This is my first report here, so bear with me.
I started out a Crabtree TH heading East and planning to do a one night yo-yo out to Jewelry or Deer Lake. Being my first solo Sierra trip I was taking it easy and wanted to keep it simple. Needless to say... what an experience!
These are cell phone photos, so don't go at this with high expectations for image quality:
Snow!! I knew it would be around in abundance but it was still unnerving for an ex-Chicagoan to see it in July.
Still more snow... certain areas looked like this. Navigation wasn't really a big deal. More like "I know the trail goes generally that-away" and sooner or later it re-emerges.
It did provide some fun though, this was my best slide of the day. Pole tossed in the photo for scale.
In general the snow was around, but not really a big deal. Later in the afternoon it got a bit slushy in areas which was no fun, but again, not that big a deal.
I scrambled up to the high point as you go over the 'pass' leading to Piute Meadow. +/-8000' or so elev. Highest point I've ever hiked to sofar! Also, please forgive the posed photo...everyone has to have one now and then.
West fork of Cherry Creek. This was as far as I made it. This is probably only about 2:00pm and it was at least armpit to shoulder deep and the current was cruising. I hung out for a little to see if any groups would come along I could cross with(i'd seen a few 4 or 5 people sized groups around earlier) However, knowing I'd have to cross this and the Piute Creek the next day in order to make it back to my car on time and not have my wife calling SAR on me made it seem like this was a good a place as any to call it quits.
Sad face. Better a sad hiker than a dead dumb@#$ though, I s'pose.
Mini waterfall on the trail.
I had decided to head back and camp at the unnamed lake a mile or so west of Piute Creek.(unnamed on my Tom Harrison Map at least, I will call it Pittsburg Nelly Lake from now on. If anyone gets that joke, I grant you my greatest admiration) But sure enough... not going to be crossing today. This was maybe mid-thigh deep in the morning when I crossed.
yea... not going to try crossing.
Wandered around the east side of the valley and found a pretty cool fire-ring and called it home. Not even any bud light cans laying around or anything. Sad hiker becomes happy hiker.
Dinner cooking = happy hiker
Spotted these on my wander. The Miwok made these around the bay area as a mortar and pestel to grind acorns. Not sure what tribe would have inhabited here, Piutes maybe? (it is called Piute Meadow after all) Also, not an oak to be seen, maybe they ground pine nuts? It's always amazing to think that the places we go to just for fun were homes to people before us. Seasonal homes probably, not permanent, but still pretty awesome.
-No photos of any of my safe river crossings, my phone/camera was safely tucked inside my packliner. However, the Piute was back down to just over knee deep when I crossed in the morning.
The obligatory photo of the overburdened hiker. He literally just uttered a miserable grunt as I said 'good morning' in passing. This was also less than a mile from bear lake where his group must have camped. Poor guy.
Bear Lake Overflow/ Lily Creek. Pretty wild. This is early too, probably 8-9am or so.
Final thoughts are that I am smitten. Since moving to SF I've done tons of day hikes and a few overnights in Marin, Pt. Reyes etc, but for my first actual Sierra trip this blew me away... this is going to be a fun next few months.
Timeline for this was:
Friday - Get off work, drive to trialhead. Camp there.
Saturday - Hike out, wander around, camp.
Sunday - Wander around, make it back to car in time to get home.
Monday - Impress your friends/coworkers and be a nerd and post a bpl trip report.
Not too shabby.
Nerdy Gear thoughts:
-GrG Vapor Trail - perfect, my load probably maxed out a 20-22ish and i didn't even notice it.
-TT Contrail - Also perfect.
-WM Summerlight and Z-rest - Yet again, perfect. Probably got to +/-40F at worst.
Steri-pen - Perfect. Snowmelt water tastes awesome without having to stick all kinds of chemicals in it.
-Merril Trail Gloves - Pretty good, totally comfy, no blisters, plenty of traction, love the whole barefoot deal. Feet felt fine even over pretty sharp rocky areas. Took forever to dry out though. Still cold and soggy in the morning. Felt warm after just a few minutes wearing them though, but I probably had prune feet the whole time. I'd wear em again on short trips, but would not recommend them for anything more than a 1 or 2 nighter.
-First trip with trekking poles(cheap wallyworld ones) - I'm in love! I was worried about them as a distraction, but I didn't even notice em. Basically everything you normally do becomes easier and less tiring. I'm never going without them again.
-Insulation layers (MB Thermawrap, Patagonia R1 hoodie, Army Surplus wool gloves and Ibex Beanie)- never even touched em, nor my rain gear(Dri Ducks). Probably wouldn't go withough them though.
-Forgot Sunglasses in the car... Mistake. Snow is BRIGHT! It was only mildly irritating, but would have been something to deal with if I had to spend more time on it.
Thats all for now. Thanks for reading. Maybe I'll see some of you out there!