Well I guess it’s official, summer has once more come and gone. I’m back in school juggling classes and work so no adventurous outings for awhile.
As I previously posted though I did have a final trip this Labor Day weekend. I once more loaded the backpack/tent and all my caving gear onto the motorcycle and headed up to the Kaiser wilderness.
I stopped at the Ranger station near Huntington Lake and learning there were limited permits available I signed up for a fifteen person permit. I tried calling Ron to let him know that I had a permit but there was no signal, so I headed to the trail head and after stashing my food in one of the bear boxes there I backtracked to Shaver lake so I could call and let Ron know I had a permit. Back at the trail head I set up camp and called it a night. I got up early the next morning and after making coffee on my camp stove hiked up a nearby hill to enjoy the view. I spent the rest of the day hiking along the trail and talking to some other hikers I spotted entering the wilderness. Since they were exiting the next day though they wouldn’t effect our permit. I returned to the trail head and once more set up camp.While cooking dinner I noted cows wandering nearby and my curiosity got the better of me so I investigated where they were heading and found a nearby spring that had a fixed pipe coming out of it. This makes it a convenient place to fill up water before heading out on the trail but definitely requires filtering /treatment.
That night people began rolling in but since I was warm in my sleeping bag and tent I didn’t bother to investigate how many had arrived till the next morning. After a leisurely breakfast I packed up my gear and wandered over to where others were beginning to gather. Turned out we had 31 people! The person who had said they’d pick up a wilderness permit didn’t show so we were short. Fortunately two or three people had hiked over from the eastern Sierras so they would continue on their on wilderness permit, one person had picked up a permit for himself and the rest agreed to hike for the day and then return to Sample Meadow Campground so it worked out ok.
We split up into three groups roughly based on who was interested in visiting what caves, hiking speed and or whether they would be camping in the wilderness and off we went.
In spite it being so late in a very dry summer at this altitude there was still plenty of wildflowers and while I did notice the first stream we reached was dry most had at least some water in them.
The day war,ed up quickly and the trail got a bit steep but fortunately it wasn’t a long hike and soon enough it was time to put down our packs and check out some caves.
Emerging from one of the caves we got our first view of a Marmot on this trip as one was sunning itself on the rocks overlooking the cave.
After visiting a couple of caves those of us who were camping overnight made our way over by the lake where we found a good spot to set up our tents. We then had a good time gathered in the center of our ‘camp’ preparing dinner and chit catting about a wide variety of subjects. It got cold pretty quickly after dark though so most of us headed for our tents fairly soon after the sun went down.
Getting up the next morning I was admiring the warm sun rising above the trees when Jessica asked if I’d seen the lake yet this morning? I hurried over and admired it’s beautiful mirror like surface before taking a few pictures.
Then after breakfast it was back to caving.
As a special treat we spotted a cave cricket on the way out so I stopped to photograph it.
All to soon it was time to start packing things up and beginning the hike back to civilization.
I hated to leave but after four days of camping a hot shower and my own bed sounded pretty good.