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95 Days in the Sierra

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Re: 95 Days in the Sierra

Postby sparky » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:55 pm

WD, is there any guides you can recommend for seki?
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
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Re: 95 Days in the Sierra

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:23 pm

The route you did on Cathedral Peak is class 3 (no ropes needed), if you know where the route is located.


I thought the way I took at the summit block is the only route up though? It's rated as class 4 but most people have told me it's realistically more like 5.3. Or do you mean the whole route up to the summit block? That could have been class 3 if I had taken a different way for sure.

Normally I would do more research on a summit before going but that whole section was a quick in the field re-route.

As for help I never thought I needed it when it was there. The man that offered me a line I was just skirting around a big boulder face and really didn't need it. Even on the summit when I was feeling intimidated about going down it was only apprehension in the end. Once I was actually on the cracks I felt completely comfortable and got down fine. The last crack where I slipped no one would have found me that day if I was hurt. No one took the route I did back and unless I was shouting for help or something no one would have been able to even see me.
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Re: 95 Days in the Sierra

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:47 pm

You are right. I stand corrected. It is class 4. I climbed the 5.7 route on the other side and descended the west side route. Guess I did not think it was all that hard. The class 4 is only for the 15-foot crack on the summit block. You are a good climber if you can do that crack in hiking shoes. We had rock shoes, which make the climbing a lot easier. I do remember it as very exposed and recall that because we already were set up we did belay the descent until we got off the summit block. Sounds like if you could learn a few rock climbing techniqes you could turn into a very good climber. Maybe this is something you can do later in life. Rock climbing is very enjoyable.

As to guides, the Secor guide "Peaks and Passes" is the most comprehensive, although you can find better descriptions of a few specific climbs in other books. The most detailed route descriptions of technical climbs are in the "super topo" guides - on line guidebook. It comes up first when you Google it. As for peak bagging, I think Secor is pretty good. You can also go to the Sierra Peak Section (SPS) website and they have a library of old trip reports with some very good descriptions. The peaks are listed alphabetically. It is a good source if you are interested in a particular climb. They have a "list" of about 250 peaks so if the mountain you are interested in is not on the list, you are out of luck. There is a guide for the California 14'ers that is very detailed for those few peaks. Peter Croft's "the Good, Great and Awesome" is fun reading but really not that informative as a guidebook. "Sierra Classics" is similar - nice read and a few good route descriptions, but some not that helpful. Both those books just select a few climbs. Bottom line, is that if I had to choose one book, it would be Secor's book. Beware of internet trip reports. They sometimes are chest-pounding essays that people who actually missed the route expound upon. I am not sure why some of the most incompetent climbers put up climbing reports on the internet. But, even if their reports are bogus, they often have some very useful photos.

I do not know of any climbing guide specifically and only for SEKI.
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Re: 95 Days in the Sierra

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:06 pm

You are a good climber if you can do that crack in hiking shoes.


Yeah I had to do it John Muir style in my heavy boots but it worked out ok. I do think I have the potential to become a good rock climber but I just haven't got into it. I enjoy the whole logic / puzzle aspect to climbing.

I'll look into some of those sources. I could always use better info on peaks. I often have a hard time finding any information at all online.

I'm not sure if this coming season I will try any technical climbs or not. I have been wanting to do North Palisade for awhile. Could tempt fate again on the chimney there. For all my exploring in the Sierra I have never been to the eastern side of the Palisades. Never seen the glaciers.
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Re: 95 Days in the Sierra

Postby sparky » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:17 am

Thank you WD, i do own peaks passes trails. In fact I have an electronic version on my phone that I carry always. It has come in handy a couple times. I will look into those other rescources you mentioned.

Im not a peak bagger at all but I do have a list of vistas i want to experience like arrow peak, wildcat point ect.....
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Re: 95 Days in the Sierra

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:21 pm

Part 5/5:

Day 81 A-1040 D-385 R September 20

The morning was fairly slow as we knew there was no need for rush with the short distance we had to hike. Once at the springs there were only a few people there for the moment but that would soon change. While I started work on dinner it began to sprinkle so I had to retreat to my tent to cook. David on the other hand had no tent so he was left in the rain. While cooking 3 girls came up just looking for a site. They asked David if we were together which was comical because when they left David said "they probably thought we are gay since there is only one tent". Later while they were headed out to a spring David out of no where blurts out "By the way! we're not together - together. He is sleeping over there and I am sleeping over here" I was a bit horrified but they took it light hearted enough. By the time the evening was done there were about 30 people camped at the springs.

