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Re: TR: Tehipite Fever 8/6/18 - 8/19/18

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 1:53 pm
by Mike M.
TR continued: Day 12 (August 17th, 2018) . . .

We got a leisurely start on Friday, airing out our sleeping bags and drying out our tents. We set out from camp at about 9:30, with the understanding we would meet up at the Piute Creek/JMT junction at the end of our hiking day. Van zoomed ahead as usual and soon had passed from my line of sight.

The landscape below Martha Lake is expansive, with various water courses funneling their way into the upper reaches of the San Joaquin River, which here is just a small creek. Lush meadows abound. Walking is easy.

I crossed the main branch of the creek, where I picked up traces of a path, which soon bloomed into a real trail. That was the first trail I had set foot on since leaving Colby Meadow back on the 9th. Near treeline, the canyon begins to narrow and all the various water courses have joined together to create a substantial creek.

Downstream, just minutes from the Hell-for-Sure pass junction, the canyon narrows substantially and you enter an area that is studded with steep cliffs and waterfalls.

To be continued . . . .

Re: TR: Tehipite Fever 8/6/18 - 8/19/18

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 2:20 pm
by Mike M.
TR continued: Day 12, part 2 . . .

Waterfalls everywhere.

Soon I was at the JMT junction, where I took a snack break in the shade near the base of the bridge. Only four more miles to go.

Beautiful, rugged country here.


I rolled into camp just before 5:00 pm. It took me a few minutes to find Van -- he was well hidden, at a campsite just up the hill from the bridge. This junction is heavily used, but surprisingly, we only saw one or two other campers here. In fact, I hadn't see any hikers that day until I reached the JMT junction.

To be continued . . .

Re: TR: Tehipite Fever 8/6/18 - 8/19/18

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 10:20 pm
by Mike M.
TR continued: Day 13

On Saturday, we hiked out of Piute Canyon and made our way up toward Piute Pass. We broke camp at 8:30. The first leg of the hike is exposed and has a reputation for being an oven, but our packs were light and we were in forest cover by 11:15. Van was far ahead of me as usual, but waited for me at Pinnacles Creek, where we watered up and had a snack. We agreed to hike up above Hutchinson Meadow and into upper Piute Canyon and find a place to camp at the first decent water.


I was starting to run out of gas. The trail was well away from Piute Creek at this point and I was worried I would have to hike a few more miles before we could find a suitable camp. Then, about a mile above the Honeymoon Lake junction, I stumbled on a beautiful grotto, right on the trail, with water trickling down a rocky hillside into a shady pool. I stopped here and tried the water -- it was cold and satisfying. I ate my last remaining bite of a Milky Way dark chocolate bar, then put my pack back on. But within a few moments, I spied a great camping spot a few hundred yards off the trail and decided to camp there. I was pooped. It was still early (about 3:00 pm) but there was no reason to push it, since tomorrow would be a short one anyway. So I camped here and used the grotto for my drinking water. (I'm not sure why, but for some reason I don't have a photo of the grotto or this nice campsite.)

To be continued . . .

Re: TR: Tehipite Fever 8/6/18 - 8/19/18

Posted: Thu May 16, 2019 4:38 pm
by Mike M.
TR continued: Day 14

Sunday we hiked out over Piute Pass to the North Lake trialhead. Van had camped at least an hour up the trail from me on Saturday. He waited for me to show up before beginning his final day on the trail.

I always forget that this trail is positioned well above the creek and lakes at the head of Piute Canyon and I regretted not cutting out cross-country on Saturday and walking up canyon closer to the creek. Next time.


One advantage of the high route trail is that it offers superb views of Mt. Humphreys.


We got to the trailhead by 3:15. I walked down to the parking lot to retrieve our car, then we loaded up the car and headed back to civilization. We stopped in Bishop for ice, Gatorade, and snacks, then headed north on Hwy 395 towards Reno, where Van had booked a nice hotel room close to the airport. We vowed to drive an hour or two, then stop for dinner. But as usual, nothing we saw on the way struck our fancy, so we ended up in Reno filthy dirty and really hungry. My memory is foggy on this, but I think we took showers first, then cruised the streets of Reno looking for a suitable non-chain restaurant that looked appealing. We blundered across a Thai restaurant called Moo Dang, in a strip mall across from a massage parlor. Sunday night, the restaurant almost ready to close, what could go wrong?

The food was terrific and they even had Van's favorite beer on hand, one he had been telling me about all trip long. I sipped one Revision IPA; Van pounded down three. We left a generous, well deserved tip. Now that I think of it, I don't believe we showered before we ate and I can only imagine what they thought of their night's last two filthy, smelly patrons. Check out Moo Dang if you get the chance, highly recommended!

