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Re: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic July 1st-Septembe

Postby alpinemike » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:32 pm

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So there you are... Week 4. Epic and awful all at the same time! The next day we'd come out of the Muro Blanco... or would we?!
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Re: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic July 1st-Septembe

Postby The Other Tom » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:51 am

"This is us drying out our gear since it was completely drenched. Pretty sure this was after I burned one of my socks to a crisp... that was lovely."

Yep, been there done that.
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Re: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic July 1st-Septembe

Postby robertseeburger » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:32 pm

Well, that was me who you met at lake below Split Mtn... (I posted a trip report "trip report kings canyon 7/19-7/28" last august, and reference that I met both of you. ) Looks like I just beat the weather coming in...It was good to meet you guys and I had fun jabbering about all sorts of stuff. A couple of things...

While I have never been down Muro Blanco... I remember smiling at you guys and saying.... "good luck", having heard some war stories.

I had read your summaries of going down Disappearing Creek and Goddard Creek to Simpson Meadow, but I still had it in my brain to do it some day.
But the dialogue we had, in addition to the writeup...talked me out of it.. I think Muro Blanco is also off the list of to do's....

And lastly, one of things I remember was that we talked about taking alcohol backpacking...and I mentioned that it was desirable but it was one of the things
that gets eliminated due to weight when I go solo. So, you offered me some of your bourbon. I looked at your pouch and could see maybe an ounce left..so I didn't have the heart to accept! Out for 80 days with only an ounce. But thanks for offering!

I enjoy reading your posts...thanks!!
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Re: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic July 1st-Septembe

Postby alpinemike » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:20 pm

Week 5

Alright Week 5... Let's finish up the Muro Blanco and head into the wild and remote Monarch Wilderness.

Day 29- Middle of Muro Blanco to Middle Paradise Valley
Anyways we slept well that night and morning dawned crisp & clear but the inevitable dread soon sank in. We were in the heart of the worst bushwhack in the Sierra & we had to get out of it today and we still had 4+ Miles to go. Well, in summary it was 4 miles of pure hell on Earth. It took over 9 hours to do it & when we finished we were f***ing wasted. I swear at one point I thought Rogue was going to kill himself with any means possible. So, after climbing through **** jungles of aspens and fields of prickly ball bush and thickets of willows we made it to Kid Creek. We had enjoyed plenty of delicious currants & even some raspberries & a nice soak in the river, but unfortunately nothing could prepare us for the agony that lay ahead. After entering into a decent forest and passing by the only real camping area since ours, we figured we were almost home free…cruising into Paradise Valley via this forest. Of course, that didn’t happen and we entered a massive brush filled area only to enter into another forest. Now, we thought we were in the clear.. Oh no. Of course not... how could it be that easy? The fun was only just beginning. At that point we had no more than a 1.5 miles of the canyon left but not an inch was won without miles of effort. The willows, the scrub oak, the aspens, the heat… It was destroying every inch of our body & every scrap of our souls. The heat was seriously unbearable. I honestly wished it was raining at that point since fighting through brush is never easy but when it's hot and there's a swarm of blood sucking vampires attacking you from every side it's downright agonizing. Nothing was worse than the last .5 mile or so. We were out of water, dehydrated, barely could go on when we finally accessed the river. I thoroughly and very clearly to this day remember the moaning and groaning as we fought our way to get to the river. Every manner of growl, yelp, moan, scream, and cruse word echoed out of our parched mouths. Arghhhhhh how I rued the day I read about the Muro Blanco and wanted to go explore it. That wretched canyon could burn for all I cared at this point. From the river it finally got easier but still difficult & not until the last quarter mile did it let up. We rolled straight into Upper Paradise Valley into a campsite warning the people never to travel through the hell that is that canyon. I could write so much more about how horrendous it was but why; knowing I’ll never be back and I’ll never bushwhack again is enough for me. Rogue said it was by far the worst route & that he’s done with bushwhacking…The gavel had fallen. We decided Middle Paradise was far enough & **** me, I was totally delirious walking through there. My body was wrecked, even though I had never really gotten too cut up, but I had plenty of small cuts. My mind was wrecked from having to focus so much on not **** losing it in the bushes. Andy my feet were crippled, totally raw & wet, since I managed to step into water at the end of the day after spending all day drying them out. It never rained that day, so naturally it was miserably hot, since the shade never could make it over us, even though plenty of clouds built. By the time we got into camp it was late & I couldn’t walk another inch. But of course water access was far as hell away so I crawled my way down & up there amid some of the worst mosquitoes we had seen. Seriously, what the f***… 6600 FT at the end of July… why the hell were there still mosquitoes there. It made dinner seriously non-enjoyable & it was hot as hell down there but no matter what it was better than being in the **** up Muro Blanco. Can you tell I was pretty over this day?

