2017 Summer Explorations July 23 - August 31

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alpinemike
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Re: 2017 Summer Explorations July 23 - August 31

Post by alpinemike » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:11 pm

Thanks! Yeah it is a Tarptent. It's called the MoTrail. I love it. Really comfortable for 2 people incredibly easy to set up with either one or 2 trekking poles or of course you can get a pole from them that is the right height. Once Janine figured out the easier way to pitch it, it pitched perfectly practically every time. Best part is.. 4 stakes! Even in non freestanding areas (not slabs of pure granite of course) that certainly is not nearly as tricky to pull off as something that requires 6 or more stakes.


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Re: 2017 Summer Explorations July 23 - August 31

Post by Gazelle » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:13 pm

Great report reminds me I need to do mine!! Great meeting you guys!
Kristine
The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. Albert Einstein

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Re: 2017 Summer Explorations July 23 - August 31

Post by alpinemike » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:01 pm

Day 8- Arrow Creek to Bench Lake
Today we climbed Arrow Peak! What an epic view with beautifully blue clear skies! We climbed most of the way up to Arrow Pass, dropped our peaks and slogged our way up the slope to Arrow. The clear skies didn't last long though and as we descended Arrow Pass thunder started booming. It sprinkled on us lightly but we made it to Bench Lake no problem. We had a great sunset and far fewer blood sucking vampires to deal with.
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Day 9- Bench Lake to Lake Marjorie
A far easier day that allowed me to explore one of the last little bits of the JMT I had never done. Lake Marjorie provided us with a great campsite and mosquitoes naturally but far fewer than the hell on Earth that was Arrow Creek. We dipped into the water and it was freezing cold but still refreshing. Thunderheads built and we got a few sprinkles but no major downpours.
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Re: 2017 Summer Explorations July 23 - August 31

Post by alpinemike » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:08 pm

Day 10- Lake Marjorie to Sawmill Pass Trailhead!
Well today sure as hell didn't go as planned on the itinerary. I had plans to bag some peaks in the general vicinity of Pinchot Pass and further South but after discussing the mosquito issues and the general attitude towards staying we decided to try and make it out to Janine's Car at the Sawmill Pass Trailhead in one day! Climbing to the top of Pinchot was a breeze and we were rewarded with great views. There was some minor snow to cross on both sides of the pass but that certainly didn't stop our progress. We descended down to the Sawmill Pass JCT and began our way up the 2nd pass of the day. Fortunately the grade was mellow and the scenery breathtaking by Woods Lake. The scenery looking down Woods Creek was spectacular but I was glad to not have to climb all the way down into that heat. But the mosquitoes were something else again... The trail was muddy and wet in a lot of areas and they swarmed us and we were running through the area to beat them. Fortunately when we crested the pass around sunset they were not up there. We had a great dinner up there. 2 passes down and a hell of a long ways to go. The initial descent off the pass was very tricky and it was getting dark fast but we managed. We lost the trail several more times in the dark but always found it and never had any issues. Darkness had enveloped the land and I was actually. I never looked forward to hiking down to the Owens Valley and down to 4590Feet at the Trailhead because of the insufferable heat. I absolutely hate it when it's that hot and doing this at night was resolve this issue entirely! Unfortunately Janine wasn't too thrilled about hiking into the desert at night after a few incidents that night! We passed by Sawmill Lake and Meadow and had a few moonlight views that were awesome. Definitely added an interesting element to the night hike. The trail down the Hogsback seemed to take forever but eventually we entered the desert proper. The first incident occurred a bit earlier as a huge spider freaked her out as it ran across the trail. To add insult to injury her headlamp battery went out and so she ended up tying her Luci Light to her trekking pole. It worked but made for harder walking. We were pushing hard and it was taking its toll on her so she gave me quite a bit of her pack contents so that it would be easier on her knees. She still had a ton of food since she over-packed. After dealing with the pack we were pounding down into the desert heat and it was still quite toasty even after midnight! About 2 miles from the car the final incident really sealed the deal. She was hiking in front because that worked out better with me pointing the light and she stopped abruptly in the middle of the trail. She yelled and pointed down to a fairly small scorpion! I don't think I had ever seen one and neither had she. After I just walked around it she followed, but it sure as hell scared her for the rest of the hike. The bugs were out in full force, fortunately though no mosquitoes. They were extremely annoying and kept getting in her face so this caused her mood to drop. Not more than a mile from the car we had our encounter with the desert mice running and scurrying along the trail. They definitely freaked me out a few times since it was so sudden! Naturally you can imagine how she was feeling by this point. Tears were shed at the overwhelming nature of our hike that day. But by 3ish we made it to the car safe and sound. It was a crazy day with the largest single elevation drop I had ever done with a full pack too with extra food! 12,090FT at Pinchot and 4,590 FT at the trailhead equalled 7,460FT in just one day! But that's not all since we had to drop 1,745 FT just from Pinchot alone! So adding that in gives you 9,205 FT!! And that doesn't include any small ups and downs that the trails have. That's almost dropping 2 vertical miles!! And that's not mentioning the fact that it was a marathon day of something like 22 miles just hiking! Needless to say I will never do anything like that again with a full pack. Janine was a real trooper and manged to pull it off with me. I was incredibly impressed by her determination to just do it. Naturally we both passed out at the car and slept in the front seats, which was uncomfortable but we were far too tired to pitch a tent there and sleeping out with all the bugs didn't sound like a pleasant idea.
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Re: 2017 Summer Explorations July 23 - August 31

