Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Location: Monterey Park, CA
|Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 3:04 pm Post subject: Trail Peak Traverse
|Cecelia and I ran away to the Sierras for a couple days during Labor Day weekend. We got a late start, which seems to be my new custom, and didn't arrive in Lone Pine until mid-afternoon.
Apparently one is supposed to arrive earlier if one expects to nab a walk-in campsite at Horseshoe Meadow on Labor Day weekend.
Luckily I have the gift of foresight and had acquired an overnight camping permit at the Lone Pine ranger station. The permit allowed us to pitch tent away from the crowds, along the Trail Pass Trail, a mere five-minute walk beyond the Golden Trout Wilderness boundary.
Apart from a few hikers using the trail a hundred feet away, we had the place to ourselves. Cecelia had never been to Horseshoe Meadow, so we strolled down the trail a bit and looked around.
(Log dancing, with Trail Peak in background.)
(One of two marmots sunbathing on the rocks.)
(A friendly, wild-bearded guy took our picture.)
After a night of freezing our toes, we managed to pack up the tent and prepare our day-packs by mid-morning. And off we went to see what could be seen.
We saw a tiny bird.
And some tiny trees.
A tiny chipmunk.
And some sexually provocative trees.
We followed the gentle and pleasantly shaded Trail Pass Trail all the way to Trail Pass.
Then we turned right, onto the PCT.
Shortly thereafter we abandoned the PCT in favor of a cross-country scramble up the east side of Trail Peak.
The initial scramble wasn't too steep. We zigzagged through the trees and rocks, and took pictures of each other. Then there were more boulders, and we actually had to put the cameras away and use our hands for climbing.
We reached a nice, level section with some great views.
Almost above the treeline, a few large rock formations looked enticing.
At last we reached the final push up a mostly barren, rock-filled slope.
A couple easy moves then put us on the summit block.
A little wind kept the skies clear for fantastic views.
After some lunch, we completed the traverse by dropping down the west side of Trail Peak.
The terrain here was fairly easy and took us back to the PCT above Poison Meadow, where looking south we saw giant Olancha Peak dominating the skyline.
Further along the trail, in one of the many dry gullies, a couple deer wondered what we were doing.
This segment of the PCT seemed long, and we hadn't seen any other humans along the trail. So encountering the deer provided about a minute's worth of entertainment before it was time to resume the march toward Cottonwood Pass.
At Cottonwood Pass there were people with apparently no packs whatsoever, and only one little water bottle. I guess they were doing warm-up hikes, or had camped nearby.
Cecelia and I ate a quick snack while taking in the view of Horseshoe Meadow. Then we began down the trail on the final leg toward the car, making it back an hour before dark.
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