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central and southern area bpl trip to sespe wilderness
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kevin smith
central and southern area bpl trip to sespe wilderness on 05/02/2011 12:17:13 MDT Print View

had a great time in the sespe wilderness this weekend hope everyone else did too

weather was great little windy friday night but got better the next day temps were mid to low 40 s at night and high 70 s to low 80 s in the daytime great weather for a soak in the sespe saturday afternoon (how refreshing that was )

on a side note i have to give kudos to jared at mountainsmith for getting my 2011 mountainsmith morrison tent to my door just 1 hr before leaving to head out there
no it isnt a ul tent but it has a lot of great features for a tent in its price range
and the customer service i have recieved from mountainsmith has been excellent

here are a few pics and im sure everyone else will post thiers soon hopefully we will be able to make another trip awesome time with awesome people

it was great meeting and hiking with you your z packs pack was awesome and the hexamid
was a cool tent along with your ul camp shoes hopefully we will make another trip this summer and get some more hiking in

thanks for the wine that really hit the spot
you have an awesome playground in your backyard the sespe is like your local hangout
your bivy was awesome i might have to get one like that soon it was really cool
it was great meeting you and checking out all the cool gear we had in camp i will definatly hit you up for future trips in the area so be ready lol

thanks to all who came out for the trip and for adan and the crew who hiked further into the sespe to get more milage it was great meeting you all and i hope you guys made it out ok on sunday

im sure everyone else will post up soon with more photos of the trip
maybe next time we will have a bit bigger group who knows


sespe trip
sespe trip
sespe trip
sespe trip
sespe trip
sespe trip
sespe trip
sespe trip
mountainsmith morrison
supercat breakfast
andy s ul camp shoes
the crew

Edited by divr6347 on 05/02/2011 12:35:48 MDT.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Sespe on 05/02/2011 18:41:10 MDT Print View

Kevin, thanks for organizing this trip. Pretty bummed I didnt get to hang out with all of you longer and spend the night. I agreed to meet the other group up at Sespe springs and then we found out it was going to be another 13 miles! I had hoped to hang out with you guys Saturday and then crash at the springs and be back to hang out with you again in the morning, but it was just way further than i thought so you were all gone by the time we got there. It was good to meet Nick though and see you, Jack, Andy and all again. Jack, it was awesome to see your daughter out with you, it looked like she was having a good time. You guys picked a killer spot too, Sespe was beautiful and the swimming was killer.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Sespe on 05/02/2011 19:07:50 MDT Print View

What was the headcount? When is the next trip?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: central and southern area bpl trip to sespe wilderness on 05/02/2011 19:47:51 MDT Print View

Looks like a fun trip! I've got to make it back out there one of these days!

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
RE Trip on 05/02/2011 20:21:29 MDT Print View

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who made it out, I had a great time. Adan, I was hopeing you would bring some of your family, maybe next time, good to see you again. It was nice to meet Andy and Nicholas, Kevin's right, Nicholas has a lot of knowledge of his play ground, and some cool gear. I was really impressed with Andy's whole set up, his whole pack with everthing in it weighed less than my daughter's, I fell so quilty, my poor daughter carrying all that weight, yeah right! when we got back to the truck I wanted to see how much it weighed, it was a mere 13# not to bad considering she had all the food, and she started with 16#. Got to try out my new Cloud burst 2, nice shelter. We were going to have a few contest, but they never took place. The first contest was going to be a test to see who could start a fire, with just the gear you brought, no matches, or flame, of any kind, then it would have to burn for 3 minutes. I didn't want to give the contest rules out before we left so people would try to pack extra stuff, I wanted it to be like survival, could you, build a fire without flame, in the wilderness, if you had to, the prize was going to be a MYOG wood stove that I had put together before the trip. The stove is actullay 4 stoves in one, wood stove, warmer, slow cooker, and alcolhol stove with simmer capabilities, the whole package if carried together weighes about 16 oz including 3 oz of fuel, if seperated the wood stove weighes 5.5 oz, not sure on all the individual pieces. I did use it on this trip, and really liked it. The next contest was going to test the skills of how fast, and how well you can pitch a tarp, a 5x7 tarp, this was Kevin's idea, and mine was the fire starting idea, the prize for the tarp contest would have neen the tarp. Even though we didn't get a chance to do these things we still had a good time. Now for some pics




My daughter took this pic, leave it to a teenager to figure out my new camera


My daughter took this one also, Sunrise at Sespe.


