There are so many areas in California to explore. For the most part, I have been puttering about in Southern California and exploring the many trails down here but through my Wilderness Travel Course, I went up into the Eastern Sierras to go snow camping and hiking. Here is what happened on Day 1!
I had never been North of the Antelope Valley so when we pulled into Lone Pine to stretch our legs, and I beheld the awesomeness of Mt Whitney and the rest of the Eastern Sierras, my socks were knocked off!
It really is an impressive range of mountains and these pictures do it no justice at all. After Lone Pine, we headed up to Bishop and turned in to the mountains to begin the adventure. We unloaded our gear from the bus and also unloaded snowshoes and avalanche shovels despite the distinct lack of snow.
(yes that is a Duraflame log that I carried for 2 days, it weighed 5 pounds, I felt so good when it got off my back and burning!)
In fact, it looked like there hadn't been snow in our neck of the woods for some time. This was billed as a snow camp, with lots of snow adventures. Would there be any? I suggest checking out the trip report for Day 2 next week for the answer ;).
But on this day we loaded up and hiked to camp (the poetically named Intake 2 Campground).
The hiking was hard, not just because of the elevation gain but for the 30-40 pound packs on our backs. While I had been hiking around the neighborhood with the pack, it is much more difficult when it is fully loaded up and you are hoofing it on trail. Still, the scenery made up for the struggle I was undergoing with the pack:
As you can see, snow in the mountains but not so much on the ground.
We eventually got to the campground and started getting set up. Tents and food were a necessity
I must admit, part of the struggle of this camping is learning how to pack things, unpack them and then repack them! However, by the end of the weekend, I had my system down but the first night, next morning was a bit rough on the logistical front.
After camp was set up, it was time for a hike and time for a "real" bushwhack (meaning bushes were whacking me everywhere). One of the most valuable pieces of gear I had this weekend was knee high gaiters that kept the brush and dirt away from my legs and boots.
I can't tell you what trail to take from the campground as you can see, there was no trail. We went about 3 miles and then cut across country to the road which led us back to camp. There was a weird boggy swamp we had to get through and a lot of trees that tried their best to poke at my eyes but it was a grand adventure overall.
Back in camp it was time for eating, boiling water taken from the stream (a first for me, I treated my water every which way this weekend)
and then hanging around the campfire trading stories and jokes with my fellow hikers. Whew, what a first day! What was the rest of the weekend going to be like? Stay tuned for Day 2 coming soon!