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TR Rancheria to Tehipite Valley (2)

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TR Rancheria to Tehipite Valley (2)

Postby Jimr » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:48 pm

After a half hour, we went back to retrieve our packs and head up river. The trail soon met up with the ravine as it entered the river and it was choked with brambles loaded with long pin style thorns. After a couple of attempts to pass through and several stings from the vines, I told my son I was shredded from our venture and did not want to bushwhack any more, so we turned back down river to our original spot and dropped the packs. I attempted to change out of my boots and into tennis shoes, but the laces were so packed with grass seed heads that they were literally pinned in place. I finally got the laces pulled apart and untied, then slipped into some comfortable shoes. I was shocked to see the whole inner lining of my boots so laced with seed heads that I never put the boots back on. In fact, my 30-year-old faithful Danners are now in the trash heap (RIP old friends). As we stared at the large river run before us, I told my son there were no trout in this water. It was a swift and steady run and trout would expend too much energy trying to stay in this current with no breaks or eddies to protect themselves from exhaustion. They may pass through here, but they don’t stay.

Right near the river, just up from the gravel wash was an old fire ring that was long overgrown. I brought my son over to see the fire ring and what appeared to be a rock stove made from local slate and mortar. I told him that the site was probably older than the national forest designation and may have been from a small gold prospect. Whoever made the site brought mortar down and there were a few 10 ft steel pipes lying buried in the grass. This site was far too exposed and too close to the river for use, so I headed down river using a dry wash choked with driftwood. It was not long before I found a nice area at the head of a stand of trees that held promise of a flat night’s sleep. We brought the packs over and I laid out my blue painter’s tarp and my son rested while I made us a hot lunch. After lunch, we went down to the river to be greeted by a nice gravel/cobble beach and the most perfect stretch of trout water one could hope for. We dumped off our shoes and gave our feet a nice long, well-deserved soak. I then proceeded to educate him on the anatomy of a trout stream. Upstream was the end of the run we first encountered. It entered this section with a wide berth and slowed down into a meander. The main river trench was on the far side with several eddies near the opposite shore. The center section varied in depth, but ran slower with many rocky outcroppings forming eddies that were about 8 ft deep. The river gradually shallowed onto our shore. After a long foot soak, I took a picture of my shredded legs and then we decided to treat ourselves to a bath. I went to camp to get towels and washrags and as I entered the wash, I met up with a big black bear. He was wandering up valley and our eyes met about 20 ft from each other. We were both startled and he turned. I yelled “YO BEAR, YO BEAR” and he hightailed it around our camp and up the valley at a gallop. I stood there watching his big brown behind and his large black footpads disappear into the forest. I gave him a few minutes and then entered camp. I returned with our toiletries and stripped down to my skivvies. To my amazement, my son did not want his boxers to get wet, so he stripped down au natural and stayed that way much of the time. Who knew I had a nature boy on my hands.

After a well deserved bath, I told him that we were not going to be missed for several days, so we may as well do what we came down here for. I went and grabbed my spinning rod and box of lures. I tied on a black Panther Martin and presented it right across the eddie before us, retrieving it into the tail of the rock that would be our sittin’ an’ thinkin’ an’ chattin’ spot for long periods over the next few days. Them fish were mighty hungry ‘cause I got nailed immediately and was treated with a nice, fat 12 in. ‘bow. I handed the rod to my son and he hauled him in. Our aim was catch and release and keep maybe one or two to sauté in butter. We both took turns fishing and nailing 12 inchers for some time before we put enough hurt on them lips to shut their mouths, so we let the river rest and went back to camp to set-up home and think about some dinner.

It was hot in the valley, so we had to let the tent cool down before we could comfortably rest away from the skeeters who loved our camp, but were absent at the rivers edge. I cooked us up some rice and chicken, then cleaned up the kitchen and lay in the tent as twilight approached. Right at dusk, as we were lying in our tent, my son looked out the bug screen and said “Dad,,,,there’s a bear cub in our camp”! I told him to move over so I could see and my son said, “he ran away. He must have seen me move”. I told my son to stay in the tent and don’t move. There’s a momma bear out there and we don’t want her to get the wrong impression. We stared out for several minutes, and then lay back down to rest. As I lie there, I noticed a familiar and unwelcome feeling in my inner thighs. They began to itch and upon inspection, were turning red. CRAP! I must have slid or bushwhacked through some poison oak. I laid a towel between my legs and went to sleep.

