Yet another opportunity for a trip presented itself and no one agreed to go with, so... solo it was.
I had planned to leave on the evening of Friday 4/29 but I only had 85% of my packing done by the time I picked up my boys from school that afternoon. You'd think the next three hours or so would have been enough to wrap it up; my kids thought otherwise. After they were down I realized that I wouldn't have any real benefit to leaving and night hiking because factoring in setup/sleep/takedown-repack I would actually arrive at my destination later than I'd like. So I set the alarm for 0400 Saturday morning and was out by 0430. Trailhead just as the sun was starting to peak over the Eastern ridge...
Early on, the scenery changes were dramatic. I admit I had doubts about the alleged "lushness" of the destination:
There were two big SAR "rescues" from this area earlier this year for slides and folks trapped by dangerous crossings, but I had no problems. There were a bunch of each though. The last of the seven miles had most of the crossings:
The actual Manzana Narrows dedicated "campsite" was already occupied by a group. No problem, I didn't need flat ground! Downstream 50 yards or so, and I couldn't even tell there were people around. The blackbird and 3 season incubator:
Busted out the new Ti Tri for this trip, with the intent to try all three fuels. Glad I tried alky-mode first with lunch, because a rolling log crushed my stove! Went with wood for dinner cooking; I can see where this would be addicting not having to worry about fuel:
Evening coffee, tarp in place, wind was HOWLING. Ended up snapping a nylon figure 9, had to improvise with half-a$$ed knotwork. What's up with me and the wind?
At about 2300 I realized the wind was effectively minimizing the efficiency of my UQ. I had my pad, but wanted to try another plan first. After Big Sur (other trip report) I'd tied lengths of shockcord to the two shoulder/waist tie-outs on the right-hand side of my UQ. I had threaded a cordlok on each of those and clipped a mini S-biner to the corresponding left side tie-outs. When it came time to try the things I didn't even have to get out of the hammock! I reached out, up, over, grabbed the cords, and clipped them in; tightened like Brandon has you do for the BB guylines. Perfect!
Fishing was fantastic, even if most were a little on the small side. All successfully released... kind of. One of the little guys may need an eyepatch when he gets older. He'll be the school badboy, maybe he'll even grow up to be a pirate
I have a saying: "It ain't campin till someone finds a snake." I never saw one alive, and had just said it in my head when I came across this little guy on the trail out. I've never encountered a Horny Toad "in the wild" before, very cool:
I think he liked me:
Karma got me for delaying the little guy. About five minutes after I found him I rolled my ankle and gimped for a minute in that "aw-crap-I-hope-I-can-walk-this-off" state of mind. I did (hurts today) and made the just-under 7 miles out in under 2.5 hrs. Not bad. I'll definitely be back.