Day 82 A-4379 D-2679 R-T September 21

Once we were packed up David and I parted ways. I was taking the higher trail to Goodale Pass and he was going to have to hike all the way back to the trail head at Rainbow Falls. Later I would learn that the hike out nearly crippled him and that it took over 4 months for his knee to heal up. As for me I made my way slowly up the first 1800 feet of gain in the brisk morning air. Over all the trail was uneventful as I passed the junction for Lost Keys Lakes complete with lost keys. As I closed in on the junction that went into Cascade Valley I ran across 3 guys and had a chat with them. The junction going for Goodale had no sign and because I was talking I did not think straight as I began into the trail marked as Cascade Valley. When I began dropping down the switch backs I realized my mistake and was angry that I had gone a half mile the wrong way so back I went. Once I had passed the lovely Grassy Lake and it's meadows , up over the hill and down near Lake of the Lone Indian the trail began to deviate from my maps and began straight up the hill in a South Western direction. I didn't have a trail for very long though as snow completely covered these slopes and once again I was fighting up steep hard packed snow making for slow going. Finally I topped out and began up the final push to Goodale with lots of snow still lingering this late in the season. Once again I thought myself to be lucky moving South as the weather over Yosemite looked really nasty. By the time I had made my way down to Upper Graveyard Meadow I was chasing the last bits of light as I found a decent place to camp. I had intended to just lay out but as soon as I set my pack down the mosquitoes began attacking me heavy so that was no good.

Day 83 A-520 D-1934 September 22

When I had slogged down to Graveyard Meadow I climbed out through the trees in order to actually see the meadow but it wasn't very attractive and I didn't even take a picture. The rest of the way I picked apart the trail since it was suffering from lots of erosion. I couldn't help but hike along talking to myself saying "Water bar, check dam, check dam, water bar" as I pointed out the locations needing repair. I arrived at VVR around lunch and ordered an outrageous amount of food.

Day 84 Layover R September 23

Once again I was only a few days out from my last layover but I had enjoyed VVR too much to not spend an extra day. My only change in plans for the next section is I added 2 days of food so that I could detour down to Tehipite Valley which I did not do earlier in the trip. The day was filled with all the same chores and great company of the staff and hikers. The 3 girls from Iva Bell had showed up also. We ate dinner together and had a good laugh about David's comment of us sleeping in different spots.

Day 85 A-3146 D-2527 R-T September 24

While enjoying breakfast and laughing at Olive ripping people apart as she served them I talked some more with a man and his daughter and it turned out they were headed at least a ways down the road and could give me a ride so they drove me 5.5 miles to the Bear Diversion road. From here I began walking until I was about a mile into the Florence Lake road and was picked up by a man for the rest of the way. Before I had arrived at the lake though it began to rain. The ferry was not operating anymore for the season so I would have to hike the trail. Luckily the rain stopped just after noon and the sun was shining again. Most of the trail from here was uneventful until I reached the other side of Florence where it becomes a bit more confusing as several trails and the 4x4 road start crossing each other but without too much trouble I made my way along. The only real highlight of scenery on this trail was Double Meadow which displayed long grass and clearly had not been grazed at all for the year. As I got closer to the Muir Ranch loud shots of gun fire sounded and it became clear that I had missed the trail I wanted to take that would lead me straight to the junction for the Blayney Hotsprings. I had to go higher and make my way back down. Once I got to the springs it seemed I had the place to myself except for a single tent pitched on the other side of the river. I spent the night soaking in the springs alone. The late season was clearly setting in.