My Cloudburst 2 with the now famous Chilba hat by Kavu, never leave home without it!, inside is a WM Alder with a summer coupler, and off to the right is a MYOG solar lantern that I made, and gave to the BPL members that were at Bear camp, I would have given everyone a lantern, but the rest of the crew continued hiking up to the springs, and I didn't see them when we got ready to leave, sorry guys.


Edited by jumpbackjack on 05/02/2011 20:49:20 MDT.

kevin smith
next time on 05/02/2011 21:23:23 MDT Print View

we were talking yesterday about maybe next time finding an in between spot and try something new the southern hikers (nicholas andy and anyone else who has to come from the south ) hike in from that side of the los padres and us northen side hikers hike in on our side and we meet somewhere in between i found this to be an awesome idea

i guarantee nicholas will get you southerners thru the trail even if it has to be a bushwhacking adventure im sure he is totally up for it poison oak and all he will find a way thru im sure

maybe we can make it happen sounds like a cool trip


Rob Vandiver

Locale: So Cal
Great Trip on 05/02/2011 21:50:22 MDT Print View

Hey guys, nice pics so far, keep them coming! I was a bone-head and forgot my camera.
I was one of the guys that tagged along with Michael, Craig, and Adan. I think we all felt a little cruddy about continuing past Bear Creek without spending more time with you guys, but, personally, after a 2.5 hour drive I really wanted to kick some more dirt.
It was great meeting you all! It was nice having the confirmation that there really are people on the other side of the internet.
Some of the views from the trail below Bear Creek were incredible. I can't wait to get up in that area again to do some more exploring, hopefully before it dries up.
Anyway, thank you so much for putting this together, Kevin. It was a blast, I haven't had that much fun (or learned as much) in quite a while.
-Rob V.

Ryan Krause
(homer4555) - F
Weekend at the Creek on 05/02/2011 22:31:32 MDT Print View

It was a great weekend fellas...I had a ton of fun especially jumping off a 10 foot high boulder into the 45 degree creek below ;) It really lets you know your alive. It was good meeting you Andy, hope you can join us again sometime. Too bad Jerry had to leave a day early, Good to see that Nick made it to the sight, I think his vast knowledge and experience with the region will aid in further planning of future trips in the surounding areas. I hope you BPL's from up north will be able to join us Central and So. Cal hikers next time, You guys would have had fun on this one. Good seeing all those that could make the trip, I hope to see all of you again in the near future.

View of large rock formation from the road into the trail head
You are here
Kevin & Andy on the trail
Kevin & Andy wading across the "Mighty" Sespe Creek
Which way to go???
Sespe Creek
Face Shaped rock in the side of the mountain
Can someone tell me what kind of bird this is???
Deep Water at the swimming hole
Swimming hole
Break time!
Letting my boots dry
Kevin giving directions to some avid Hikers ;)
Bear Creek Camp site
Does the trail go across here?
Kevin tending the fire
This little guy is keeping warm on a rock near the fire pit
Higher view of the swimming hole
Jack finally shows up with his wood burning stove to cook some hot dogs for lunch
Hiker Nick Arrives
Nick's bivy and bag combo
everyone gathers around the fire on a chilly evening
local plant life
one last look back at the hills before driving home

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
Central/Southern BPL Sespe Trip on 05/02/2011 23:18:34 MDT Print View

Thanks to everybody for making this a fun trip. It was good to meet all of the local BPL'ers and the Sespe area was beautiful in spring. Jacks UL solar LED lights at 1.3 ozs were very much appreciated by all. Here's a few pxts~



The beginning of the trail was dry with a few creek crossings.