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Re: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic July 1st-Septembe

Postby alpinemike » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:24 pm

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Re: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic July 1st-Septembe

Postby alpinemike » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:29 pm

Day 30- Middle Paradise Valley to Cedar Grove
Today we booked it down to Road’s End & were there by 10:40 A.M. Gear wise, the Muro Blanco took out my socks & the front part of my shoe sole on my right foot is gone but I’m sure it will survive, although barely to my truck. But, my pack got a large rip in the mesh, which I will attempt to fix. We passed several rangers & saw a rattlesnake. I finally got to see Mist Falls which was pretty cool, although the flow was low since it was later in the season. Overall, we had a nice view of the canyon which was good since last year was so bad because of the smoke. We passed by 2 backpackers that would eventually come out a little after us & we fortunately immediately got a ride from them in the back of their truck. The shitty sandy trail was unpleasant but food was close at hand so we didn't care anymore. Soon, we were rolling into Cedar Grove Lodge… 3rd year in a row for me & likely the last for a while. After getting some chips, a drink, and saying hello to the lady that let us drop off our packages we secured our Wi-Fi Password we enjoyed our snack. We had to wait for lunch since we were early. We quickly found out only Facebook worked, which was a real bummer (I wanted to check the weather, among a few other things), but we made do. We messaged Dan & asked him to get me my socks. He was cool with it & he said the pizzas were on their way! What glorious news that was. Soon, we were eating delicious burgers with a salad for a very satisfying lunch. We then chilled for a while, messaged some people & found out that the meteor was a Chinese Missile. We did half of our laundry & took a shower which was quite heavenly albeit it ran a bit short. Feet were doing better & the shoes were finally dry, which was a real treat. By 4 Dan found us & we soon went to look for a campsite at Sentinel. So after not finding a campsite at Sentinel we went down the road a ways till we got one at Moraine. We set up and then went back to the store & Dan bought a 6 pack of assorted beers. We then chowed down on our ridiculously good pizza that was ordered perfectly. Although it was $20 it was very worth it. Dan got me a lighter cushion version of socks, but all is good & he even picked up my pole tips. Rogue got his pad, so we got our gear & were very satisfied. After helping Dan sort through his gear & food we chatted a while about a bunch of random stuff including his 3 mustangs & 11 cars total we went to sleep.

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Re: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic July 1st-Septembe

Postby alpinemike » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:30 pm

Day 31- Layover
We woke super early to sort out our logistics with Dan. He had to get a permit & to the TH early since he was going up to Frypan Meadow on the 1st Day before us. After getting his permit we made it to the TH around 8 and bade him good luck since it would be hot. Fortunately we had his car to drive around in and take care of our errands. A nice late 90’s 500 series BMW… cool! First we packed up our site & found one at Sentinel right at the entrance. Couldn’t have been better for us. Then we took care of our boxes & sorting through all of that. Lunch rolled around and I ate a Chicken Caesar wrap which was most delicious. After we took care of our laundry I tried to make my phone calls with the pay phone there since there is no cell coverage. I tried both mom & my dad & neither picked up. Amy did so I chatted with her about the status of the business. Then, we dropped off Dan’s car at the Copper Creek TH & tried to hitch back. We had no luck for a while until the ranger gave us a ride back to our campground. From there it was almost dinnertime. Fortunately I figured out the internet secret earlier… Away from the restaurant you could get access to everything more or less. Checked the weather & showed clear. The heat wave is supposed to be over in a few days & the return of our usual wind which means not T-storms in the future. Before dinner we finished the last of our packing & as I tried to write this journal my mechanical pencil broke. Hence, I’ve been writing with a poor wood one that I constantly have to sharpen. Anyways, dinner rolled around & I got a burger, 2 beers and potato salad. It was very satisfying topped off with an It’s IT ice cream. Rogue fat assed it up with a rib plate that was meager so he got a got a burrito from the store and topped that off with a chili dog. Our last good meal for a while surely couldn’t disappoint. I bought 2 Red Bulls & some ravioli stuff in a can for the morning. It was a warm night for us down there in the canyon heat.
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Re: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic July 1st-Septembe