Day 86 A-2835 D-1100 September 25

Leaving the springs I once again found my friend the Douglas off the trail. Pheleop! he yelled. Douglas! I am a friend not a big bad scary monster to fear! Pheleleleop!!!! He yelled and he darted around a branch and popped his head out to see me. Clearly Douglas was not convinced and how could I blame him. I was really big. I tried to whistle him a song but it was no good. I was the boogie man and Douglas was not taking any chances. Have a nice day I told him and walked away as he chirped some more scared notes. Not too far down the trail I heard laughing and caught sight of 3 girls. As I got closer I knew it was the 3 girls from the hotsprings and VVR. I went over to say hello and said that I knew we might see each other again but they were very giddy. Hiking in less clothing today I asked? As all three of them were in their underwear. After explaining why they were doing this they said "we didn't think we would run into anyone we knew!". They then convinced me to hike with them and asked if I wanted to hike in my underwear but I certainly did not! They led the way and kept a brisk pace. They hiked about as fast as I ever hike but I was able to keep up and enjoyed their company for the next 6 miles until we reached the junction to Evolution Valley. This is where we part ways I said and they joked about the fact I will be out bushwhacking alone and wished I had hiked with them to Whitney. I already knew that much but I had a hard road and I must move forward with it so we parted ways for the last time. Later I would laugh to myself at the fact that these 3 girls hiking in their underwear were the last people I saw for over 6 days. Moving further up the South Fork was mostly a grind but did offer a few interesting features such as that the river through most of the canyon has carved out a small gorge making water access difficult. My goal had been Martha Lake but when I got to the junction that leads over Hell For Sure Pass I was ready to quit for the night. At first I wasn't having luck finding a camp site and almost broke ground on a new one but decided to look further and found several near by.

Day 87 A-2631 D-2758 September 26

Waking in the morning I was covered in a thick layer of frost since I had just laid out. I set out up canyon and was quickly leaving the tree line behind. The way to Martha Lake is an easy stroll along the meadows but I felt fatigued. I had always thought with longer hikes like these that you would get in progressively better shape as the months went by and I lost more weight but the reality I had come to know was that you reach a peak and then begin a down hill spiral. The truth is I think your slowly dying as the days go on. Constantly burning way more calories then your consuming and living off crap food. Yes that was it, I was dying but I was not dead yet! Regardless I was heavily feeling the strain and would never have the energy that I did. After the slow grind I was at the barren yet lovely Martha Lake. The Eastern shore looked allot easier but the Western shore was far shorter so I went with it. It was the same old story of rock hoping the talus fields intermixed with snow that you must cross. By the time I was ready to start up for Reinstein Pass it was lunch time. The grind up was a bit slow but very easy and scenic. It wasn't until you crossed over and began down that any route finding was needed. The South side of Reinstein was a mess of large shelves that require a bit of planning. In the end only one or two class 3 moves were needed to get down. I then slowly made my way down past a small tarn lake and over to where a creek drops from the West in Lake 10,232. From here it was an easy task to move South a bit and then down to the shore line. This was definitely a beautiful and large lake to not have a name I thought. Later I would name it Lost Haven Lake. Moving down canyon from here was again an easy task with all the beauty and ease of travel. I kept searching for any signs of humans but I couldn't find any. I did find plenty of bear tracks though. Finally as I was tromping through the forest and closing in on Lake 9,820 I came across a fire pit in a very unusual location very close to the creek without any where to place a tent. Once I had reached the lake I found a decent place to set up on the North Western shore. There were two spots for tents but no fire pit and not a single foot print for the year. I had planned to just lay out again so I set out my gear and built a fire pit in a nice location. Once it had got dark I went and checked on my sleeping bag and it already had a good layer of dew on it with a couple wet patches showing. Clearly this was no good so I set up my tent and put my bag by the fire to dry. For some reason the notion came over me to listen to some music and it sounded like a great idea. So putting on the tunes I then spent the rest of the night dancing around the fire under the stars in a serene state which was odd for me considering I have never danced on my own in my life. It was a magical Sierra night which was good because tomorrow hell would be coming.

