Antelope Creek, Lassen Nat'l Forest, Mar 13-14
Now, don't get all excited - this was not the still snow-covered part of Lassen, but a nice short low elevation trip from the High Trestle trailhead near Payne's Creek down (and down and down and down) to McClure Place and then further down :scared: to North Fork Antelope Creek and then out again the next day.
This is part of the Finley Butte USGS map. Far as I can tell, we camped right above the final 'e' in "McClure Place".
Temps around freezing were predicted and that's what we got: 31 degrees on Saturday night! Lowest I've ever slept in a hammock. Pretty proud of myself since I bundled up well and slept warm. The light brown thing to the left of my head is a bit of my diy primaloft/momentum90 pillow which is attached to the suspension with a piece of shock cord: no more pillow diving overboard and the back of my neck and head stays warm! And the black lump above my head is the extremely useful peak bag by 2QzQ.
It was sunny and warmer on Sunday - but not warm enough to make the hike up and out miserable.
It was a large group: a joint outing between the Sierra Club up in the area of the hike and a meetup group from Sacramento. I think there were 13 people who stayed overnight. I was the only hammocker; there was one person under a poncho, one in a bivy and the rest in an assortment of tents. I believe the poncho, bivy and I had the lightest packs.
We left the trailhead at around 11am. Notice the mud and puddles left by rain the day before. There was a light dusting of snow in shady areas but none on the trail. We were the only group out that weekend. Kind of strange, having the whole place to ourselves.
The trail was crossed by lots of spring runoff, making it a mucky mess in many places. You can see the stream running near the trail on the map. I think I doubled the weight of my trekking poles with the mud stuck to the tips. Nothing like that sucking sensation of nearly walking out of your shoes. The poles made a nice slurping sound coming out of the really damp spots.
This was a flat spot on the trail. We kept going down from here.
This is one of the group coming up the steep slope from our camping area back to McClure Place.
We had several small creek crossings: this was the widest.
The group had plenty of room to spread out so we did not feel at all crowded. Folks mostly camped around the edges of the meadow.
Here's a 39 second
video pan of the meadow.
Antelope Creek was full!
I need to pick up a BIG bottle of Tecnu since all the woods were full of not-yet leafed out poison oak and I need to decontaminate all my gear. I was not, before the end of this trip, very good at recognizing not-yet-leafed out poison oak. I found a relatively clear spot to hang - on a slope, of course.
That's my JRB 10 x 11 tarp with the fabulous Grizz Beak from 2QZQ. I've pulled the side out with a grip clip. Handy things, grip clips. I carried one of my trekking poles with me everywhere in camp since it was very steep and also slippery with muck under the leaves. I love my new Gossamer Gear adjustable poles. They gave me no trouble at all, a huge contrast to my old poles.
My pack started out Friday afternoon at 22 pounds (not including water) but by the time I stuffed extra clothing in (all of which I used at night) I believe it was around 25 pounds.
I used my Molly Mac Pack which carried wonderfully well. I loaded it up with two of Mac's pouches for all the fiddly stuff (and I packed so lightly that I was able to use one for food and filtration - saving me one stuff sack to deal with). Because my underquilt and some of my clothing is so bulky, I had a little work to put my Packa on as a pack cover. I didn't use it on the return trip. Didn't get a photo of that.
I slept in my diy double layer hammock since I was using a wide pad from Oware in addition to my diy climashield underquilt. I used my JRB Shenandoah for a top quilt. Knowing it is barely good to 40 degrees for me (I sleep a little cold) and knowing there there would be plenty of evening socializing time around the fire (a fire is mighty nice at 35 degrees), AND knowing that I did not want to carry my heavier conventional sleeping bag plus extra clothes, I brought my Kinsman pullover, fleece pants, Primaloft booties, and an old diy fleece hood in addition to the wool long john bottoms and Ibex wool shirt I was already wearing. At the last minute I stuffed in my minima vest, a wool navy watch cap, and a pair of my old REI wool lightweight hiker socks.
Around the fire there was a pesky cold breeze, so instead of sitting on my Jerry Chair, I took the GossamerGear thinlite pad that I had folded up for the seat portion and wrapped that around my hips and lower back while perched on a log. The body of the chair I draped over my shoulders - wide end on the breezy side. The Kinsman pullover is pretty windproof but the chair made a nice addition. My legs were comfortable since I'd put my rain chaps on over my longjohns. I could have climbed up and gotten my packa but I had the chair with me and I was reluctant to leave the fire.
I wore every bit of clothing I had (except for the rain gear) under the Shenandoah and was warm all night. The vest got draped over my legs to keep them warm since my fleece pants are not nearly as warm as the Kinsman pullover.
I had that darn cold butt syndrome for a while - cold air was drifting into the end of the tarp without the beak, so after fussing around with my underquilt, I finally stuffed the thinlite pad under the cold area and draped my Pack around the foot end of the hammock, stopping the breeze from blowing through the small gap at the end of the UQ.
My quilt and my hammock are the same shade of green, but you can see the Packa in this photo. I zipped the zipper up around the ridgeline and cinched the waist cords up a tight as they'd go around the end of the hammock. The sleeves and hood are dangling down.
Once I had deployed my Packa windscreen, I slept very well. I even slept past sunrise, which I never ever do when camping.
So far my knees are OK so I hope to get out many more times this year.