Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Olancha Pass Trail

You know it's time to leave town when the thought of eating anymore food makes you naseous. I set off out of Kennedy Meadows by 9AM.

At the Kern River I met Bubble Party, Hungry and Sidewinder filling up water bottles. At the bridge I did the same. It was already starting to sprinkle. I tore the thingie that holds the umbrella shut. Quite a shabby thing my old, worn out umbrella is with the silver worn off, duct tape patching numerous holes, the handle and knob at the top chewed up by pet birds at home and brush while bushwhacking. And now this latest insult. It still works, however. And it would be put to the test soon.

After crossing the Kern on the bridge, I began the climb into where the forest was on fire last year. Little pink gilia folowers bloomed everywhere in mounds and piles like snow.

It began to rain. It rained very heavily. It hailed, too. I watched small hail blobs hit the ground white and turn instantly gray.

I didn't put my rain chaps on quickly enough and soon my legs were soaking wet. I would have to keep moving to stay warm.

My goal was the bridge over the South Fork of the Kern, the pretty one with all the swallows. I figured maybe I could find shelter from the rain there. Thunder roared as I walked through Monache Meadow.

The trail had me climbing the side of a ridge next to the meadow. The climbing kept me warm. The rain let up a little.

Soon I was at the bridge and found a dry, flat rock where I sat and cooked a hot lunch. As I ate, the sun came out. I watched the swallows.

Now that it was sunny, I decided to continue on to Cow Creek. The sun and walking dried my pants and shirt.

Along the way I stopped to adjust my pack and noticed my rain chaps were missing. I left my pack and walked back at least 1/2 mile until I found them.

I hiked up Cow Creek but never saw the place where I camped last year with Circle. The trail was very confusing and there were numerous fallen trees and thorny, wet overgrowth.

It began to rain again as the trail became quite steep. I passed the junction with Olancha Pass and MOnache Meadows trails. I started thinking maybe it would be best this late in the afternoon just to set up camp and wait through the rain and the night until morning.

As I looked around, I passed a man setting up his tent. He advised me to do the same before I got hypothermia.

I found a spot not too far from him under a tree. As I set up my tent, I tripped and tore a hole in it along the edge. I was very sad that I had done that.

This would be my first time in worrisome rain in my tent. I hoped it would prove adequate shelter.

AFter I set it up, the sun came out. But the tree kept raining on me. Maybe under a tree is not such a good idea.

I got inside my tent and settled in for a long night of hoping my dampness wouldn't keep me from staying warm. It was only 6 o'clock.

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