Day 88 A-1360 D-3779 September 27

After another brisk morning I began around the Western shore which clearly would have been more difficult earlier season. I came across Twin Berry once again and thinking it might be Huckleberry I stuck one in my mouth and just chewed on it. BLEH!!!! I spit it out quickly! YUCK! I then washed my mouth out well. Later I would learn that this plant was Twinberry and that although it is edible it tastes like crap so people don't eat them! Moving around the clearly more scenic shore I quickly found myself beginning the long steep slog down mixed scree and talus. Beautiful cascades showed themselves as I worked down the steep shelves. Amazingly as I got lower I passed decent patches of Fireweed even though it was so late in the year. Continuing the rocky decent you come to a small mix of cliffs which I made my way along and down to admire a beautiful waterfall and cascade combo. From here the slow and progressively hotter slog continued down the rocky paths until you reach where the river drops off into a gorge displaying two more beautiful water falls. I had the desire to just follow the river but there would be no easy way down to it. On the East side of the main creek a massive spring was running out amounting to a second creek joining the first. Further down I had to make my way into a massive wash out that was extremely difficult to climb back out of. Once I had passed the last of the water falls and the gorge turned back into typical creek it began more over grown for a bit while I tromped through chest high bushes. Once I had reached the creek I was not able to follow it very far before for the first time I was forced across. The rocks were extremely slippery and I nearly fell in once while getting one of my boots wet a bit. The brush then began very thick where I could no longer stay away from the creek and I was forced to climb around over hanging bushes. As it snaked it's way down it was getting worse. I found myself having to cross over and then back again and then fight through stuff so thick it hung up on my pack and I would yell and growl like an animal as I fought my way through. Finally I reached some more cliffs and had to do another class 3 move to get down and back to the creek. Before the terrain began to drop down to the more level bottom I was forced across to the Eastern side where I had to climb high up through Manzanita but it began to lighten up until I had dropped to the bottom. Although the forest was thick at times the going was easy again until I reached where Disappearing Creek joins Goddard Creek. I was at the pinch point and there wasn't a way across the creek so I had to make the ford. Once across it was a brief stroll as your lured into a false sense of "maybe this isn't as bad as people say" and then all at once it begins...The walls close in around you and it becomes a full blown jungle. I found myself fighting into the thicket and then back on the edge of the creek often but it was no good. The creek could not be followed and the jungle was thick. It was like the Amazon or something when you would be on the creek staring at a wall of impenetrable bush on each side of the creek. The sun had already long set on the canyon and the over all scene was taxing. As I fought my way along the Eastern side of the creek it just kept getting worse. The brush was far over my head and I could hardly manage to move as I pushed forward. I remember thinking how bad it was but having no choice to keep fighting through. Finally I lost though and simply could not move any further. I was completely immobilized in the brush and I was forced to turn back. I had no choice but to ford the creek. As I got my boots back on I began to get worried about the time. The light was fading and there was not a single place you could even lay down if you had to. If night fell it could be a total nightmare to try and fight through this. Resuming the bush was so thick I was no longer on ground. I was walking on top of bushes fighting my way along with an extreme amount of effort. It was far worse then post holing in the snow for sure! This did not let up and once again I found myself having to change my mindset on hiking. Normally you would look at the path in front of you and think there is absolutely no way your going that way but yes you are! Straight out into the brush! Climb, growl, despair! I began getting desperate and was looking for a place to camp without luck. I began to realize I may have to camp without water so I can just have a place to lay. I finally reached a very large opening amongst a mess of pine trees that could have camped a whole platoon but there was no water access so I decided to push on. I then came out to the massive rock slide I had seen from Windy Point. It was huge! Boulders the size of houses where in the rubble and I was completely taken back by the scale of this fall. The scar above where it had come from did not seem to support the amount of rubble that was scattered all the way down to the creek. The pyroclastic flow that this thing generated must have been awesome I thought! I began out across it and immediately the going was very difficult as every rock was loose and covered in a thick layer of dirt. Slowly I made my way along when suddenly I dislodged a small rock which in turn dislodged a boulder I guessed was at least 6500 pounds. It fell my way. SMASH!!! As it landed literally two feet away from my foot. I laughed at the fact that I almost became like the man from 127 hours! Only there would be no escape from this canyon if I had! Once I had made my way out of the rock slide debris I dropped into the forest near the creek and began my search for a camp site again. Finally with very little light left I found a spot in a total thicket that was close enough to get water from the creek. As I laid down that night I laughed at the fact that my original plan for this canyon had been to go from Martha Lake to Simpson Meadow. What a joke I thought!