I was up at first light ‘cause I like my coffee early in the mountains. I could see that the rash from the poison oak was spreading to my stomach and arms. This may really suck. I told my son that when the sun lit the valley, we would wash cloths. I gave him his towel and washrag and told him to keep them for himself only and not to use mine or mix his up with mine. We spent the day washing cloths, washing bodies (we did this often as it was hot in the valley and the water was cool), fishing and talking for endless hours. It seemed I’ve now learned all there is to know about the history of gaming systems and character development for Nintendo. Again, we put a lip hurt on the fish in our local stretch. I throat hooked one, so I ran a stick through the mouth and gills and rocked it to the river to keep the fish cool and moist while I went back to camp to bring the kitchen right down to the river’s edge for a nice trout lunch. My son loved the fresh trout. His first taste. He particularly enjoyed it being fed to him as I pulled the meat from the bone and right into his mouth. These are the moments that will live forever in me. We were actually salvaging the nightmare and building some moments we would cherish the rest of our lives.

We decided to fish further down river, so we moved down the wash to new sections of stream. We came upon a fast, narrow run with several pockets on the far side. I told my son to plant that Panther Martin right on the opposite shore and through the pocket, into the run. He nailed it perfectly and got immediately bit. His rod bent in half as the fish darted into the swift current. “This is the meaning of angling”, I told my son. I guided him in his actions telling him how to position the rod relative to the line and the fish to get maximum tension from the bending of the rod and minimizing the tension on the line, then swing the rod around to guide the fish out of the power or the run he was using as leverage to pull from that hook and guide it into the shoreline water out of the current. He did a perfect job of fighting that fish and soon had a 14 inch ‘bow at the shoreline. I secured the line and had him come to the fish for a picture, but the fish shook the lure and was off. It didn’t matter. He was to be released anyway. My son was electrified from the fight. We moved further down river and I stepped on two logs crossing each other. Up from the logs came about a dozen bees. I suggested we just walk back from whence we came and leave them to their lair. I told my son they must be European honey bees because if they were Africanized bees, we’d be running, not walking.
(continued)
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Jimr
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Re: TR Rancheria to Tehipite Valley (2)

Postby schmalz » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:54 pm

Quick question, why not try to walk through the valley and exit out from the other side, so that you could hike out to Cedar Grove?
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Re: TR Rancheria to Tehipite Valley (2)

Postby Jimr » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:17 pm

It's 16 miles from Tehipite to Simpson Meadow, then there's the Monarch divide. I've been over that from Simpson Meadow. They call it the Bitc* for a reason. Two days of the dryest, steepest, dustiest trail you will ever encounter. Anyway, the worst thing you can do is start moving away from your known itinerary. Going down was a no go as well from Tehipite to Yucca pt. is worse than either two exit points.
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Re: TR Rancheria to Tehipite Valley (2)

Postby lostcoyote » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:49 pm

wow Jim, quite a descent!

how did your poison oak pan out?

i got into that stuff once and never again!
a few years ago, i climbed ot of tehipite and remember avoiding it along the lower 1000 feet of switchbacks.

i guess going up is easier than going down!
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Re: TR Rancheria to Tehipite Valley (2)

Postby Jimr » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:31 am

Still scratching, but nearly healed. You know how steep trails go. Hard going up, dangerous going down. Especially with a 14 year old. I'm still second guessing my decision to bring him along. If not for a few switchbacks that congregated to a choke point of deep debris and steep slope, it would have been a perfect trip. He was a stellar hiker and I'm very proud of him. The best laid plans of mice and men often go asunder.
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Re: TR Rancheria to Tehipite Valley (2)

Postby Troutdog 59 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:03 pm

Wow!!! Some crazy stuff Jimr. Glad you and the boy are OK. Part 3 coming?
If you stand in the light, you get the feel of the night, and the music that plays in your ear......
In your mind you can hear, a voice so sweet and clear, and the music that plays in your head......
As it flows up from the ground, taking all that hear the sound, close your eyes, it’s about to begin.

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