Post by alpinemike » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:13 pm

Day 11- Sawmill Pass TH to Bishop to Onion Valley Trailhead
I woke up pretty early because I didn't sleep great and it was getting hot and there was absolutely no shade in that spot. I drove to an area with some trees and let Janine sleep a bit longer there. Once it started to get too hot, which was quite quickly we decided to go to Bishop to eat some food, do some laundry and take showers. After taking care of all that we ate dinner at the Mountain Rambler Brewery and headed to the Onion Valley Trailhead. But first we had to get my truck at the Taboose Pass TH. We drove Janine's 99 Alero up that road as far as we could and when it started spinning in the wetter sand I knew that was the stopping point. I think I had about a mile and a half to hike to the truck. Hike I did and was treated to an incredible sunset with stom clouds and lightning. I believe it rained on me at one point too but it was refreshing since we were in the desert. Since we had an extra day before heading to SoCal I figured it would be cool to check out Kearsargre Pass as a dayhike since neither of us had been there.
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Day 12- Kearsargre Pass Dayhike
We got a later start but it didn't matter since the hike up and down didn't take very long. The views were beautiful and it was nice exploring a new area. Janine's knee definitely was bothering her and we knew it was all that downhill, but she bought a brace in Bishop so that helped. We spent that night at the trailhead as well amid a grand display of thunder and lighting and heavy rain!
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Day 13- Drive down to SoCal
Out of the mountains and into the LA Basin today... ugh. Naturally we had good reason to be there since I had a wedding to go to. Janine's best friend lives in Burbank and we stayed with her. At least the accommodations were nice and the AC was running since it was very hot! After a few hours in the smoggy, hot, people infested LA Basin we were already wishing to be back in the mountains

Day 14- Janine's Birthday
Today was Janine's Birthday and we spent it with her friend. We got tasty Thai Food for dinner and then walked around Burbank amid a classic car show. I really enjoyed that! We went to a bar after dinner and enjoyed some darts.

Thus ends Week 2 of our adventures. Stay tuned for more! Next week we'd be going into Miter Basin!
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Re: 2017 Summer Explorations July 23 - August 31

Post by alpinemike » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:23 pm

Day 15- Wedding in SoCal
Today was wedding day. I've known this friend since the 7th Grade and we had stayed in tough through the years after high school and college. We had a great time and ate some delicious Jewish and Persian food. The traditional Jewish wedding was a first for Janine and it was definitely a spectacle because of the 300+ people present.