Day 89 A-1149 D-1843 September 28

As I resumed into the thicket I made use of a small game trail that helped me find my way through some but it still did not let up. Most of the over your head impenetrable bush had passed but the chest high thorn bushes you had to climb through were as thick as ever. It was exhausting work and the entire way I kept debating on my next route choice. My plan for this section had been to go down to Tehipite Valley and then back up to Cartridge Creek but it had taken me longer then expected so far so it was either one or the other. As I fought my way through in ever increasing misery I constantly jumped back and forth. "Screw it I will do Cartridge Creek also!" "No way! 4000 feet of altitude gain while bush whacking!" In the end I gave up Cartridge and decided to go to Tehipite. As I continued to fight my way through I got higher on the West slope where I was able to pick up a bit of a talus field that made for slightly easier work. As I began down I saw my first sign of humans as I found a small piece of rope on the ground. I picked it up and packed it out. I also looked down and noticed that the tip of my trekking pole had completely snapped off and I hadn't noticed. I was hiking with a peg now for a pole! Further down the terrain was getting steeper. I found myself fighting once again through thick bush yelling and growling like a monster. It wasn't until I was about 150 feet above the valley floor that the thick bush let up. As I walked along I was in a complete daze. I was dreary from the horrible effort I had just fought through but it was not over yet. As I began to cross over to where I could find the trail the forest became a total bush whack also and I constantly was getting a face full of spider webs. Finally I got to the Middle Fork and made the ford across only to find extremely steep banks I had to fight up and then I was once again on a trail. Even so my mental state was shot. I was not even in a right state of mind. I began grinding down canyon and when I reached Simpson Meadow the trail disappeared for a bit until I picked it up on the other side. After having lunch in a camp site at Horseshoe Creek I set out and before to long I saw what looked like a trail but it seemed to go off into no where so I kept going. The trail veered toward the mountain and when I reached a gate at the bottom I knew for sure this was the wrong way. Now I was pissed as well as mentally unstable! The idea that the trail leading across the Middle Fork had not been maintained in 20 years did not register with me right now. I went back to the crappy trail I saw and began in and before long was fighting my way into the thicket again. While moving through some ferns a sharp branch cut my ankle. I yelled and kicked the thing in anger. I then began fighting further into the forest. I was greatly dismayed and debated on just turning back. I was out of it and did not want to go back into a bush whacking nightmare yet I kept pushing on. Finally in a total thicket another branch cut my arm and then I lost it something along the lines of Tom Hanks in Cast Away after he cuts his hand. I began yelling and kicking and hacking at everything around me. Ripping apart branches and anything I could get at! Once I had calmed down I fell into more of a dreary apathetic state and kept going. Nearing a creek I saw a tree with "grateful dead" written on it. "Wishful thinking" I thought. And then as I made my way out by the creek I saw the remains of the old bridge now gone. Since I was out of my mind the fact of having to ford the Middle Fork which I knew was completely lost on me. When I saw that bridge and that it was out my heart sunk. For a moment I thought about turning around again. I made my way over and stood on the remains. I looked at the river which was very deep in this spot and didn't like the idea of moving forward. I had lost all desire but then slightly up stream I saw an area that might be fordable so I made my way over. I put on my water shoes and began out. The water was fast moving and I was waist deep in the middle. Suddenly I dropped one of my trekking poles and I could have done a lunge and saved it but I decided to just let it go. It wasn't worth it! So away it floated which ironically enough it was the pole that had broke today so no great loss. As I moved across the rocks were very slippery and I had a hard time not falling down but once again I made it safely across a raging river. I began up and picked up the trail. It wasn't great and had a number of downed trees but down it I went even though I was lacking of any desire at this point. Finally being ready to stop and having not found any camp sites I see a spot for a camp near a nice sand beach covered in bear tracks. As I did some laundry I noticed that all the rocks in the area were covered in Giant Caddisfly cocoons all hatched. I got to work building a nice fire pit and to my amazement when I uncovered a rock near the shore line underneath it was a Crystal Light packet that was old and faded. This really threw me off because I was in a completely random spot in this canyon turning over random rocks and here was a piece of trash under one! I had set up my tent with it's non working doors which turned out to be no fun on this night as when I got into bed there were at least 5 Harvestmen in my tent. I killed them all but they were out in force and every few minutes one would crawl into my tent through the open screens. As I laid and tried to sleep I would feel them crawl across my face or I could feel them crawling on my body and would have to get up and kill them. Over all a very hard day and a crappy night.

