Thursday, July 14, 2011

LotsaPukin, River Crossings, Bear Crossings, and the 8 mile Hangover

Well the shot glasses said FarFromPukin, so much for that!  Little party in Willow Creek the night before an overnight backpack trip is NOT a wise idea.  Didn't help that Fern kept the whiskey shots comin! 

Anyway, I took off, hungover, for the New River Trail in the Trinity Alps.  Well, about halfway up the windy 30 mile long Denny Road, LotsaPuckin found me, and crashed me hard.  I pulled over to the side of the road and emptied myself for awhile, and almost took a nap right there.  Finally I got to the trailhead, already beat up, and all my morning hiking fuel was now gone from my stomach.  Oh well, wolfed down a couple of granola bars and took off.

I felt ok and the excitement of headin into the woods overshadowed any weakness I may have had.  The first 3 miles of trail is the New River Trail, and old trail that used to lead to the many mining camps in the Trinities back in the day. 
Well, I reached the 1st creek crossing, Virgin Creek.  A new trail had been built to an alternate crossing site.  The old crossing was wicked dangerous looking, with fast chest high water.  This crossing below was only thigh deep and nice and slow.  Water felt good and woke me up a little.

Flowers were everywhere.  Here are a few I got, including some delicious berries.

I almost set up camp at this short 3 mile mark, but the area looked well used and not so isolated as I was looking for, so I continued on, taking a branch after the crossing and continuing on the Virgin Creek Trail. 

So my next excitement.  I'm draggin big time and am about the 5 mile mark, on the side of a steep slope, with Virgin Creek straight down about 500 feet.  Rounding a corner I hear a bunch of rocks rolling down the hill, and a bear comes ripping across the trail from downhill, 50 feet in front of me, and takes off up the hill.  It stops, gets on its hind legs, stands tall, and watches me.  By this time he's about 100-125 feet away.  I still haven't moved.  Are there more? Is he aggressive?   It doesn't move, I snap a picture, and then yell "What are ya doin?!!"  He went to all fours and took off up the hill.  
I'm alone out here in the middle of nowhere so my eyes and ears were pealed the rest of the way.
Here's the picture which you can't even see the bear, but he's there, through the opening, just to the left of some trees, can really only see a blob.

So I almost get to Six Mile Creek, or 9 miles in, my guess is 8.  I am draggin by this time, dead on my feet.  I pick the first little clearing I can find (08 fires made this area heavy with blowdown), and set up camp.  Quickly getting cooking stuff set up since I'm starving.  Before I headed out, I stopped at the outdoor store for last minute items.  I picked up a smaller fuel container for shorter trips.  Well I forgot the pressure-hookup part that goes to the stove.  NOOOOOOO!  So I had to be more impactful and spent an hour setting u pa small fire ring for cooking.  Finally!  I had a huge serving of pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, parmessan cheese, olive oil, and a pouch of smoked salmon.  Soooo good.

Needless to say, you couldn't tell I was there after I left.  
Here was my close watering hole.

Besides the moon scaring the crap out of me during the night, uneventful evening, fell asleep at 730.  lol.  Next day, some oatmeal and granola, and off.  The trip back seemed to take half the time, and was smooth.  Yeah, no hangover and it feels great!  

And some final pics of Trinity Lake on my way to Yreka for the night. Haven't seen it this full in a long time.

Also worth noting, 24 hours now no nicotine.  Also, now that I've found my feet again in the outdoors backpacking, the one person nearby that might have finally given me company on these trips, is moving away 8(  The possibilities will be missed.  As for the other possible backpacking buddy....too far away.  Loneliness can make good company, get used to it! 8)

Looking forward to a weeklong down in Yosemite in a few weeks (the main reason for this trip was to test out everything).

Good times!!

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