung jackhammers for a living.

7-29-89
I swore I would NEVER hike cross country lower than 10,000ft again! (I wish I'd re-read that a couple of years ago. Perhaps I would have thought twice before heading down into Tehipite valley. Nah, in fact this trip is where I got the idea and it was possibly slated for this trip except for the fact it was about 14 miles down river from our crossing point).

After heavy boulder hopping and climbing straight up and around cliffs, to sliding waist deep into the river and climbing through burned forest, we were both exhausted, physically and mentally and it was only 1:30pm. We finally made it to the middle fork Kings river and immediately crossed over to find a decent campsite and trees to hang food. What did I do? I went fishin'!!

7-30-89
At dusk, I sat there in our nice campsite totally exhausted. I'd never experience this totally drained feeling that I was feeling at that very moment. We headed up the Monarch divide with three quarts of water (well, two quarts and a quart of whiskey and crystal lite. I didn't realize our toddies were still in one of the canteens)(yes, canteens. It was 1989 after all) and it wasn't enough. This was the steepest, driest, dustiest trail I'd ever been on. After two days of being waterlogged in the creek, we were now about dying of thirst. We gained about 4,000ft of elevation in five miles and had to do the last two miles or so without water. We picked raisins out of the gorp (does anyone even pack gorp any more?) for their limited water and sugar content. We thought several times of dumping our packs and trudging toward the water. Fortunately, we decided that this would be a last resort. Finally, I could hear the faint sound of running water. We doffed the packs and went running for a face plunge into the stream to get our fill. We, again, found a perfect packer's camp and setup for the night. Tomorrow, the south fork Kings and the car. It will be a welcomed site.

We've had lots of fun, some real tests of endurance in mind and body, but now it's time to go home! By this time tomorrow, we will have crossed all three forks of the Kings river. Some of the roughest country I'd ever traveled.

7-31-89
After a long five miles to Granite pass, we started down 11 miles to the little blue brute (aka my car), double time. We met a few hikers on their way up and talked with them for a moment, mostly where they were headed and where we'd been. The usual small talk. A feeling of real accomplishment rolled over me now that the long, mellow down hill end unfolded before us. I was glad, in fact I had planned, we didn't start at the south fork. It's too much elevation gain for a first day.

This section of King's canyon was definitely the most rugged area I'd ever been to in the Sierra.
Last edited by Jimr on Sat Nov 08, 2014 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neglected TR

Postby rlown » Sat Nov 08, 2014 10:05 am

See, some of those old trips are the best!

All heck breaks loose, but it's still a good memory. I remember my Coleman Peak 1 doing what they do best (erupt in first day flame jitters) and me trying to reach in and turn off the fuel. Still have the stove, still works, but the shutoff valve plastics are a little melted. I had to press the melted plastic back on the valve shortly after it erupted.

7-28-89 sounds like a character-building day. :nod:

thanks for the TR, Jimr!

Russ
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Re: Neglected TR

Postby sekihiker » Sun Nov 09, 2014 9:45 pm

Your trip report sure brought back lots of memories. Thanks for posting.

A friend of mine and I went down Goddard Creek in 1989, also. We found the lower third of the canyon about as miserable a hike as we had experienced to that point. However, our trip had an additional epic bushwack down Gardiner Creek to a crossing of the S Fk Kings above Mist Falls. It pretty much cured both of us of low elevation bush wacking. http://sierrahiker.home.comcast.net/~si ... index.html

In 1996, a trip up Goddard Creek from the mouth of the Enchanted Gorge bypassed the lower part and left me with much more pleasant memories of the canyon. http://sierrahiker.home.comcast.net/~si ... index.html
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Re: Neglected TR

Postby Jimr » Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:45 pm

I remember the fire you wrote about. I was on the Monarch divide looking North toward Goddard Creek and Enchanted Gorge and could easily see the plume when the fire first started. This shot doesn't show the fire, but it is a nice view with two of the most ominous canyons in all of the Sierra.
hisierra8.JPG


Here's my shot of the three sirens & Scylla circa 1985
hisierra4.JPG
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