Tale of Three Drainages: S Fork Merced, Merced, San Joaquin 7/20-26

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Tale of Three Drainages: S Fork Merced, Merced, San Joaquin 7/20-26

Post by giantbrookie » Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:15 pm

In sports they talk about "making a statement" with a performance, but for an aging recreational athlete such as me, the statement one makes is to oneself. There is an extent to which we need to convince ourselves that we can still do certain things. For me, the signature trip of 2019 had a lot of those elements, including a test of backcountry fitness at age 60 (birthday this coming Friday), and a rigorous evaluation of how well I've recovered from my December 20, 2018 prostate cancer surgery. Some sentimental history factors in, too. In 1988 I helped my dad celebrate his 60th with a lightning raid to climb Seven Gables. Now, I took my ace backpacking partner, my daughter Dawn (13), for a bit of symmetry. Whereas it is true that I plan my trips have a fishing focus, this trip ranks among my top 5 all time in 52 years of backpacking because of the "getting there" and adventure. For fishing summary, scroll to near end of the narrative report (after July 26) but don't expect a story like the 2015 'Gold at the end of the Rainbow' trip. That I'm doing the "asynchronous" fishing report means that some decent fishing took place, but the overall stats speak for themselves. In 7 days out there, I caught 12 fish and Dawn caught 11. Nope, magic for me and my daughter in the High Sierra comes mainly from other sources.
ChainAdairLillianRouteDone.pdf
Saturday July 20. Quartz Mtn. to Middle Chain Lake.
Having acquired the walk up wilderness permit the day before at the Clovis RS, I drove the trusty 1992 Pathfinder up Sky Ranch Road to the Quartz Mtn trailhead. There were a few downed logs that had not been cleared from the road yet, including one that forced a rather narrow squeeze on the downhill side (removed before we drove back). Owing to the heavy runoff and late thaw I observed the week before, I had already revised the game plan from the original off season version. The original plan was day 1 to Givens Lake, day 2 to Lower Ottaway Lake, day 3 to Grayling and possible passage all the way to Adair L. (which would allow for layover at Adair), day 4 Adair, day 5 Edna Lake., day 6 Middle Chain L. , day 7 easy trail hike out to Quartz Mtn. With the runoff situation I figured the S. Fork Merced at Gravelly Ford wouldn't go, so we headed to Middle Chain on day 1 and planned a more interesting day 6 (Edna Lake to Lillian Lake) and day 7 (Lillian L. to Quartz Mtn) crossing the S Fork Merced-San Joaquin Divide north of Sing Peak.
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As a result of the change in plans, Dawn and I had a fairly light day 1 (about 6 miles to Middle Chain L., I believe). We encountered mild temperatures but an annoying lack of breeze with the usual inverse relationship between breeze and mosquito density. At Dawn's request I had brought along some DEET (first time in many years). We sprayed some on our clothing and seemed to observe a fairly large reduction in mosquito numbers, but as the trip wore on, we found this to be largely illusory. Coming off of one of my hardest warm up trips ever a week before, I figured we would be in tip top shape for this week long adventure. Dawn was, but I was shocked to find myself laboring on the ascents. I have Dawn lead on the trail segments mainly to benefit her spirit, but until this week could keep up fairly easily. This time I had to shout ahead to her to wait for me because she steadily pulled away from me and I was concerned she'd wander off the trail. She has a habit of leaving the trail at drainage points and other "fake outs" (happened many times on this trip). She destroyed me on all of the on-trail climbs and pushed me on the off-trail ascents until day 7, when a bit of my old school dash seemed to return. My wife Judy would ask me later "Do you think this has anything to do with your surgery?" I can't see any reason why the surgery had anything to do with my struggling on the uphills. My core strength is fine (PR on plank of >50 min was done post-surgery) as well as other strength indicators (long ago returned to doing muscle ups on pull up bars) and I got more hiking in than usual during the "off season" doing geologic field work (so leg strength should be fine). It just seemed that I didn't have the usual power from my glutes, hammies and calves. Nope, I told Judy afterwards that I think that the ravages of Father Time are actually beginning to show.