Postby alpinemike » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:40 pm

Day 32- Cedar Grove to Grizzly Lakes
And so the day finally came when we had to climb 5000 FT off from the canyon floor in the heat with 10 days of food. And it surely & truly was hellacious. We woke up at 5:15 and both of us had to dump a load. After we chowed down, I drank 1 Red Gull and it definitely started to hit me. I don't ever drink energy drinks, nor do I drink caffeine at all. But I figured a little more energy would be good for such a hard day. I was freaking out, whooping & hollering down the road. We got out of camp by 6:15ish & were on the trail by 6:50 A.M. A very good early start. It was right around 4500 FT and the past couple nights were very warm so getting high would be very welcome. The Lewis Creek Trail definitely starts up quickly and climbs via switchbacks right from the beginning. It wasn’t long before it hit me that I really needed to take a dump & thus I did right below the trail. I'll spare everyone the details but it was very painful and I was very concerned that this could turn into an all day event. And as I was yelling that to Rogue a girl happened to be hiking right by… naturally. It was her last day working down in the canyon & we come to find out she goes to school in Montana (her name is Callie). After I came back she left & my ass was still burning good. Oh boy… what a lovely start to this day. Soon my stomach really started hurting me to the point where it became physically painful to walk. This was of course all along the **** up hot, dry, dusty trail to Frypan Meadow. The hillside definitely wasn’t nuked though & there was plenty trees left & growth. We got to Frypan by noon & found Dan there chatting with Callie. We took lunch quickly there & Callie decided to follow us up the Grizzly Lakes “Trail”. Immediately the trail was in shitty condition and climbed very steeply up a dry hillside with much ash & fire debris. As I put it… the ‘trail’ showed no mercy at all… relentlessly steep. Callie soon turned around & headed back. We had no such luxury & continued to press on. The last 1000 FT or so were absolutely grueling given my worsening condition. I many times wanted to puke but never did. I was in some of the worst pain imaginable the whole way up and once we reached the lake I basically collapsed on a rock and laid there. The Grizzly Lakes were a total shithole that were reed filled & stagnant which made for shitty water. Dan & Rogue looked for a place to camp and found one on the other side of the lake toward the back. I just barely got there before collapsing again. I was ridiculously weak & in great stomach pain. The guys went & filtered all the water as I lay mostly motionless on the rock. The camp was very old with an old campfire ring, old files, and cans that were totally rusted. Our camp was pretty annoying with poor water access, poor quality water along with a **** ton of mosquitoes. Why they were still alive is beyond me. I attempted to eat some Mac & Cheese but only managed to eat ½ of it before dumping it on the fire. I would barely drink anything & I knew that whatever was going on would be difficult to recover from. Oh… I also fell coming out of Frypan Meadow straight onto a bunch of dead branches that cut up my right hand pretty good. Overall a really lovely day. I finally tried to go to sleep around 9:30.

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Day 33- Climb Mt. Harrington
I awoke at 11:30 P.M. to take a piss & it was no more than 5 min later that I quickly had to get out of the tent & puke my guts out. Dry heave & all it was all out, including of course the important electrolytes. Fortunately though I slept very soundly after that. Honestly after that it might have been one of the bet nights sleep I've ever had. Nothing quite like feeling like death and trying to sleep and getting all the evil out of you to sleep so much better. So that morning I woke up feeling pretty shitty but no more stomach pain hoping that whatever was going on was done with. The most conclusive thing was some greasy food, the Red Bull, & the physical exertion along with heat exhaustion. Needless to say but I gave Rogue my other Red Bull. And I’ll likely not be drinking any more anytime soon. Apparently before I puked, the guys heard Bigfoot banging logs around. I guess we'll never know what it was. Needless to say but the Grizzly Lakes certainly have a remote & interesting vibe. So, that morning I tried to get as much food in me as possible so I could regain my strength. And then we headed up Harrington Pass to climb Mt. Harrington. A steepish in parts pass but overall easy with a great view to the North across the Middle Fork. We could see Tehipte Dome 1000’s of feet below. The climb up Harrington was relatively easy with short but fun Class 3 sections. It was Dan’s 2nd real Class 3 peak after Castle Peak so he had some interesting fun climbing it. We were on top by lunch enjoying the view, but we still had plenty of smoke to the South pervading our view. We can only hope it will get better sooner rather than take weeks. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful & I still felt shitty but better than the day prior. I still couldn’t eat much for lunch or dinner but at least I was eating something.