First view of the Sespe Creek.


Red rocks along the trail.


Red rock dude.


Kevin crossing the creek.


Kevin helping out some non UL hikers.


Sespe swimming hole.


A sandy campsite we passed along the trail.


Crystal clear very cold water.


Bad posture.


Downstream along Sespe Creek taken on a day hike toward Willet Hot Spring on Saturday.


Campers along Sespe Creek.


Oak Flat.



Wildflowers along the trail just before our camp at Bear Creek.


Kevins new Mountainsmith 2 person/2 door/2 vestibule tent w/ WM Alder 20 degree quilt. The tent was delivered earlier that same day.


Ryans solo tent.


Jacks Tarptent Cloudburst.


Jacks Cloudburst. He was using a WM rectangular Alder 20 degree quilt w/ the zip on fabric bottom for two. Nice.


Zpacks Hexamid Solo.


Nick was using a Katabatic quilt and bivy, NeoAir and GG LT4's.


Nicks BPL Absaroka backpack.


Jacks MYOG stove w/ wood fuel in grill mode.


Jacks MYOG stove w/ alcohol fuel in simmer mode.


Nicks wood burning ti stove.


Kevins MYOG cat alcohol stove.


Jack & Kevin were using a MYOG gravity filter system.


Sespe wildlife.

Links to a few a short videos:

Sespe Wilderness

Sespe Swimming Hole

Edited by bluewater on 05/02/2011 23:31:48 MDT.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
BPL Sespe Trip on 05/03/2011 10:40:48 MDT Print View

Nice photos everyone!

I'm going to try to get mine up tonight after work, although it looks like y'all have the scenery pretty well covered.

Jack and Kevin, thanks for putting this together and getting everyone out there. The Sespe is the perfect southern CA spring destination- warm weather and plenty of cold, clear water for a dip.

And thanks Jack for the solar-powered LED lamp; very cool! On Saturday night when everyone had one set up outside their shelter, it looked like a bunch of little porch lights. Made it easy to find my way back to my bivy later than night!

Ryan and Andy, it was great meeting you guys. It's fun to see that you both got a photo of the rock outcrop that looks like an Indian's head. In fact, that rock has some name amongst the locals that is along those lines. Andy, you also unknowingly got a picture of the swimming hole I hiked to after I left you guys at Bear Camp. I spent a couple of hours there, taking turns swimming and getting warmed back up laying in the sand. Had to dismantle a couple of fire rings and pack out about a dozen empty burned up beer cans and some other assorted trash from previous campers though. :-(

Andy, did you end up hiking out to the Piedras Blancas on your way back to the trailhead?

I saw the quartet that continued on the hot springs on their way back out. They were passing by on the trail above me while I was hiding out at my swimming hole. I figured I'd missed my chance to meet them but then, on my way out, I caught up to Michael on the trail near Kerr Spring and then Craig, Rob and Adan at the swimming hole just upstream of Bear Camp. Great to meet all you guys! The strategically placed swimming holes are a real saviour along this trail in the spring!

If any of you guys want to do other trips out this way, shoot me a PM and I'd be happy to give you advice or try to join you.



Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Sespe Photos on 05/04/2011 00:24:06 MDT Print View

Okay here's a few more photos from the trip. I have to admit, I'm not very good about shooting photos of people or their gear (sorry); I'm more interested in the scenery! Enjoy.

You are now entering the Sespe Wilderness.

Sespe Wilderness Sign

A couple of views looking upstream and downstream of the first couple of crossings.

sespe crossing

sespe crossing 2

The trail follows what was an old road along the Sespe River. Parts of it still resemble a road, other sections more closely resemble typical single track. Either way, the trail is well worn and you'd be hard pressed to lose it somewhere along the way!

trail 1

trail 2

trail 3

I met up with the group at Bear Camp, a sandy wash adjacent to the river, just downstream of where Bear Creek meets the Sespe. There's always great fields of lupine in the spring around Bear Camp.

lupine fields

bear camp lupine

bear camp crossing

A popular trailside swimming hole. I ended up catching up to Craig, Adan and Rob here on my way out Sunday afternoon.

sespe swimming hole

I love the look of the slabby headwalls of this un-named canyon. One of these days I'd like scramble up there and have a look around. There's a nice lush pocket of pines hidden back in there.

un-named canyon1

un-named canyon 2

Aside from the river, there's various creeklets and springs along the way that feed the Sespe. This one is known as Kerr Spring. There's also a nice swimming hole nearby.