We arrived at Middle Chain after a bit short of 3 hours on the trail and I tried to pitch the tent on high ground to reduce the mosquito presence. This certainly reduced the mossie abundance relative to nearer to the shore, but annoyance levels remained high.
2306DawnMiddleChain.jpg
July 21 Middle Chain to Lower Ottaway Lake.
I find on-trail stuff kind of boring, and this rings even more true for mid elevation trails that seem to wander through the woods with minimal views. Throw in inefficient trail routing that seems to add unnecessary distance as well as excess elevation gain and this becomes just a brute force slog. And we experienced more still air and mosquito hordes and did the first of our wade-across stream crossings. Lower Ottaway Lake itself finally got us out of the middle elevation doldrums into more alpine looking country, although the swarming hordes persisted. I camped high again, but this time the campsite was seriously bumpy. Somehow I slept well, but Dawn did not.
2307DawnCampOttoway.jpg
July 22 Lower Ottaway Lake to Unnamed L 10400+ upstream of Grayling Lake.
Now the adventure began, for we departed from the trail. Topographically, the Lower Ottaway to Grayling route looks easy but there is a lot of downed timber and deceptive micro topography from various moraine complexes. The latter threw me off the route and I overshot Grayling Lake. Although hiking strongly, Dawn's spirits were not too good from the constant mosquito harassment, plus the tedious nature of the terrain. Grayling Lake, although the lowest elevation lake of all we visited ,was refreshed by a consistent breeze that kept the mosquitoes away and made for an exceedingly pleasant stop. From Grayling onward, Dawn's usual buoyant spirit returned. We left Grayling Lake and crossed Red Creek at a difficult and awkward log crossing with an overhanging set of branches. I'm not sure how I managed to crawl through; I lost one of my two water bottles over the falls. Dawn got stuck, and I helped disentangle her, having left my pack on the other side. This was the first of several equipment losses or problems. Above this crossing we had pleasant off trail climbing with minimal brush terrific views.
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Our long stay at Grayling precluded hiking all the way to Adair Lake but we figured we could stay at the unnamed lake at the head of Red Creek (10400+ elev) and make the next day's hike to Adair relatively easy. We found Lake 10400+ frozen over in a rugged alpine setting and sight of the next day off trail pass (our first of 4 on the trip) encouraging. The relatively high elevation and cooler temps reduced the mosquito density considerably. Just before nightfall we had an odd sprinkle of rain. There were few clouds above and none of them looked heavy, but this signaled a changing weather pattern. As of the morning of the departure (Jul. 20) NOAA had predicted partly cloudy with no rain (or thunderstorms) until Thursday (Jul. 25) when a 20 percent chance of rain was forecast.
2321L10400.jpg
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Tale of Three Drainages Part II

Post by giantbrookie » Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:29 pm

