So, some may notice a trend here, but after the days being set aside for many weeks, weather threats scared off my trail mates. SOLO baby!
I slept in an extra hour as this destination (which was not the original destination, but was suggested by the guys that ended up not going) is closer to home. I knew within 45 minutes that this trip was going to be good, even with cold weather warnings and basically inarguable predictions of heavy rain. The drive up into this area is sooo beautiful and really makes me feel like I've been driving to some location 3 hrs away after actually less than an hour.
Not a single vehicle after I left the 101, but did run into an organic roadblock:
Ran into some more delicious-looking wildlife a few minutes later:
Was watching the temp drop on the trucks' thermometer, and then about 5 minutes after the pigs I ran into this:
Now keep in mind I was able to see the Pacific Ocean only a few bends in the road behind me, and THIS is why I bought a truck:
Got to the trailhead knowing I had a total of 5 true water crossings, but only 2.8 miles to camp. It was raining, but only a little with brief real showers. I'm a compactor bag liner guy, but needed to break out my cuben packa for its' first real trial. Short version: it shined. I got to the first crossing as a soggy group of tenters were emerging for the morning. I asked where the best place to cross was and one answered in a disbelieving tone, "well, right here?!?". I went behind a bush, changed into the my lightweight boardshorts and Teva Zilch's and under 5 minutes later was across and on my way. These were "no way around it" crossings, but not in any obviously way hazardous, number 5:
Got to camp to find a group of 5 guys from San Francisco in the main site in the area LITERALLY dumping water from one of their tents. By the time I arrived the rain had broken, so I seized the moment and got my Hammock Gear Winter Palace set up (yeah, I was REALLY lucky to get my order in when Adam was accepting them) and my HG downy goodness out and lofting:
Made coffee, chowed some trail mix, and set up other gear. I tried to fish but the time of day was off, and the water was super murky on the heels of the weather, so no joy. The five other guys packed it in and I had the area to myself. In a matter of twenty minutes the temp plummeted (no numbers, sorry) and I knew the weather was coming back. Changed back into warm dry layers and I was good. Started raining heavily at about 1500, and except for a window from about 1800-1830, it didn't stop. Didn't have to filter / treat a drop of water though:
Wind changed direction on me too, so I ended up buttoning up the tarp. Spent the remainder of the day tweaking gear, smoking my pipe, drinking tea (and bourbon), listening to my audiobook, and cooking dinner. It actually was quite relaxing:
Bedtime was a little early, as to be expected, but all in all the extra "hang time" was welcome. I did have user-error issues with my HG incubator, refer to my post under that sub-forum for more intel.
Woke to the drip drip drip.... off the trees. Sunshine baby! Ate breakfast and had morning coffee in the hammock just to let the sun come up a little more, then recovered my bear bag line (400lb test dyneema) and made a 45 foot clothesline. Let everything start to dry and then leisurely packed it up. Decided to fish my way out of the area, with HUGE success. Only caught two, and had an inordinate number of snags n tangles, but what great fish. Quite literally two of the biggest rainbows I've ever caught. Number two offered THREE taildances before I finally landed him.
Number two, pic and my first attempt at video, hope it worked:
The hike out I didn't see a single soul until that last crossing when I ran into a cheery, loud youth group lead by two (forgive me here) seemingly "less than knowledgeable" chaperones. Oh well, no dicey weather had been forecasted so I kept on truckin:
On the drive out I had a nice, close, prolonged encounter with a bobcat. But I operator-errored my camera, so no shot. A lot of the snow that was there the in early dawn of the previous day was gone, but I did collect a big ol' bag of the chilly powder (which we don't get a lot of around here). When I got home I tossed it on the lawn and my 8-year-old, 6-year-old and I had a nice snowball fight in the sun.
Once again, fabulous trip, even with the weather. No regrets other than my buddies weren't along for the experiences and subsequent memories. Goes to show: if you don't go... you can't know.