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Re: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic July 1st-Septembe

Postby alpinemike » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:51 pm

Day 34- Grizzly Lakes to Lake 9,599 FT
Today we climbed up & over Harrington Pass en route to the Swamp Lakes where we hoped for better camping, lake, & general environment. I woke up feeling about 85% & throughout the day I continuously felt slightly better. We changed our route on the fly planning to traverse the ridge to Tenderfoot Peak and potentially climb the peak higher to the South. After a very tedious traverse with lots of trees we climbed up to the top where we had to do plenty of Class 3 with our full packs on. Annoying but doable with Dan following along. We scampered along & climbed all the way to the top & enjoyed great views of everything to the North & saw our lake with a beautiful granite setting giving us high hopes. There was no cairn or register but it’s undoubtedly been climbed. So we had lunch and my appetite sill wasn’t quite there but slowly returning. From there we went to the saddle where we dropped our packs & climbed a fairly easy ridge mixed in with good Class 3 to Tenderfoot. More great views down into the canyon of the Middle Fork. Soon after we dropped down the slope; after Dan dislodged a large boulder down toward Rogue. A huge boulder by all standards. It's a good thing there was time before it picked up speed so that Rogue got out of the way. We went down a fairly easy slope where Rogue chose a shitty Class 4 crack naturally. Dan and I found an easier way. From there we cruised to our beautiful lake, which truly was and is a gem of a lake in this whole area. Magnificent swimming was had there & we walked out onto the island. Camping was not established anywhere so we made a great site with fire pit & all. I finally started to feel hunger for dinner and enjoyed some grilled tortillas. Lots of clouds had built to the North & as we went to sleep they were still out so we expected a potential for rain.

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Re: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic July 1st-Septembe

Postby alpinemike » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:54 pm

Day 35- Lake 9,599 FT to Upper Swamp Lakes
And sure enough the this morning I was awoken to a pitter patter of rain drops & a clap of thunder at 5:30 A.M. Our laundry was out so I rushed out, brought it inside and tried to go back to sleep. But… the guys seemed to rustling a lot & got up way earlier than I wanted so by 7:30 I had to get up. The rain was light & didn’t last for long. We packed up amid mostly cloudy skies but as the day wore on they dissipated mostly in our area. I figured this was the disturbance that was forecasted to be in the North. It only took 2 hours to get to the Upper Swamp Lakes. The views were pretty cool going around up into the Upper Swamp Lakes. The lower lake was very pleasant with an island but overall there’s nothing too spectacular here & it’s pretty much certain I’ll never be back. The upper lake was more grass lined but still much nicer than the Grizzly Lakes. At first I really wasn’t into the area, but it’s been growing on me. We had an early lunch after Rogue found a really nice place to camp. The lakes are all similar in that there’s no inlet/outlet flowing, yet the water has been fine. We lounged all day today… catching up on the journal & chatting. We had a nice fire & finally my full appetite appeared at dinnertime. More roasted tortillas were quite satisfying. My cheese cloth got a little weird so I got rid of it but the cheese is in great shape & most delicious. It was a much cooler & pleasant night since all the clouds cleared.

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Re: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic July 1st-Septembe

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:06 am

Oh the Murro Blanco. You can just sum it up by saying it was a horrible experience.

I had forgotten about big foot at Grizzly Lakes lol Mike slept through it but it sounded like someone was hitting a tree with a baseball bat over and over again. I have never heard anything like it before.
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Re: 81 Days in the Sierra w/Rogue Photonic July 1st-Septembe

Postby fourputt » Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:36 am

I have the dubious distinction of descending Muro Blanco twice in one wet summer; late July 93 to scout and an early September group trip. Smiling faces in early group trip shots, tense camping mid-MB. Incredible flowers near Kid Creek in July with shoulder-high delphiniums. There's a great open group campsite with a 50' sitting bench about a mile above Kid where I found a horseshoe. (Bolton Coit Brown's poor "Jack"?) At the campsite my July buddy told me he saw someone hiking up-river on the other side unable to cross so there were stupider people than us apparently ... but he might have been hallucinating. And yes, unbelievably it just keeps getting worse till a mile above Paradise.
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