July 23 Lake 10400+ to Adair Lake. I arose to make breakfast to find my stove not working. It had failed for a day on the warmup trip, too, but had so far worked. Instead of the usual oatmeal and hot chocolate we downed a Clif Bar, struck camp and started climbing. We skirted most of the snow and climbed steep talus to the saddle. Some of the talus was unstable and I worried about Dawn trusting the wrong block and having one fall on her and injure her; several had slid or rolled out.
2322UpperParttoAdair.jpg
We gained the pass relatively quickly, for it was only 700' or so above our last camp. The top featured terrific views, and, as we expected, we found the north-facing side draped in snow, fortunately without any steep headwalls or cornices.
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The slope had a comforting runout, too, so I looked for a place for butt glissade, but it was too cupped to make this workable. At one point, I heard someone whoop and was shocked to see a party of four ascending the snow to the next pass to the east (the one that heads toward Red Peak Pass). I shouted my respects to them, declaring them true adventurers, and arrived at the bottom of the upper snow slopes. There, as I awaited Dawn, another group of 5 hikers ascended. They were apparently headed for the Merced. This is the first time in years I've encountered anyone off trail (last time was 2015, and that was on a segment of that trip that coincided with the SHR). After a short rest stop, Dawn and I continued our descent and I found some good glissade routes. Dawn enjoyed her first glissades immensely.
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We arrived at Adair Lake in the late morning, to be greeted by swarms of biting insects. Not a surprise with the lack of wind. A lot of clouds gathered overhead and thunder boomed in the distance but the thunderstorm activity remained east of us. As per the usual routine, I set up the tent first and Dawn crawled in to take shelter from the bugs. She also enjoys arranging the interior of the tent, which she does expertly. In the meantime, I spent some time around the lake. The campsite we chose near the outlet was unusually well developed and apparently associated with stock visits because I found several old mounds of horse poo. I wonder what route they use to get stock in here. Adair Lake is 80+ feet in elevation over the Yosemite campfire limit, but past parties had stockpiled an enormous amount of firewood at the campsite. This was important for us, given that my stove was out of commission. We needed to be able to boil water for our freeze dried dinner. Although isolated and viewful, our stay at Adair lake was fairly unpleasant because of unusually still air and a super high mosquito annoyance factor and superimposed on our relatively long stay (having arrived in the morning).
2331dawnfishesadair.jpg
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Tale of Three Drainages Part III

Post by giantbrookie » Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:45 pm

July 24 Adair to Edna Lake.
Although it was fairly chilly in the early morning at Adair, mossies were already out in force. I think I set a PR for pre-630 am kills for any campsite in my memory (approaching 100). The buzzing hordes prodded us to get going early, plus we knew we had some challenging terrain to cover, beginning with the first pass. The topography between that pass and Edna Lake looks fairly benign, but with it largely covered in deeply cupped snow, progress was slow.
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At one point I felt really gassed and light headed but recovered to gain mini drainage that descends to Lower Edna Lake. After super-cold wade of the outlet, we gazed up at the final challenge: the outlet chute of Edna Lake, which was what you could call "Edna Lake, North Couloir". No nice runout on that steep snow. I had figured that the snow climbs we would do would be mellow enough to not require an ice axe, but I sure wished we had them for this intimidating climb.
2345DawnBlwEdnaCouloir.jpg
In the meantime, the sky closed, thunder boomed, rain started following, and we put on our rain jackets. As we started climbing, I carefully inspected the snow slope. Such things usually look steeper than reality viewed end-on but tend to be much gentler when you get on them. Not this one. In addition, this snow lacked deep cups and a slip threatened a dangerously fast involuntary ride to crater on rocks below. I did little adjustments on the route to try to minimize the potential height of the fall but pondered how to deal with the intimidating headwall. Then I thought of an alternative. It seemed to me that there may be a fairly wide crack between the top of the snow and the cliffs above. If I could gain that trough, at worst I figured we could stem it and not be exposed to a potentially damaging fall down the snow. I veered to the right to further reduce the potential fall distance and continued to kick monster steps into the snow for Dawn to follow. With the adrenaline pumping we gained the trough which proved to be deep and fairly wide, and relatively easy to climb. Only one place required a stemming move. Thunder became more intense and the hail now coming done included some stones big enough to cause some pain on impact.
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Temperature had dropped quite a bit, too, so I found a place beneath an overhang where Dawn and I could slip on a warm midlayer beneath our waterproof shells as well as put on rainpants (had put on tops but not pants to this point). We waited for a bit beneath the rock roof for the hail to ease off a bit, then pushed our way to the "outlet" of Edna Lake. Here we had to cross the snow over the outlet stream to get to a spot that had a campsite. I carefully tested the snow and we crossed and found an austere but nicely flat campsite on the top of a knob overlooking the outlet. The lake was frozen over except for little bits of open water around the edges, with the biggest patch in the outlet area. Hail and rain began again in earnest again and I hurriedly pitched the tent. Some water got into the tent before I could get the rainfly up, but soon we and all our gear were inside (this is a Quarterdome 3 which is large enough to comfortably accommodate us and our packs). The storm became even more intense to the point where it seemed that even the ground shook with thunder and the downpour of hail became truly torrential. For three hours Dawn and I ate snacks and told stories as the stormed raged outside. The hailfall was so heavy that the rainfly would bulge inwards, so I had to push it every few minutes so that the hail would slide off to the bottom. A pretty good "snow patch" accumulated at the base of the rainfly by the end of the storm.
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With the stove dead, I figured we'd have to dig into our trail food as a substitute for dinner, so we did a lot of nibbling during the 3 hour wait. As thing got quiet, I timidly peered out of the tent and found the clouds to be breaking up. On the far side of the lake was this amazing waterfall with a staggering amount of brown and white water--looked like a dam had broken. This was apparently storm runoff, because by the next morning, the water volume had dropped to normal. Just for kicks I tried the stove. It actually worked again! This allowed us to boil some water for what was to be our favorite of the freeze dried dinners we ate (Three Sisters Stew). This would be the last time the stove functioned on the trip (new stove will be acquired before next one). It was chilly and hardly any mosquitoes took to the air. After the most dramatic day of the trip, we collapsed into a deep and comfortable sleep. We would need it, because the longest day awaited us.
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Re: Tale of Three Drainages: S Fork Merced, Merced, San Joaquin 7/20-26