Day 16- LA to Horseshoe Meadows
After dealing with our resupply's the previous few days we were ready to head to Miter Basin. We didn't start driving till later in the day since we slept in due to the late night of the wedding. We got to Horseshoe Meadows after picking up my truck in Lone Pine. We had dropped it off at the Sheriff's Office a couple days before since we didn't need to drive 2 cars down to LA. Horseshoe Meadows was a welcome relief from the LA and Owens Valley heat. The mosquitoes were fairly tame there. We slept in the back of my truck as usual that night.
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Day 17- Horseshoe Meadows to New Army Pass JCT
I had been on this trail the previous year in June and my memories of it were far from fond. I had sprained my ankle badly in Miter Basin and hobbled out on it all the way over Cottonwood Pass. Anyways, we climbed up to Cottonwood in short order and our packs were way lighter than our first section. I think we packed for 7 days of food. I still had an ice ax and microspikes because I wasn't sure what snow conditions we might face climbing the high peaks in Miter Basin. The trail from Cottonwood is quite uneventful and is very sandy which is never fun. Along with the sand it's also quite dusty. It was here that I discovered that I was likely allergic to dust. I was breaking out in a nasty rash above my socks and below my shorts. And after further examination it appeared as though pants did not resolve this issue. Needless to say I really hate this section of trail. Since we didn't get the earliest start and we had full packs we stopped at the junction to New Army Pass. There were plenty of mosquitoes here so dinner wasn't as pleasant but this was to be expected.
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Re: 2017 Summer Explorations July 23 - August 31

Post by alpinemike » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:29 pm

Day 18- New Army Pass JCT to Sky Blue Lake
Today wasn't a very long day but it was exceptionally scenic. I had been to Miter Basin the previous year amid an early June snowstorm, but today it was beautifully sunny and clear. We made our way past the Soldier Lakes and up the chute to the Three Tree Tarn. The view from there was magical. Miter Basin truly is a special gem in the Sierra. High peaks, flowing water, green meadows, big deep blue lakes, and a sense of wonder all around. We made our way to Sky Blue Lake and camped in the same spot I camped in the previous year. Unfortunately we ended up getting quite a bit of smoke invade the lower part of the basin that afternoon and early evening because of a fire to the south. The sunset was spectacular that night. You could feel the heavens and Earth colliding in a display of color. The mosquitoes were fortunately very tame and the exposed nature of Sky Blue Lake definitely helped.
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Re: 2017 Summer Explorations July 23 - August 31

Post by alpinemike » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:37 pm

Day 19- Climb Mt. McAdie and Irvine
This morning Janine mentioned her knee being a bit sore so she decided to hang out in camp while I went to climb some peaks. I chose to do McAdie and Irvine at the very least. McAdie had the most interesting and fun route which involved some excellent Class 3 climbing. I made my way up above Sky Blue Lake to Arc Pass and began my climb up McAdie. Overall it was very straightforward. I ended up climbing into the loose chute as high as I could and then found the Class 3 ledges to the summit. The view was incredible since McAdie is fairly high and above the surroundings. The Mt. Whitney region loomed at my shoulder. I quickly headed back down and began my slog up Irvine. Ugh.. miserably sandy and loose. I definitely felt the effect of 2 peaks in one day by the time I reached the top. I looked over to Mallory and decided I just didn't have the motivation/drive to go for it. It could have been done and I would have been totally wasted if I had done it so figured I'd definitely be coming back regardless. Looking down Arc Pass on the North Side I vowed to never go up or down that way. It was hideously loose and looked dangerous given what I knew about loose slopes. I made my back to Sky Blue Lake passing by beautiful wildflowers and streams that ran through idyllic landscapes. Miter Basin never fails to impressive and awe... that's for sure! Janine had happily been relaxing around camp and said she checked out the far side of the lake as well. We had a great 2nd night at one of my favorite lakes.
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Re: 2017 Summer Explorations July 23 - August 31