Day 90 A-1897 D-3158 September 29

As I resumed down the Middle Fork the trail kept you guessing. Off hand it wasn't in really bad shape you could say but it did have numerous downed trees and was a good deal over grown and a time or two it became hard to follow. Despite this it wasn't really the problem. The problem was the bugs. And boy do I mean bugs! These little gnat flies were absolutely horrible! Grinding down the Four Mile Trail in Yosemite a month back was the only other case I had ever had of these things. They for what ever reason were obsessed with my face and would hover in front of it and if you did not waft them away they would make their way up your nose and into your eyes where they often would become tangled in my eye lashes. So for hour after hour I found myself grinding down this poor trail becoming increasingly hot due to the low altitude while I wafted like mad at the pests in my face. I would waft until my arm would become too tired and then switch to the other. At one point I even rested my arm against my chest while I just moved my wrist. I actually started wafting them away by the second. One, waft, two waft, three waft but it was no good! That was not fast enough! They still went into my eyes!. I was sure missing my head net right about now as I pounded down the trail not daring to stop. Just grinding on and on. It seemed to take forever by the time I entered Tehipite Valley. When I got there I was of course in a horrible mood and I didn't find this valley appealing. I had pictured a large area with Jeffery Pines where I could explore around. What I found was a dense Oak forest that if one wanted to explore around it would take a great deal of effort in bush whacking and fording numerous branches of the river. I kept hiking along not knowing exactly where I was going until I reached Crown Creek. I only glanced up and down stream briefly but it seemed to be a ford so I turned around and set up in a near by camp with a decent view of Tehipite Dome. It's unique features was the only thing that really caught my eye about being here. The camp was a dry, hot and barren spot and if I wanted to have a camp fire it would take some effort to find wood as there wasn't a stick in sight. Thankfully I did not want one because it was way too hot and I was miserable. It had been such a horrible battle to get here and besides all the disappointment one thought was heavy on my mind. Tomorrow I have to go back! Oh god no! All that way back up this horrible canyon while I wafted bugs. Then another blow came to my already bad mood and that was that the mosquitoes were horrible! September 29th at 4000 feet and I was being attacked steady! Unacceptable! I spent the rest of the day just trying to relax and did not wander at all. A good wind was blowing that night but it did not keep the mosquitoes away. Since my tent zippers were broken I fell asleep fighting mosquitoes getting in my tent.

Day 91 A-2867 D-1411 R-T September 30

I decided to get up early so I could hit the trail before the heat began and it was clear something had to be done about the bugs. I thought about cutting the door off my tent which could not be closed anyway but I found something else. On the sides of my water bottle holder was two tiny mesh pouches so I snipped those off and duct taped them over my eyes. Take that ****! I set out and over all made my way back up canyon easily in good spirits. My eye coverings were working well enough. Only once or twice the bugs got into my eyes. As I was getting closer to the ford the sky opened up and began to pour. Lightning cracked loudly over head and hail pounded down. The trail became flooded as I splashed along. I ended up missing the bridge ford slightly and had to turn back. I was a bit surprised on how nice the trail was that continued up canyon compared to the bush whacking crap I was headed back into. This time I was a bit apprehensive about the ford. It had been tricky and now I had to repeat it again in a thunderstorm but out into the water I went and with care I made it across without much trouble. I was quite happy at this point after being back up canyon, across the ford and the sun was shining through the clouds. Rainbows appeared, more thunder cracked and the drops glistening in the rays as I fought my way up the steep bank and back past grateful dead tree. I did my best to back track through the mess to the trail but now I had one down side. Once again due to the soaked brush around me it soaked my pants and then straight into my boots. So now sloshing I made my way back to the camp at Horseshoe Creek. I got set up, did laundry and got a good fire going to help dry everything out. For a moment I thought I might have company as a helicopter swooped in over Simpson Meadow and hovered slowly along but it never did land and just kept going down canyon.

Day 92 A-4441 D-1408 R-T October 1

The morning was once again freezing and a cold breeze was blowing but I did not mind since I had 4000 feet to climb up out of this canyon. Step by step I slowly made my way up the canyon. The same chopper went swooping back into the canyon and I figured they were packing out the Rangers and supplies since the season was over. As I got higher again a large pine cone smashed at my feet and tumbled down the hill. DOUGLAS!!! I yelled. I'm walking here!!! Are you trying to kill somebody!! Yes I see you up there! Don't give me that look! I see you! He chirped at me with his giddy happy call and went on with his business. Finally I made the top and laughed at the junction sign that someone had scratched "No H2O = Death" on it. It was a bit odd once I hooked back up with the trail heading for Granite Pass. Two months ago I had been tromping along here and now here I was back again. I got set up in a camp on the Middle Fork Dougherty Creek. I picked apart the camp site which had a fire pit but was crap. It was a giant and ugly fire pit completely filled with foil and even a horse shoe. There was not a single place to sit around it and even if you used a bear barrel it was on lumpy out of level granite. I picked out all the trash to pack out and destroyed most of the pit. I then found another location in the camp for the new pit which turned out to be the best one I had made or even used for the whole trip. I built it next to a perfect height granite bench that could sit at least 5 people or you could comfortably lay down next to the fire.