Post by rlown » Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:53 pm

nice report so far. What kind of stove died and how?

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Tale of Three Drainages Part IV

Post by giantbrookie » Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:07 pm

July 25. Edna to Lillian Lake.
The climb up the ridge to escape Edna began with climbing over some really big talus. Overshadowed by the large amounts of snow climbing was the fact that this trip had a lot more boulder hopping than average, too.
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After some tedium and one awkward backward fall by me, we gained a mixed rock and snow shoulder which we followed to a lateral snow traverse to the east to get around Triple Divide Peak. A bit of rock scrambling took us over the Merced-San Joaquin Divide to where we could look down on Walton and the Slab Lakes.
2359TowardWalton.jpg
As we reached the Slab Lakes climbing became easier but the mossies returned with a vengeance. The trail to Slab Lakes is difficult to follow over much of its extent; we only picked it up for the last 1/4 mile before reaching the Fernandez Trail. This was quickly followed by another wading stream crossing, then the trail gets lost in this boggy area and we had what appeared to be an easy crossing via rocks of Fernandez Creek. Because of losing the trail, I was holding my topo map in one hand as I crossed. I slipped on one of the rocks and fell in and map sailed out of my hands into the water and took off downstream. Without a full pack on it wouldn't have been too hard to pursue and capture the map, but with the heavy pack--a titanic struggle. The map seemed to stay ahead of my grasp as I clawed, splashed, and paddled. It headed for this waterfall. I CANNOT lose that map! With a lunge/dive I grabbed the map as it was about 10 feet short of the top of the waterfall. We needed that map. Where was the trail? Even with the map, navigation was difficult owing to the lack of a good line-of-sight (trees). There was this campsite littered with oyster shells and about 50 yards away there was a smashed in Igloo cooler (related?). No sign of trail. As many of you know I almost never use a compass. In fact, I have used one three times in 52 years of backpacking (2015 when I overshot the Hoffman Mtn kickoff returning from Woodchuck, and 'warmup trip' of this year); this was the third time. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone by cutting a small corner and it worked: a WSW ascent up a slope soon intersected the trail. We realized, however, after reaching the trail that I no longer had my walking stick. Apparently, it was forgotten in the stream as I struggled to reach the floating topo map. Throughout all of this, the mosquito barrage continued, and it had clouded up and soon began to rumble and pour again. I had figured on cutting another corner to take off some super annoying inefficiency of the trail route to Lillian but had lost the taste for off trail antics for the rest of the day, so we put up trail and trudged up to Lillian Lake. We saw a cloud of campfire smoke and a number of voices coming from the north shore, but I had planned on a very high campsite on the ridge south of the lake to try to lessen the bugs. After being swarmed during this final climb we emerged on the ridgetop above a saddle to the west and a nice cool breeze blew the bugs away. We found a huge flat spot for the tent. The only issue was the 200' of elevation down to the lake to acquire water. Although exhausted (Dawn once again left me in the dust on the final trail climb to the lake), after pitching the tent, I brought back a full water bucket without spilling a drop. I think there was something energizing about the challenge of carrying the water bucket back up fairly steep and rough terrain without spilling anything.
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The final issue concerned making a cooking fire. It had rained pretty hard for two days, but I found some fairly dry wood in the shelter of some of the nearby trees. Even without the rain I had found more trouble igniting kindling earlier in the trip than ever before, but I had an ace in the hole. The stove didn't work so I had no use for the fuel. I sprinkled a smidge of fuel on the kindling, lit a match, and boom, easy ignition, like lighter fluid on a BBQ. Once I got the fire started, I boiled water more efficiently than any time during the trip (stove or campfire) and we soon had our dinner steeping (Fettuccine Alfredo). I figured we could also use "dessert", so I boiled more water after dinner to have some of our excess flavored oatmeal (two mornings worth extra now). It worked beautifully. As the sun set it began to cloud up again. Below I could see the twinkling of campfires and headlamps at the north shore Lillian campsites to the north as well as at one of the Staniford Lakes to the south. Dawn warned me of the possibility of night rains and to, at minimum, put packs and other stuff under the vestibule(s). At first I thought "nah", but then moved stuff beneath. I didn't protect the morning firewood supply, though. Just before knocking off, it began to rain lightly, but this campsite was by far the most comfy of any of the 6 of the trip (distance to water notwithstanding). Unlike the forced march, early waking schedules of the first 6 days I figured we could sleep in a bit on this last night, too.

