Our First trip (Mike, Jim and me - CC). | High Sierra Topix  

Our First trip (Mike, Jim and me - CC).

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Our First trip (Mike, Jim and me - CC).

Postby Cross Country » Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:51 pm

I just read "questions about trip reports" and so here goes.

It was Memorial Day Weekend. Mike was 6 yo, Jim 11. We drove up to Hetch Hetchy stopping to get a WP. We started up the trail from HH to Laurel late enough to catch the afternoon breeze and some afternoon shade on the trail. I had been up this trail about 15 times and knew that in the morning after about 7 AM it would normally be VERY hot, in the sun (almost no shade) and no breeze until the afternoon. I had experience starting on this trail at almost any time of day (never between 10AM and 1 PM). We started at about 4PM. About half way to Laurel is the first good campsite, a really excellent place with a good water supple in spring and at least a small supply of water, basically year around. We camped there and all of us enjoyed the late afternoon. We had only gained about 1300 feet elevation and hiked about 4.3 miles and I had accomplished my goal of making this a not too taxing, therefor enjoyable fist day of their life BP experience.

On most of my trips into this area I (we) had encountered bears. This year, this place had the most persistent bears of my entire life. I counter balanced the food so they couldn't get to it but they continued trying nearly the entire night, making lots of noise in the process. The first part of this trail is a road that nearly arrives at this campsite. The Park Service in its infinite wisdom made a regular habit of dropping off bears at the top of the road, very near our campsite. These of course were the bears that were causing the rangers in Yosemite the most problems. It seem to me that there attitude was "let the backpackers, without bear boxes, deal with this problem". I believe they thought "better them (we backpackers) than us". I must add here that although I encountered bears at least dozens of times, they never once caused me a problem other than some fear.

We had packed up everything we could the night before our 2nd day and therefor left fairly early to beat the heat. That day we hiked to Laurel with a pleasant stop at the trail junction. There is a really pretty meadow there where 2 young boys can enjoy (and did) a romp in the grass. They got a little wet, but just barely. As we started on our last 45 minutes to the lake a storm began to roll in and we therefor made haste. We arrived at the upper end (my favorite place there) of the lake and it had started sprinkling off and on. We set up the tent and made all of the other necessary preparations (like collecting wood for the fire to grill the fish I was sure to catch). I caught a fish dinner every day I ever spent there. We put the wood in a plastic bag to keep it dry. Within an hour I had to have the boys stay in the tent because of the rain and cold.

I went fishing in my rain gear. It was very cold. After 1 or 2 hours I returned with enough fish for dinner. Cooking the meal in the rain over an open fire was no fun. I even had to put on my down vest, something I rarely did in the backcountry in the daytime. I served the meal to Mike and Jim who had spent this entire time (I think) in the tent. I ate outside and to my surprise was quite cold and quite glad to get in the tent after eating. By this time it was getting dark and after a while I went to sleep to the sound of rain falling on the tent.

A few hours after falling asleep I awoke to the sound of the rain but it sounded different. I looked out of the tent not knowing what to expect. At this time I had backpacked nearly 400 day of my life but had never experienced what I saw - snow falling on my tent. I had been BP in the Sierra during snowfall many times but never falling on my tent while I was sleeping. Despite the weather all of us got plenty of sleep.

It snowed most of the morning and we just stayed in the tent. All morning I kept thinking about what a lousy BP experience I had shown to my sons. They might NEVER want to go BP again and I had waited 11 years for this trip. What bad luck (or poor planning). The snow storm eventually abated. We packed up and hiked out a day early. My 2 boys had to spend nearly 17 straight hours in the tent - drat.

On our hike out we stopped for a feet rest and were just sitting there when out of the blue Mike said "you know dad wouldn't it be great if we could live out here" I nearly fell off my rock. We had just gone on about the worst trip of my life and Mike love it. Like me he just loved being out there. At that moment I knew I had a backpacking parter for many years to come, and what better partner than your own son.
Attachments
Laurel snow 1.jpg
Laurel snow 2.jpg
Laurel snow 3.jpg
Laurel MMD.jpg



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Re: Our First trip (Mike, Jim and me - CC).

Postby windknot » Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:58 pm

Great pictures and story, thank for sharing this! My first backpacking trip with my dad and brothers was probably the worst in my experience (I got altitude sickness, we did some steep off-trail climbing that proved too much for us kids, my dad tried mixing elk sticks with instant cheese and ramen for a makeshift mac and cheese that didn't fool anyone, etc.), and it took several years before I was willing to go on another. For me, fishing was the ultimate motivational tool to get me back on the trail, and I haven't looked back since.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Our First trip (Mike, Jim and me - CC).

Postby LMBSGV » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:51 pm

Wonderful story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Our First trip (Mike, Jim and me - CC).

Postby balzaccom » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:29 am

Nice story! We were in the same area about that same time...and had some similar adventures. But we never got to Laurel Lake because the high water in Frog Creek...

so how and where did you cross it?

Here's a link to the blog report on our trip:

https://sites.google.com/site/backpackt ... kedowntrip

And if you click on the photos, it will take you to the Picasa page with ALL the photos.
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: Our First trip (Mike, Jim and me - CC).

Postby Cross Country » Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:07 pm

After crossing and recrossing Frog Creek more than 15 times I'll say this. It always depends on how much snow fell and when. I've crossed it at the worst possible week and just stepped across stones in the water. I've crossed 5 weeks after the high water time and the only way across was a log jam between the upper trail and the lower trail both from beehive. I would imagine that the logjam no longer exists.
Last edited by Cross Country on Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Our First trip (Mike, Jim and me - CC).

Postby Timberline » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:58 pm

Really enjoyed this TR, Cross Country! Discovering that your son (or sons in your case?) found the same enjoyment being in the outdoors as I did has been one of my most cherished experiences. In my case, 3 days of continuous rain at Wasco Lake in the Oregon Cascades confronted me with a depressing prospect that my son would never set foot in the wilderness again. We played a lot of hearts in the tent! But he was a trooper, and we've had many sojourns together since, and memories to share. Thanks for sharing your story :) :thumbsup:
Let 'er Buck! Back in Oregon again!
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