Day 93 A-1897 D-6300 October 2

The morning was once again very cold and low clouds were already forming. The weather pattern was indicating snow but I wasn't worried yet. I made the easy slog up Granite Pass as an icy wind blew steady. When I began to drop into Granite Basin I made a point to climb out to a decent view point to get a good look at the basin. For all I knew I would never be here again so I wanted to take it all in. It did not warm up much as I made my way through the basin and over the last hump of gain before it was time to grind over 5000 feet to the bottom. As I approached Upper Tent Meadow I could see from a distance my fire pit and log seats were still in place. The whole area was littered with more Bitter Cherry then I had ever seen in one spot but I did not eat any because the name probably said it all. After a long slow grind and I was about 500 feet from the bottom I ran into two day hikers just enjoying the late afternoon. After a talk with them they told me of the forecast that a major storm was coming in and snow was expected down to 7000 feet. As I resumed the trail and considered what the two hikers had said about the weather the notion came over me that my trip may be over. My heart sunk. "But I don't want to go home!!" I thought to myself. Once I had finished grinding to the bottom I got set up in the same location I had before near Copper Creek and went over to the Ranger booth and saw the posting about weather. As I sat back in my camp I considered what may happen. My last section was going to cross Harrison and Milestone passes with Milestone being 13,000 feet. With snow forecasted down to 7,000 feet it meant slogging through fresh powder across talus fields and over passes that demand respect at the best of times. Then the notion of slogging through that type of snow soaking my pants and running into my boots. Clearly it was no good. My trip is...over. The notion brought a tear to my eye as I reflected on everything I had done. The massive amount of country side I had covered, the storms, the summits, the trail friends I had made, the good times and the bad. Everything I had over come and here I was, the end...It was particularly anticlimactic due to the fact that I did not expect to be stopping now. The last two years I had known more then a week in advance when I was reaching the end and each day I would balk at the idea I would be back home again in 6 days, 5 days, 4 days. But not here. Regardless everything just seemed so long ago. Like I had been gone for years. As all these thoughts filled my head a mother bear and her cub came wandering by my camp. A strange sight I thought since it was so late season and the cub was not very old. I had intended to find a bear box in the back country and leave my Yosemite quarter that had traveled with me the entire way but this would have to do so I wrote a note and left it in the box at the Copper Creek trail head.

Day 94 A-344 D-713 R October 3

Once again I set out down the trail to Cedar Grove yet this time when it reached the dirt road it parallels most of the way I took the road instead as it proved to be much easier hiking. In only about 2 hours time I was back at Cedar Grove again. To my dismay the bridge between Sentinel campground and the store was still out. This meant I would be hanging out around the store again all day. I called my grandmother about getting a ride. The first attempt went something like this: Deborah - hello? me - hey hows it goi... Deborah - hello!? me - can you hear me? Deborah - You have the wrong number.. Me - Wait no I don't...CLICK!! ****! There went one dollar for the phone. I called back again and quickly said I don't have the wrong number! This is Chris! Finally getting through to her I then arranged for a pickup in the morning since I didn't expect for anyone to come the same day. I then met up with a guy I hung out with at VVR that had been doing the Muir Trail but had bailed out due the incoming weather. The manager of the store was also happy to see I had survived and offered to buy me dinner. So I spent the rest of the day with good company and even got a ride back to my camp ground to end the night.