July 26 Lillian Lake to Quartz Mtn trailhead. It rained through much of the night, never heavily, but fairly persistently. This was clearly some sort of weather front superimposed on the more usual thunderstorm cycle. I fretted a bit about the duration of this storm. I really didn't want to think of packing up in the rain and escaping over the 4th and last off trail pass. At a bit after 640 am the rain seemed to abate and I peered outside. Yes, the clouds seemed to be breaking up a bit. I realized my morning firewood stash had been soaked so I went foraging. I was thinking that perhaps we should get out quickly so as to minimize the chance of being "cutoff" but eventually the sky cleared enough to make me relax considerably. We did not leave Lillian Lake until about 1230 pm.
2370Lilliangoodbye.jpg
The final off trail "pass" was a shoulder north of Sing Peak and it was mostly slabs, talus, and greenery, rather than the usual snow, although we did climb across some small snowfields on the upper slopes.
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I aimed a bit too far south so that we had to do just a smidge of low 3rd class to find a good descent route off of the uppermost slopes on the west side. On the descent I managed to find one last snowslope for a glissade.
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I predicted that when we reached Spotted Lakes we'd be back in mosquito hell after an evening and morning free of those pests. It was every bit as bad as predicted. We reached Quartz Mtn trailhead about 5 hours after leaving Lillian Lake.
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The mosquitoes there were at about 1/50 of the density of much of what we'd dealt with on the west flank that day but we still had a number get into the car even though we careful not to leave doors or tailgate open for very long. After boarding I set what seemed to be a record for post-hike interior vehicle kills: 5. We then bounced and rattled back toward civilization to begin the long-anticipated finale: ice cream at Reimers, followed by me cooking a big dinner---herb pork chops to recap the 2018 trip. The adventure was over, or at least so it seemed. But before we get to the postscript, time for a little fishing summary.

