Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Push to Dobbs Camp

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I can't believe it's been 8 months since my last blog post.  Though I have been active outdoors, I didn't feel that any of the trips I've done in the past 8 months were worthy of a trip report.  This weekend however, was something special.  

A few weeks ago, close friends of mine posted an invitation to head to Dobbs Camp in the San Gorgonio Wilderness area.  I really wanted to go but decided not to at first.  Only because I knew that this hike might prove to be too much for my daughter.  Fast forward a couple weeks, my daughter, as she reads through Backpacker Magazine, started discussing the possibility of a trip to the Sierra Range.  I said to her "You know, hiking in the Sierra is challenging...if you're serious, there is a trip coming up and if you can do this, we can think of some ideas for this summer".  I showed her the details of the Dobbs trip and she wanted to try it.  

Trip Day!

We arrived at the trailhead shortly after 8AM and met our friends.  Loaded our packs, buckled our hipbelts and tightened our sternum straps...we started our walk at 8:30AM.

It was a beautiful day, though typically exposed to the sun, the weather was nice.  Slightly humid and, on occasion, overcast...it was a pleasant day for hiking.

For the first mile and a half on the trail, her pace was swift .  Then her pace started to slow down...on a few instances, I'm even bumping into her due my not paying attention.  Just like girls her age, the attitude starts to come out...tired and hot, I could tell she didn't want to be bothered.  We continued a little while longer and we stop by rock on the trail to rest.

At this point, I ask her how she's feeling.  "My feet hurt...but I think I'm OK", she says.  We took a good 5 minutes on this rock.  Refusing to snack on her bars and fruit leathers, I had to force her to do so.  "It will give you energy...trust me. You also need to stay hydrated" I said to her.  Ready to move, we start our walk again.  I asked, "Are you good? Do you want to head back?". "No...I want to keep going" she replied.

"Baby...check it out! We're close to Alger Creek!".  This put a smile on her face... relieved to know that we were close to the midway point of our hike.  Shortly after this sign, I noticed her pace started to pick up again...I didn't say anything at this point.  I knew the sweet treats helped her.  

Finally made it to Alger!

We arrived at Alger around Noon and it took a little over 3 hours to get here from the trailhead.  At Alger, I asked her if she wanted to camp here instead.  I knew how tired she was...she was teary eyed once she sat on the log at Alger.  "Baby, you know it's ok to stop and camp here...we can meet everyone tomorrow since they will pass through here" I said as if to console her. "No Daddy...can I just have some Tang and rest for a bit?" she responded.  I told her that she can take as long of a break as she needed to.

While on our break, I reviewed my map and checked the distance left on my GPS.  It looked like we had around 2 more miles to Dobbs.  I asked her what she thought and she said "I want to go to Dobbs and finish this".  You can't even begin to imagine the emotion I was feeling at this point...to see this little girl who is dead tired, running on fumes, still wanting to push for the goal.  I offered to carry her pack and she said that she needed to carry her pack or "it won't count".  I was NEVER this strong when I was 9!

An hour and half later, we made it! A few more switchbacks downhill...and we're at camp.

To date, this is one of the hardest hikes she has completed.  She did say though that she doesn't want to repeat this trail for a while.  We currently have plans to hike Mt. Lowe via the Sam Merrill Trail plus other challenging hikes like Icehouse Canyon this coming fall.  

I look forward to many more adventures with this girl...she's a beast! 

Till next time...see you on the trails and remember Leave No Trace and Hike Your Own Hike!

Photo By: Mary P.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

An S240 Adventure to Leo Carrillo


It's been quite a while since my last adventure, May to be exact.  That's seems to be a common theme for me this year.  With changes in priorities, my weekend trips have had to take a backseat.  

With a little bit of planning, I was able to take time for myself, away from responsibilities for at least 24 hours.  This trip was a birthday present for myself...I will be celebrating another year on this earth this week.

As with all my adventures, I am joined by a few friends and this past Saturday, we embarked on a 16 mile ride to Leo Carrillo.  

Meeting at a local Starbucks in Malibu, we pack up our bikes, anxiously waiting to start our ride through PCH.

Panniers loaded, we start our ride at 11:30AM.  Not having done any form of physical activity for the past 4 months, the first hill climb to Pepperdine got to me - it reminded me of how out of shape I became.  Out of breath and out of shape, I had to re-pace myself...we haven't even pedaled a mile.

A mile in, I decide to stop for a minute to catch my breath...we're at Pepperdine at this point.

To think, this was just the first hill...looking at the terrain in advance prior to the trip, I was well aware of this but didn't think it would be this challenging.

This was our route...as you can see, there were quite a few hills still to climb before reaching our destination.

No matter, we had beautiful weather and a cool breeze to help us through.  It was truly a nice day to ride.

10 miles in, we reach our first planned stop at Trancas Canyon...food and cold drinks await. Much needed nourishment for the calories burned so far.

I remember when this used to be a How's Market...this place has changed since I was last here in 2011.  I do miss the Tri-Tip from this place...the best I've had.

We stayed here for a while to rest. I think I rested a little too much though, because as soon as I started to pedal out, both my legs began cramp up severely.  It came to a point where both legs stiffened and I had to force myself to pedal to release whatever lactic acid build up I had.

