Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hike to Haddock Camp

I've been wanting to thru-hike the Gene Marshall Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail. The trail is 18 miles long but I have never seen the whole thing. I had hoped to do the whole thing this week but it turned out I was only able to do an overnighter. There was a lot of snow.

We started the hike from Reyes Creek campground and hoped to get to Pine Mountain Lodge. That would make it a completion of the trail as a section hike for me. We only made it to Haddock Campsite, about 8 miles. There was a lot of snow and we wallowed in it most of the day.
Haddock Campsite
Here is our camp at Haddock Camp. This is the first time I ever pitched a tent on snow. It was very cold.
Warming and drying our feet
It was hard to find wood because of all the snow so our fire didn't last as long as I would have liked. We tried to dry our socks and warm up before bed.
Hiking in the snow
It was hard to sleep because it was so cold. I brought two quilts so I had enough down on top of me but I didn't have enough padding beneath me. The cold seeped in from below and I struggled to stay warm. We tried to cuddle up together and share body heat. Here we are in the morning hiking back. We postholed up to our shins in some places but it wasn't too bad.

I have to add that the 2nd quilt I brought, a Jacks R Better wearable quilt, is the bomb. In the morning I stuck my head through the headhole while it was still warm and then wore it around camp as we drank coffee and put things away. I highly recommend such a great piece of gear. I was skeptical at first, but it was pure luxury and so sensible.
Following the bear
Finding the trail in the snow had been easy. We just followed the bear. Here is a picture of Trailhacker following my foot prints, the bear prints are the larger ones to his left and heading off in another direction are deer prints. The deer and bears seem to follow the trail, even the switchbacks, perfectly, so rather than search for trail in the snow we just followed the bear the whole way.

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