Fishing summary.
As noted earlier, fishing was hardly outstanding, and this included total skunkage at the two better known off trail spots (asterisk on one skunk owing to near complete ice over). 8 of Dawn's 11 fish and 7 of my 12 were caught at one lake. That one lake featured chunky rainbows and everything we caught there ran from 12 to 14 inches. In fact, it was Dawn's hottest fishing streak of her life. I cut my own session short in order to bathe my funky feet as well as to be more readily available for helping Dawn release fish (hasn't quite mastered that yet). One lake reputed to have big rainbows seemed to have a rather small top end.
0DawnsRainbows.jpg
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Dawn caught two 10 inch rainbows, I caught a 9 and a 10 inch rainbow and we had many strikes for fish of similar size. The biggest cruisers I saw may have been in the 11-inch range. Another lake was surprisingly slow. We had many hours of observation and saw very few rises and zero cruising fish. When I finally hooked something, I was positive it was a snag. Then when I realized it was a fish, I was very careless and nonchalant. I could see it was pretty big but still insisted on hoisting it from the fairly high (10' above water) casting platform I was on. As these things usually work, I was to the point of grabbing it when it shook loose fell onto a brush-covered ledge and rolled into the water as I ran after it. I had a split secondf to nab it in the shallows, but it slipped through my grasp. It was a brookie of unusually fat dimensions (wide and high bodied) and I didn't really figure out how large it was until I caught a 14-inch brookie later in the trip. The fish was probably in the 15-16" class and would have easily been the biggest fish of the trip. I later had a fairly massive rainbow in the 12-14" class throw my lure out on a jump; the lure landed neatly at my feet. I finally caught a 10 inch rainbow, but my 3 hours of fishing at the place included a total of about 5 strikes in more than 50 casts. Another lake pitched a shutout in the first session (with one strike) but then surrendered a 10 and 14 inch brookie to me and 12 inch brookie to Dawn plus about 3 times that many strikes or fish on. So, the grand totals for us break down as follows: GB: 10 rainbows, 2 brookies. 8 of these fish were in the 12-14" class. Dawn: 10 rainbows, 1 brookie. 9 of these fish were in the 12-14" class.

"Postscript" July 26-28. Quartz Mtn to Fresno to Yosemite to Castro Valley.
After delicious ice cream at Reimers in Oakhurst, Dawn and I headed for Fresno with the game plan to take a quick shower and then shop for groceries for a big dinner. I parked in the garage then, after turning off the engine realized I should move the car a bit forward. Yikes, dead as a doorknob. Really? It turned out it was also after the time that AAA does battery calls. I set out on a 'nighthike' in the Fresno evening heat (90+) to get groceries from a nearby Food4Less (about 1.5 mi roundtrip). I did fatty porkchops with wild yarrow (acquired near the trailhead) garlic, salt and pepper, Brussel sprouts with tarragon, garlic, salt, and olive oil, served with jasmine rice. For me, I washed it down with my usual post-hike brew (Torpedo) followed by my own dark Belgian IPA ("Black Mamba version 5"). The next morning AAA arrived but found that the issue was probably the starter because the battery was fine. Dawn and I then did a 3 mile round trip hike (temps getting into 90s on walk back to house) to eat the post-trip breakfast at our favorite breakfast place on the planet: Batter Up. Judy and Lee were originally planning to meet us at a social gathering at a resort near Yosemite Valley (Yosemite West near Glacier Pt cutoff from 41) but with my car dead swung down through Fresno to pick us up. The social occasion was the 25th wedding anniversary celebration of friends of mine and Judy's. Judy and I had gone to the original wedding and reception (reception at same location) directly from one of our greatest backpacking trips, a trip we called "Ring Around the Goddard". Although I was a bit dinged up after this recent trip, I looked a lot better than in 1994 when I had a big mouse under one eye and a torn nose (breaking a piece of wood that flew up and smacked me in the face). On Sunday (July 28) we returned to Castro Valley. The old Pathfinder awaits a tow to my preferred Fresno mechanic when the fall semester begins, and my knees and feet were pretty swollen. The trip appears to be the sooner-than-expected 'crossover' point for backpacking in my family. Dawn surpassed me a lot earlier than I thought she would. She is the strongest 13-year-old hiker I've ever seen. Next year she'll have to take a bit more in her pack (this trip began with me carrying ~55-60lbs to her ~20), but I seriously don't think that will change the result and I will not have her carrying a higher fraction of her body weight than me. A new era in backpacking has begun in our family, and although I won't be the fastest anymore, I will still enjoy it as much as anyone, even Dawn. Did I live up to my dad's 60th birthday hike to Seven Gables? I think so. I didn't move nearly as fast, but I was carrying a ton more (by our "crossover" when my dad was 51 and I was 20, we also traded places in packweight and he was probably carrying about 30lbs on that 1988 trip) and the 1988 backpacking component was entirely on trail. But what made the trip most worthy of the 1988 version was that my dad celebrated his 60th hike with his son, just as I celebrated mine with my daughter. Pretty hard to beat, I think. I am a super lucky guy to be in the middle of such symmetry. Not to be forgotten in this history is the intervening "golden age" of backpacking for me (say 1989-2001) where my ace backpacking and fishing buddy was my wife Judy. Few have been so fortunate.
Best wishes to all in the Topix Community. Cheers, GB
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Re: Tale of Three Drainages: S Fork Merced, Merced, San Joaquin 7/20-26

