Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Queens River Eclipse Trip 2017 Day 2

Good morning, trail.

Ambrose heading up the first little hill of the morning.

Deadfall was the theme of the day.

We got to hike in the shade for quite some time this morning.

There's still snow out here - not that it has been snowing recently, but this snow has survived all summer, and will likely not melt before winter comes back.

Looks like an avalanche came through here and tore down a swath of trees.

I saw many trees bowed down from the weight of the snows.

We took a break at this campsite about a mile from Nanny Creek where another pair had spent the night.

Tilting trees.

Did I mention there was deadfall?

I tried to be extra careful when we walked on rocky trail - "donkey rollers" as Ambrose said.

It was really strange to have Ambrose be in front of my all the time.

We got caught by the sun.

Oh look, a fallen tree.

And another one.

Ha, no fallen trees blocking trees in the meadow!

But this one made us divert up and over, which I didn't like because going down was steep and on loose dirt that made me nervous to step and trust my ankle would hold.

We passed through several sections like this, small trees making us step up and over in quick succession.

I'm not sure this section of trail had trees that didn't experience avalanches.

These poor trees had their tops snapped off. 

Yup. More.

At least the river was running low enough that we could rock hop across rather than take our boots off. 

But we didn't get away from the fallen trees.

I could go under that one easily - Ambrose had a bit more trouble.

Just another couple hundred feet up and we'd be at camp.

After another crossing where we maybe could have rock hopped, but didn't, we were nearly there.

And, here we are, at what we call "Horse Camp" for the old droppings - yet another fallen tree. But there was still room for our tent. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Queens River Eclipse Trip 2017 Day 1

I've never seen the trail head this crowded - and I'm not even getting all the cars in this shot - and this is the Friday before the eclipse. 

Though we originally planned to go up the Little Queens and make the loop, my ankle injury changed our plans to an out and back up the Queens. 

We got started nice and early so my slow pace would still allow us to make our planned campsite in daylight.

A nice easy stream crossing - as it should be, in August.

Ambrose wanted to make sure I didn't stumble at any of the stream crossings.

This log was pretty damp, so rather than risk it on my still-painful ankle, I hopped across to the right. 

This area has always been beautiful to me, and I've loved watching the burned areas grow back over the years. 

A most excellent rock to sit against for our first break.

The trail goes up above the ridge to avoid a swampy area - though it's pretty dry this time of year.

The large tree I remembered from last year was still there, much to my disappointment. 
Ambrose crossed three times so I could cross without my pack on. We figured that would be safer with my ankle still wobbly. He's my hero.

The cross back did not go quite as planned. Since last year, the Queens River has rerouted itself from its prior banks.

We made it across, only to find another section of the trail, near the bog, had been rerouted due to a lot of dead trees blocking the former trail. 

A much easier stream crossing - but he's still waiting for me to pass safely.

We're getting closer to where the trail turns towards Nanny Creek.

I was glad to see most of the trail still looked the same.

Purple monkey flowers!

I had really been hoping this tree would be trimmed, but it was still there. I went under this time.

Every time a distant ridge appeared, Ambrose would ask if that was the Nanny Creek notch, and it never was. 

Ripe huckleberries! My favorite!

The crossing of the Queens River by Nanny Creek was also significantly redesigned by the winter weather. I think it got easier, but I only  had to cross once and I didn't fall like Ambrose did.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Chamberlain Basin 2017 Day 7

Quite a fungus!

Time to walk on the rocky jeep road .

I combined a picture focused on the distant sun-kissed mountains with one focused on the road and trees to get this composite picture. 

This time, Ambrose and I were going to take the Smith Creek Cutoff Trail - like we should have last year. 

It started off on an easy descent, and the dirt was a relief to my feet.

But it wasn't very well maintained.

We encountered a good amount of deadfall.

Nothing sadder than seeing green huckleberries :(

Some of the fallen trees were more difficult than others.

Ambrose cut a switchback to avoid this tangle. I probably should have, too.

It was right before our snack break.

The trail started getting serious about the switchbacks. 

And another one.

A little more deadfall.

More switchbacking.

This was the worst one. It seemed pretty fresh, and we had to force our way through branches still green with needles.

Ambrose pushing his way through the tangle.

Right on the other side of that fall was an old, falling apart cabin of sorts.

The walls were so short, I was able to get a shot of the interior.

Back to flats - we had to be close to the road again now.

Hitching posts near the road.

The sign for the cutoff trail from the road.

Ambrose made it to the road!

I don't remember the road being this damp last year.

More rotting structures along the road.

There is a kind of beauty to nature reclaiming what man made.

I knew we were close after passing this off-shoot road.

The sun was starting to break through the trees.

I kept watching for the ridgeline fall that pointed to the car.

This cabin looked in slightly better repair, but I doubt anyone lives there.

There's the turn! We started from here!

And the car. At last!

This trip, I got dirty.

The inside of the public area of the ranger station at Big Creek.

The Big Creek Lodge construction was proceeding apace.

When we drove over Profile Gap, we saw a fire on a nearby ridge. 

We actually got to watch a helicopter drop a load of water on it.

It was hard to capture the glowing orange embers we could see with our eyes. We were lucky to get out when we did; the road closed the next day because of the fire.
We camped and spent the night at Yellow Pine before driving home the next day.