We finally got our showers after dinner. The next day, Van took the shuttle to the airport and I I set out for Sacramento to visit my parents (who still live in the house I grew up in) before completing the long drive back to Portland.


Re: TR: Tehipite Fever 8/6/18 - 8/19/18

Posted: Thu May 16, 2019 6:12 pm
by SSSdave
So indeed V did not get to your meetup lake when expected that early in the report I suspected was not going to occur. But at least you two wisely added the one layover day to slow down and relax enjoying that area instead of continuing to beat your bodies up for the sake of the itinerary.

Where you hiked below the confluence of Evolution Creek and the San Joaquin River, is where I expect to backpack 6 days into late June this year. Except won't be on a long strenuous route like you 2 did. Instead will be content just to leisurely semi base camp within the most impressive parts of that gorge. Just completed details for that trip and the big whitewater does excite me as do several places I will climb up on canyon walls for interesting perspectives of the canyon and river. My best subject is likely to be a late afternoon telephoto of the cascades and falls of Evolution Creek where it drops as a hanging valley down to the San Joaquin River.

Re: TR: Tehipite Fever 8/6/18 - 8/19/18

Posted: Thu May 16, 2019 6:47 pm
by davidsheridan
Mike, your trip report was epic. I love the gradual release of the chapters, making it exciting everyday to read. Who needs Game of Thrones when you have Tehipite Fever?

Re: TR: Tehipite Fever 8/6/18 - 8/19/18

Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 1:57 am
by rightstar76
Mike, what a fantastic trip you and your brother went on (both apart and together). I am still looking at your pictures. They are incredible. It was an epic journey with challenging weather. I took a glance at your brother's website and his pictures look amazing too. Thanks for sharing!

Re: TR: Tehipite Fever 8/6/18 - 8/19/18

Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 9:11 am
by SSSdave
Quickly looked over Van's report. Was loaded backwards into the web site so the end of the trip is on page 1. Beginning of trip is on page 33 but through page 30 are just selections from later in trip. At page 29 it begins as a sequence from North Lake going over Lamarck Col, a 4k climb. One needs to start from page bottoms toward page tops and there are images out of sequence. There are no dates shown.

As he began with a 65 pound pack weight, his carrying weight was about 70 pounds or about what I carried regularly at his age. On my first days on that route I never did more than 3.3k towards the col. From images it appears he camped in Darwin Canyon 1, below Helen Lake 2, MF Kings across from Goddard Creek 3, Tehipite Valley 4, Crown Creek 5, Blue Canyon 6, Finger Lakes 7, then met up with brother down at Lake 10232 8. After a layover 9, they next camped at Martha Lake 10, Piute Creek confluence 11, Piute Creek 12, then hiked out that would be day 13 but from text it was 14 days so maybe a layover day in Tehipite? Mike might fix the above. It is terrain like he encountered that decades ago has kept me in tough Levi jeans (505s) versus shorts as they protect one's skin bushwhacking. Crossing the river at Simpson Meadow many years would be impossible till September if then. In any case, a long extremely strenuous itinerary with such a heavy load, an impressive accomplishment that would make Normal Clyde sit up in the grave and smile.

Re: TR: Tehipite Fever 8/6/18 - 8/19/18

Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 9:37 am
by Mike M.
davidsheridan and rightstar76, thank you for your kind comments. Your positive feedback may inspire me to dig into the archives and share some older trip reports. Some of my older trip reports here on HST are mutilated because of the demise of the free version of Photobucket; if I can find the time, I'm hoping to go back and update the photos.

Mike M.

Re: TR: Tehipite Fever 8/6/18 - 8/19/18

Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 9:51 am
by Mike M.

Day 1 of our trip was a short hike from the North Lake trailhead to upper Lamarck Lake. We didn't go over Lamarck Col until Day 2.

I'm glad you were able to look through Van's Tumbler pages. Tumbler is a different ecosystem altogether, oriented to social media enthusiasts. Posts are displayed successively, like you would see on Facebook. You'll notice on Van's Tumbler page photos from North Carolina and Tennessee sprinkled in with those from his Sierra epic. Most of the photos Van posted there are from a small Fujifilm fixed-lens point-and-shoot camera he kept in his pocket. He did a much better job documenting his travels than I did. He also carried a DSLR with him with several lenses and a tripod, but I have not seen most of those photos yet.

I'm with you on hiking with long pants. My preference is Levis 501's; don't leave home without them!

Mike M.