Post by sekihiker » Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:45 pm

What a trooper she is. Great report of an epic trip.

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Re: Tale of Three Drainages: S Fork Merced, Merced, San Joaquin 7/20-26

Post by Mike M. » Mon Jul 29, 2019 6:30 pm

Giantbrookie,

Thank you for posting this fun and detailed trip report. Hiking with your daughter and celebrating your 60th together -- it's a precious memory that will only get richer as time passes. And fighting the skeeters, the sun cups, and the poor weather -- all are icing on the cake. I just hate mosquitoes and will do anything to avoid them. (I leave for my summer hike on August 12th and am hoping the bug nuisance will have waned by then.)

Like you, I really enjoyed hiking with my kids when they were young teenagers, but I was a nervous Nelly, always worrying about them and possible disasters along the way.

Mike M.

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Re: Tale of Three Drainages: S Fork Merced, Merced, San Joaquin 7/20-26

Post by giantbrookie » Mon Jul 29, 2019 6:52 pm

rlown wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:53 pm
nice report so far. What kind of stove died and how?
It was an old Coleman Peak 1 duel fuel stove. I'm not sure what exactly is ailing it. On the warmup trip the pump seemed to stop working, but then it sort of "revived" on the second day. This pattern continued to this trip until the final failure where I appeared to be able to pump it but then nothing escaped (neither, air, gas, nor mixture) when the stove was turned on.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Wandering Daisy
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Re: Tale of Three Drainages: S Fork Merced, Merced, San Joaquin 7/20-26

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:31 pm

Great trip report and photos. It was something really special. I have been to most of the places but certainly not the route you did- that was a very creative route! I did a longer loop out of Fernandez TH, but it had more trail and less x-c travel. Wiggling up melt gaps between snow and rock really does work much of the time. Also for me the bar for "good fishing" is much lower than yours; I would have thought I had a great fishing trip with what you two caught. Your daughter is pretty tough to put up with all those mosquitoes. I think I would have bailed.

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Re: Tale of Three Drainages: S Fork Merced, Merced, San Joaquin 7/20-26

Post by kpeter » Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:08 pm

Outstanding report! So happy you and your daughter had this fabulous trip, and quite amazed that it went well despite weather, mosquitoes, and equipment failures. A mark of a very good relationship that the two of you did not let all those impediments spoil your fun. And, having also just turned 60 and having gone through a similar health issue, I can attest to feeling less strong at elevation too. Time wears on us all.

In following along, I was not quite sure how you got from Adair to Edna. Did you use any of the Red Peak Pass trail? I absolutely love Red Devil Lake and wonder where you went relative to it and the pass.

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