Day 95 Ride home October 4

Once again it was cloudy first thing as the storm was getting ready to break. I got packed up for the last time and waited for my ride which was about an hour late. We ended up having lunch at Grant Grove and began the boring drive back to Bakersfield. The ride was mostly quite since what can you say about returning to a life you dislike? As I took my pack out of the car and set it down for the last time I felt a bit naked that I would not be needing it. I walked into my room and stared at everything around like a strangers room. I glanced over to an empty space in the corner and flashed back to the memory of me picking up my bear barrel there and telling my grandmother that if all goes well i'll be back in October sometime... It all seemed so long ago. I gathered clothes for a shower and I stared at the stranger in the mirror. Where was I?...I turned on the water of the shower and watched as black and brown water gushed from the spigot and stood in disgust. I was clearly back in society with all it's filth and decadence... The very next day I was back at work since my uncle really needed me to. All I could tell people is that when I woke up yesterday in a tent I didn't expect to be back at work with the same old people the next day. Over the next week I found I had to rediscover my life again but given time it all came back. All good things come to an end but for a moment no matter how short I reached out and held onto something better. And maybe in the end that is the only thing that matters. That moment of peace where balance is found. Where a single moment in time is all you need. Regardless all of life's journeys seem to end with the same question...

What comes next?

Well thanks for reading. I wanted to post the statistics of the hike at the end here but I am too lazy at the moment since I have not added up the miles or altitude gained and lost. I'll get to that. For now here are the photos that go with this part:

Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Last edited by RoguePhotonic on Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 95 Days in the Sierra

Postby oldranger » Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:40 am

Rogue

Your last installment was the best. Thank you for taking me down Goddard Creek! It was something I had always wanted to do but life got in the way. Your description put me there unlike any I had previously read. While I never experienced your angst about the "outside" world I appreciate your "comfort" despite your many discomforts in traveling the Sierra. It was a grand adventure!

I hope you will enjoy this summer's adventures and I think I all of us on the forum are looking forward to your accounts next winter (although not as much as we are looking forward to our own adventures this summer ;) 0).

Mike
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Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: 95 Days in the Sierra

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:41 am

For me, too, the end of a long trip is very sad. It is a shame that we cannot make a living by wandering around the Sierra! You could write a book, but having written a guidebook, I am afraid that making a living off of writing books is not very likely. You still need a day job! Thanks for the detailed write-up. I enjoyed the pictures of Goddard Creek canyon, having been there but not having any photos. Your experience in Tehipite Valley reminds me that I had similar bug issues in late season, so now, no matter what, I ALWAYS take a head net! The stupid little thing only weighs an ounce and provides so much protection when needed. I have only been over Granite Pass early season- it sure looks different in October. I have not made it all the way to Tehipite Valley yet- it is on my "to do" list. I will probably drop into it from the west instead of going down from Simpson Meadows. Again, thanks for the journal covering all the "chapters" of your journey.
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Re: 95 Days in the Sierra

Postby Electra » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:26 pm

Great Reports Rogue, thank you. I am sure I am not alone (at least for the guys) in saying that a shot of the gals in underwear would have added some 'color' to the report! :)
Dan Braun
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Re: 95 Days in the Sierra

Postby Mike M. » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:45 pm

Really enjoyed your report, Rogue! Your account of the classic bushwhack from the confluence of Goddard and Disappearing Creeks brings back memories. We warned you!! Now you know why I always wear jeans when I hike. I'm smart enough to have only hiked that stretch of Goddard Creek once. Yet foolish enough to have whacked through the bushes up to Cartridge Pass at least five other times.

By the way, I had a similar experience with Tehipite. Hot, full of bugs, uncomfortable. My one day there, I walked out to a sandbar in the middle of the river, book in hand, to get away from the bugs. There was no open meadow to provide a vantage point to appreciate the (I assume) fine views. For my brother, on the other hand, Tehipite is a Shangri-La. I wonder what the best time of year would be to visit Tehipite? Early spring? But then, how do you deal with the high water?

Mike
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Re: 95 Days in the Sierra

Postby whrdafamI? » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:41 pm

Electra wrote:Great Reports Rogue, thank you. I am sure I am not alone (at least for the guys) in saying that a shot of the gals in underwear would have added some 'color' to the report! :)


I got to agree with this assessment! After hearing about them a few times a pic would have been righteous. Being able to do such a long trip is really a good reason to go on living. Mind boggling trip Rogue! Fun to read and beautiful pics!
Better to have it and not need it than it is to need it and not have it!

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Re: 95 Days in the Sierra

Postby RoguePhotonic » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:43 pm

I am sure I am not alone (at least for the guys) in saying that a shot of the gals in underwear would have added some 'color' to the report!


Lol I thought about taking their photo since they took mine but I didn't. They were cute though. :)
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