Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Sierra Snow Camp- Day 2
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 2! You can read all about Day 1 here.
The morning in camp started off rather pleasant, the air was nice and a warmish 40 (if you can call that warmish) and everyone took their time breaking down camp, eating some breakfast and getting ready for the day. I am not a fan of oatmeal as it really has to be gussied up for me to ingest it (I mean MASSIVE amounts of brown sugar, cinnamon, berries, etc. need to be added for me to get over the oatmeal hump). Thankfully Quaker Oats had recently come out with this new oatmeal to-go cup called Medley and had a great taste due in no small part to all the apples, nuts, berries and other goodies contained in each cup. I ate one of those puppies and was ready for the day.
The day started off lugging the 30 pound + pack up 1,000 feet to the next camp.
Yes, we hiked on the road but when you are carrying a heavy pack, that still counts as "hiking" especially when you pass waterfalls like this one.
Still the views were amazing up at around 9,000 feet.
At this campground, there was actually snow (snow at snow camp, that is a novel concept!) and my tentmate and I decided to stake out one of the few patches of snow for our tent
(yes all the other campsites had no snow, we were the winners in this lottery).
The surrounding area had another beautiful stream which added a nice serene backdrop to the campground.
It also provided us with another source of water for the next few days. I would have to say that boiling takes a long time, tablets don't taste so great and I am slightly suspicious of the Steripens (batteries seem to run out a bunch whether due to cold or otherwise). Maybe this leaves me with going the filter route for my further backpacking adventures, I am not sure.
What I am sure about was that next on the adventure schedule was a hike to North Lake and some snowshoeing.
We gained another 500 feet or so in elevation and quickly got into our snowshoes and into the woods.
It was my first time snowshoeing and I felt like I was "doing it wrong" during the first mile or so (I felt like I was just learning how to walk and I hadn't learned to trust my snowshoe crampons to hug into the snow and mud). Still, I can come out looking pretty jaunty all things considered, no?
Don't worry, I bit it several times but I chalk up snowshoeing in the "fun" category and am looking forward to getting out and doing it again sometime soon (especially with seeing views like this).
Then it was back to camp for food and fun. Everyone was pretty beat but a few of us went on a night hike to a nearby dam to check out the stars and the ragged peaks. That was exactly the type of experience I was looking for. Even though I was half asleep on the hike back from the dam, looking up at the stars with no light pollution, seeing a few shooting ones against the silhouette of the mountains, well I couldn't ask for much more from that night (I am bad at taking pictures at night, you will just have to imagine it).
Then it was back to camp to go sleep on the snow (I guess that's why they call it snow camping).
Posted by Peter Flanigan at 9:30 AM