→ Photos from Whiteledge Loop, April 2012
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I got to do some gear testing of this new backpack. I really liked the pack.
Manzana Creek was flowing well. My plan was to hike Manzana to Whiteledge to Hurricane Deck to Lost Valley Trail.
Fish Creek Camp was pretty. People were camped here but not at the first campsite you come to.
I took a picture of myself with my stic-pic which is a little camera mount you attach to the end of a trekking pole so you can take your own picture.
There was a family with about 5 kids camped here. They looked like super healthy hippie kids.
Looking toward the trail as it approaches the Narrows.
These Dudleyas are so pretty. The poison oak looks healthy, too.
Manzana Creek had some inviting pools. It was a warm day but not warm enough to go for a swim.
The pools at the Narrows looked lovely.
Interesting repair of this picnic table at the Narrows.
Pretty wallflowers along Manzana trail.
Starting up the switchbacks up to the ledge country.
The cliffs above Manzana Narrows.
Walking among the cliffs.
A small creek at the top of the switchbacks
Looking to the left at that small creek is an interesting canyon.
Looking to the left at that small creek you can see a shelf in the cliffs with giant round boulders that perch right on the edge.
I never noticed this waterfall right on the edge of the mesa before
Past the cliffs you reach this nice ledgy creek area.
More nice boulders in the meadows.
Interesting holes in the rocks as you follow this shallow creek into the Whiteledge country.
This is a very interesting rock with "skin" like an elephant.
I took another picture of myself at the summit just before you start to drop down to Happy Hunting Ground.
Cliffs and ledges up at the summit.
Cliffs and ledges as you descend
More interesting bouulders
More interesting holes in the rocks.
These holes in the rock near Happy Hunting Ground are always full of red water.
Happy Hunting Ground camp
Following the creek to Whiteledge Camp.
There is still snow up on the north side of the peaks around McKinley and Mission Pine Springs.
The water was nice at Whiteledge. The waterfall in the little box canyon was trickling like a little shower.
Here's my gear and food. The white bag has my sleeping bags.
Close up of my paleo low-carb food. It works really well to hike with low carb food. Once your body is adapted to it, you never feel hungry. Your energy never falters.
Here are my two sleeping bags and my warm odds and ends.
I brought my tent. This is The One from Gossamer Gear. The tent is a little over 1 pound and uses my trekking poles to set up. Trailhacker planned to meet up with me here, but I wasn't sure if he would make it this evening so I brought my own tent just in case.
Here I am in the morning wearing one of my sleeping bags. This is the Jacks R Better wearable quilt. It's a 45 degree sleeping quilt with a little slit you can put your head through. You can wear the quilt like a jacket. I've been bringing this instead of a jacket. It's way warmer, keeps my knees warm when I sit around in camp and then when I sleep I'm as warm as I am at home because I have two sleeping bags. Luxury Ultralight Backpacking is what I call this. My camp shoes are styling, too, don't you think?
In the morning we set off on Hurricane Deck Trail. Weather began to roll in right away.
The beginning of Hurricane Deck Trail is really pretty. The trail is pretty good, too.
The quality of the trail. Reminds me a lot of the PCT near Cajon Pass.
I replaced the tape I put up 3 years ago that leads people to the north side of the mountain where the trail closes into the green tunnel. It looks like my tape is insane but it really is the right way. If you go the way it looks like you should go, you end up at the end of a canyon and have to back track. Follow my tape. It's right. You end up entering the green tunnel. The trail degrades for a while, but we worked on it.
Here is Beeman and Trailhacker taking a break after doing a whole bunch of brushing on the trail. I tossed branches over the sides. I'm drying out Trailhacker's and my two-person tent. It's a 6-Moons Designs Lunar Duo. It's a really spacious and lightweight 2-person tent.
The trail on this section of Hurricane Deck isn't super bad. It's mostly like this. It's the middle section that's a disaster.
Beeman and Trailhacker doing some lopping on the trail.
The weather rolled in and it began to rain. We put on rain gear and tried to hike fast to Lost Valley Trail.
The rain was cold but the views were interesting. My rain poncho shredded in 5 minutes in the overgrown brush on Hurricane Deck. I hiked as fast as I could to the Oak Tree Camp on Lost Valley, but I got very cold and very wet.
When I reached the Oak Tree Camp, I was shivering. There were two people there struggling to start a fire. They did not succeed. I waited around for Beeman and Trailhacker but only Beeman turned up.
We were worried now about Trailhacker. Where did he go?
Trailhacker had the tent stakes for the 2 person tent and I had the tent. He also had my one person tent and stakes. I had to set up the 2 person tent without stakes. The way you do that is with deadmen. You put small sticks through the ends of the tie-outs and set large rocks on top. The tent held, I got inside and got naked and warmed up in my two down sleeping bags.
About an hour or more after I arrived, Trailhacker turned up, also very cold and wet. He was happy to see the tent set up. He had thought that I had gotten lost because he had seen footprints and pieces of a poncho heading off in the wrong direction. So he had gone looking for me. That wasn't me. I never left the Hurricane Deck Trail and I never saw any other trail leading off anywhere.
In the morning, all my clothes were still soaking wet. I put on my wet clothes and was very cold so I also wore my z-rest pad and my plastic ground sheet for a little extra warmth. It worked.
Lost Valley Trail was really pretty in this early spring.
Manzana Creek was a welcome sight. I was soon at my car and into my clean dry clothes ready for a tri-tip sandwich at Cold Spring Tavern. Another big adventure completed. For some reason, a little adversity makes me feel alive, but I have to admit that hypothermia really sucks.