Post by alpinemike » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:39 pm

Day 20- Sky Blue Lake to Horseshoe Meadows
Because of Janine's apprehension to climbing peaks due to her knee we decided to get out of Miter Basin today. My main reason to be there is to climb peaks at this point so I could see why it made sense to bail out. I did get 2 done and she saw the basin, so overall a successful section. We backtracked all the way to the trailhead. We got a better view of the fire on our way out and we hoped it wouldn't spread. It was a long day and I was in a lot of pain because of my rash by the time we finished. Fortunately though I had some cream that helped some. Dinner and bourbon helped even more! We slept very soundly that night since it was a long hot day.
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Day 21- Horseshoe Meadows to North Lake TH
Janine needed to get some medication mailed to her from her parents. She had arranged that before we left on our trip. But since it was the weekend she wouldn't be able to get it till Monday. So we had a few days to come up with things to do before we went out on another section. We drove into Bishop and did our usual cleaning up along with plenty of good food. I decided we could go up to Piute Pass the following day. We headed up to the North Lake Trailhead and stayed the night there.
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Re: 2017 Summer Explorations July 23 - August 31

Post by alpinemike » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:58 am

Day 22- Dayhike Bishop Pass
We woke up at the North Lake TH and I quickly decided I wasn't feeling the exposed and dry trail up to the top of Piute Pass. So instead I decided I'd take Janine up Bishop Pass. Lord knows I've been up and down that pass many many times she hasn't. And it certainly offers some really nice scenery leading up to it and on the other side into Dusy Basin. We took our time getting to the top and enjoyed a fairly mellow day. The views were a little hazy but not terrible. She enjoyed it and we headed back down. I believe we had dinner at Bishop Creek Lodge that night. Without a doubt some of the best pizza/food I've ever had. Definitely a favorite spot of mine. We found a place to park the truck along the road past Bishop Creek Lodge and spent the night in it.
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Day 23- In Bishop
Injury strikes this morning! I woke up and was trying to not make too much noise. Since when you're inside the truck lowering the tail gate is tricky without it just falling down I tried to lower it slowly by putting my finger definitely where it should not have gone! Long story short I got it caught along the wire and the tailgate! It was a miracle I did not chop my finger in half. I pulled it out while screaming in pain and Janine was screaming a bit. She I think saw me do it out of the corner of her eye. I pulled it out and it didn't look too bad until the blood started rushing out. It definitely had a major gash through it and like I said I think it's pretty impressive I even had a finger. After the initial shock of the injury subsided I decided I wanted to get it checked out in Bishop. I especially didn't want it get infected given I wanted to keep backpacking. Unfortunately I had yet to teach Janine how to drive my stick shift manual Truck so I had to drive down to Bishop. She bandaged my finger up fairly well and it was okay. It was definitely throbbing and I was hopeful I didn't need stitches. Never needed stitches before. We found out that there was an urgent care in Bishop so I ended up going there. Janine was able to get her medication while I waited for someone to see me. The doctor came soon enough and instead of giving me stitches she glued it up for me. It certainly looked nasty but fortunately she said it should heal just fine. It was imperative I replace my bandage every day or other day. I was prescribed some antibiotics as a precaution against infection. My finger got wrapped up with a lot of non stick pads and tape and it stuck out like a sore thumb haha! I went to the pharmacy to get my supplies and then we ended up trying a new frozen yogurt place in Bishop that serves pie and wine! It was delicious and definitely made the day a little less shitty for me. I decided the next day we could head up Rock Creek and hike up to Mono Pass. Another Eastside Pass for Janine and I! That would bring the count up to 6 in just 3 weeks! The mosquitoes at Mosquito Flat were definitely present but at least it was nice and cool up there for the night.
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