Kerr Spring

swimming hole

Active rock slide area along the trail.

rock slide

After breaking camp on Sunday morning, Kevin, Jack, Jack's daughter, Andy and Ryan headed back out to their cars. I followed the Sespe downstream to a favorite swimming hole for a little R & R. Overview and close-up of one of my favorite pools.

favorite swimming hole

favorite 2

I really love the contrast between the brushy chapparral of the hillsides and the more vibrant riparian corridor along the river.

riparian corridor

A couple of views of the Piedras Blancas near the trailhead.

Piedras Blancas

piedras blancas 2

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
Sespe Photos on 05/04/2011 13:57:09 MDT Print View

Thanks to everyone for posting your photos from Sespe. Nick, that picture of Kerr Spring is very cool. I saw a group down by your swimming spot on Saturday that may have left all the trash and fire rings, nice of you to restore it to it's natural setting. I can't wait to go back and check out that spot more closely. I didn't make it to Piedra Blanca on the way out, in my attempt to keep a low pack weight I only brought enough food to get back to the car (and a burger in town was calling).

kevin smith
any interrest on 05/04/2011 19:56:00 MDT Print View

if there is any interrest i will plan another central area trip i want to get something cooking for memorial weekend but it would be a saturday thru monday gig if anyone is interrested let me know

nicholas any higher elevation medium milage hikes that are dooable memorial??

would gladly head that way if we could avoid the blazing heat

of course i guess the sespe is right there and would be calling me for a swim lol


Edited by divr6347 on 05/04/2011 19:58:47 MDT.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Memorial Weekend on 05/06/2011 10:03:51 MDT Print View

Hey Kevin,

Check your PM for a trail suggestion for you and your boy.



Kevin Cody
(codycolor2) - F

Locale: Los Padres NF
Re: any interrest on 05/10/2011 15:09:07 MDT Print View

a couple of us U.L. are heading out to South Fork Station (santa barbara ranger district to thank the CCC's for their trail help that weekend. Let me know if you are interested via PM.

-Kevin "Keen Eyes" Cody

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
South Fork on 05/10/2011 17:15:49 MDT Print View

There's a good chance I'll be out that way a few days prior to Memorial Weekend with a buddy who will be in town. We're still nailing down our final destination, but a South Fork trip is on the short list.

Looking forward to checking up on the C's work along the Sisquoc and the VWR work on the old South Fork Station.


Kevin Cody
(codycolor2) - F

Locale: Los Padres NF
South Fork on 05/26/2011 13:30:48 MDT Print View

Paul & I are heading out to do some work on the lower part of the Fall Canyon Trail this weekend you should join us or if you do make it out to South Fork I'm sure I will bump into you.

Have a great weekend everyone

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
My next hoof on 05/30/2011 11:06:52 MDT Print View

Thanks for this thread guys. I'm gonna poke around out there weekend of June 25th. Hopefully that water source is still going strong through there. (Sounds like its a year round stream so shouldnt be much of an issue...........) Thanks!

kevin smith
sespe on 05/30/2011 14:07:22 MDT Print View


you will love the sespe its a great place to go exploring for a few days and soaking in the sespe is very refreshing if you need any info on the area nicholas b is the go to guy for that place hit him with a pm if you have any questions about
the area im sure he will be happy to help you out plenty of campsites and clear running water around so you should be set

have a great time


Cody Lebow

Locale: Orange County
Willet tub condition. on 06/02/2011 08:32:29 MDT Print View

Has the hotspring at Willet been cleared? I went out there about 2 months ago and it was filled with mud.