ANOTHER SOJOURN DOWN U.S. 395--Fall Colors, Big Pine Creek, Mt. Whitney (14,495') 4X, Scodie Mountain (7,294') 2X October 10-13, 2001
Now with a brand new, 2002 model car, thanks to 0% APR financing, I chose to christen my best ground transportation ever on this maiden voyage south on my favorite highway. Motoring over CA 88 and Carson Pass, I rapidly shot the fall colors. It wasn't as good as I've seen it there, but I enjoyed the opportunity to take photos after some month and a half away from my own road trips.
I shot more colors over Conway Summit and then around the June Lake Loop. It wasn't very good, either, this year. Maybe more time might help. Now with the need for frugality, I camped in Bishop, CA, and kept feasting to a minimum.
Waking up early, about 4 a.m., I killed time with an early breakfast and then photographing the Sierra Crest sunrise. Driving south to Big Pine, I motored up the road to the site of the former Glacier Lodge. I started at 9:43 a.m. for a hike up the North Fork, and then took the Baker Lakes Trail up to Logging Flat (9,120'+). I gained a fine vantage point enroute of the South Fork drainage, with a magnificent view of Middle Palisade (14,040') and adjoining peaks. There are colors up here, and even a few tiny spots of red were seen from my photo stops.
After my short hike, finished at 2:06 p.m., I motored south to Lone Pine, CA, where I checked with the USFS Ranger Station. I easily obtained a day permit for the Mt. Whitney Trail, with no fee or problem.
Friday, I woke up by 3 a.m. at my car camp, and after an good, early breakfast at an all night cafe, did Mt. Whitney.
Getting back to town late, I couldn't hardly eat my restaurant dinner, due to some odd preparation, and camped again nearby.
Awakening again Saturday, at 2:30 a.m., I got another early breakfast in town, motored south along U.S. 395 under the stars, got a shower and shave at a truck stop in Pearsonville, then met an HPS group near Walker Pass for a hike up Scodie Mountain.
Our group of 14 started at 10:10 a.m. to take the PCT and then shortly head cross-country up a new route. We took a pace to accomodate slow hikers, and stopped for regroups and short rests often. My job was to sweep, as officially, an assistant. I liked the tall conifers that were seen enroute to the top, and I summited at 2:40 p.m.
This is part of the Kiavah Wilderness, and is worthy for its scenery and views. We started down, and then had less problem with waits. The sandy, granitic soil allowed for a run down the gully we had chosen as our route. Back to my car by 5:51 p.m., I decided that I wasn't feeling good enough for the scheduled climb the next day of Heald and Nicolls Peaks, which would be almost double the gain of today. Because I also was concerned about again waking up so early, and having nothing to do, then too, I excused myself, as there was another well-capable assistant. After quick goodbyes, I motored west along Highway 178, and then speedily north on U.S. 99, to arrive home by 1:15 a.m. Sunday morning.
It was a thrill to drive my new car. It is definitely the best handling and ride I've ever owned! I still get some 40 mpg, so fuel isn't a big problem.
I shot some 340 digital images, and also some four rolls of Kodachrome. I hiked some 10,300' gain with maybe 36 miles total.
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