A little over 5 miles to go and I would be at Leo Carrillo.  Once my legs started pedaling, my cramps went away.  I made sure to eat all the bananas I had and drink lots and lots of water.

Half hour later, I arrive at Leo Carrillo...oh man what I sight to see.  I arrived at Leo Carrillo in exactly 2.5 hours...a bit slow but still glad I made it.

Happy to have arrived in one piece and happy to have secured a campsite away from all the RV's and other Car Campers.  We had a beautiful camp that felt secluded enough to give you that feeling that you were miles away from the world...with the exception of the occasional sounds of passing cars and motorcycles.

Enjoyed reconnecting with new and old friends that I haven't seen in sometime.  Also celebrated my good friends birthday along with mine....I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my birthday.

I am hoping that my adventures won't be so far in between...looking forward to doing this again. I sure miss being out in the woods.

Till next time...see you on the trails.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Part 3: A Day On The Lake

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You would think that as tired as I am I would be sleeping in and not wake up till noon.  I guess for as long as I'm in the woods, sleep will always be an issue for me.  

Since starting backpacking 3 years ago, I can count in one hand the times I've actually slept well.  This was not one of those nights.  I tossed, I turned, I snored...which woke me up.  I can't catch a break!  Up at the crack of dawn...5:30 AM to be exact, I decide to get up and just walk around camp.  Ears ringing, throat throbbing, not a happy morning but still in good spirits.

I sit by the lake with my cup of coffee and just wander with my thoughts...I quickly forget that I'm sick as a dog

A few hours later, camp start to wake up...feels strange to not worry about time. You can imagine that for the majority of the time, I typically only spend sub-24 hours in the woods.  The following morning typically means a quick breakfast, then packing up and hiking out.  Today, we get to relax, day hike, and explore.  

Originally, I wanted to join my friends in a day hike to Hart Lake - another Alpine Lake that's a bit off-trail that's about under 3 miles away.  However, I decide to hang back and just explore the lake.

After having my oatmeal with fruit...and another cup of coffee, I put on my trail runners and start to walk.  

There isn't really a trail around the lake and looking at the perimeter from a distance, some of these boulders seem innocent...until you get up close.  Ankle breakers if you're not careful.

Not sure how long it took to navigate around the lake but it was enough to tire me out.  Got back to camp and once again, I start feeling warm.  I head to my tent to take a mid-day nap...it felt good to catch up on some sleep.

I'm usually not one to just sit around at camp so the short jaunt around the lake pacified me enough...though I still wish that I bagged Hart Lake.

We had another beautiful sunny day at the lake.  The wildlife were also enjoying the day.  Marmots were going wild...as if on a mission, they kept stalking everyone at camp.  Possibly hoping to grab an easy snack!

This was my first time seeing a Marmot, naturally, I was excited! I kept chasing them, stalking them, hoping for that one great shot...they do like to pose but quickly move once they see you have the camera out...sneaky bastards!

Aside from Marmots, we also had a young buck that paid us a visit.

...and a chipmunk.

It was a truly nice day on the lake.  Warm and sunny, fish were biting, and wildlife...what more could you ask for?  

A few hours later, my friends return from their hike to Hart Lake and not soon after they decide to bag a peak nearby...so jealous! Funny story actually how this peak needed to be bagged.

While lollygagging at camp, a few hikers pass through and we all greet one another.  Once couple, however, struck us as unique...well, that's putting it nicely.  They were more douchey really...at least the one lady was.

Us: Hi! Where did you guys head to?

Douchey Lady: We headed to this scarp by the other end of the cirque

Us: Oh! How was it? Sounds like a good hike!

Douchey Lady: It was! But you guys look like you're having fun too.  We like to hike, but you (while gesturing at all of us) can also sit around like what you guys are doing.  Ok, see you guys.

Wow...really? How presumptuous of you!  Well, you can imagine, that didn't sit well with us so some of the group took it as a dare and half of my friends decide to head to this "scarp" HA!

40 minutes later, I hear a "hoot" and this is what I saw...

They bagged it alright...challenge accepted and met! 

Later that evening, everyone talks about the trip so far.  Sad that this was my last night in Ostrander Lake and it felt as though I didn't accomplish anything.  Compared to my trip last year to Ediza Lake where I hiked to Iceberg Lake.  This is just a sign that I need a return trip here to finish what I started.

Dinner for our last evening was wonderful.  Two of my friends started to fish the lake and pretty much provided dinner for everyone.  Nothing like fresh Brooke Trout cooked in Butter and Olive Oil to fill our starving stomachs. 

The following morning, everyone was quick to rise knowing it was time to go.  It was bitter sweet for me at this point.  On one hand, I was happy to have had the chance to go on this trip and on the other, I was sad that I didn't get to accomplish the goals I have set for myself.  Again, this will be used as a reminder to come back here again.

Overall, this was a wonderful trip.  I got to experience Yosemite as I have always imagined...by spending time in the woods and not with the tourists in the Valley.  There is still so much and so many trails to explore here and I cannot wait to come back.

As always, thank you for reading and I appreciate everyone's support.

Till next time...see you on the trails.