Pine Mountain Lodge April 14-17 2017

Nano demonstrating her skills!

A second window of opportunity presented itself and Rich, Nancy and I headed out into the local backcountry for the weekend. The three of us like solitude and we are always up for a challenge. So hiking UP 3,000 feet to Pine Mountain Lodge seemed like an excellent idea. When we arrived at the trailhead at 8:30 the wind was at full tilt boogie and the temp was 49! And yes I was wearing shorts and my fleece hoody. 

( This post is image heavy and word light)

Rich taking his turn

Flowers on the trail

 

Soon we were crossing creeks, walking by lupine, Indian paint brush and acres of tangled, twisted poison oak. We chatted about this and that, pointed out butterflies, distant patches of yellow flowers and fell into our familiar hiking pattern…..Nancy out in the lead, me in the middle and Rich at the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up the canyon we go.

The creek teased us with these freezing little pools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swallowtail butterfly

Indian paint brush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We sat by the creek and ate an early lunch, all of us famished and pawing through our food bags picking out the best morsels. Our comfortable banter slowly ceased as our ascent became steeper and steeper. Our legs screamed at us propelling us up, up up, accompanied by our laborious breathing and thumping hearts. Alone in our own private thoughts or hell we separately concluded that this was a very steep trail and this was our first big elevation hike of the season.

 

Love the brilliant orange!

Blue dicks.

Finally we climbed high enough to get to the incense cedar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rich and Nancy claiming up the switch backs…although they were few and far between.

The view down the canyon from where we came. The Topatopa’s in the distance.

 

 

When we found a square inch of shade we sat on the trail and sipped our electrolytes marveling at the view and lack of people. No one is as crazy as us we concluded.

 

 

 

 

Rich showing of his Tea?

 

Since my pack was so light I carried this chair up the mountain…it was the BEST

 

 

Once at the top of the mountain we spread out amongst the rocks  and sand searching for the best place to camp. We located said spot, set up camp and relaxed on the rocks in the sun.

 

 

Pea Pod Camp. Rich and Nancy bought the 2 person version of my tent and took it for a text run

The end of a wonderful day.

For dessert Rich and Nancy surprised me with a homemade poppy seed cupcake complete with a birthday candle. We all licked the crumbs out of our paper wrappers…. mmmmm.  The wind continued to blow dropping the temperature too quickly and driving all of us into our tents and warm sleeping bags by 7:00pm.  Yup that’s right 7:00 pm! It is now a little after 8 and it is 43 degrees. Cold enough for a fire but way too windy.

 

April 15, 2017

The sun was in our camp early and  the three of us stood around warming our backs and trying to thaw out…..it was 29 degrees. We had a leisurely morning of coffee drinking and chit chatting before we left camp for a short day hike.

Vintage sign

 

 

The trail passed through shaded incense cedars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s the trail…What trail? It was a little steep!

minuscule flowers dotted the ground.

 

 

We hiked up along the ridge with  spectacular views out to the Channel Islands in one direction and the Kern plateau way off in the distance in the other direction. We hiked under the incense cedars and next to curious looking sandstone formations that begged for exploration. We were like the three pokey puppies padding down the trail, except we weren’t really going down it was more of a steep climb and then a rolling up and down as we walked along the ridge.

Our lunch view

Rich doing a little rocking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cool caves in the sandstone and amazing tree growing out of it!

Following the creek looking for the source

 

We also explored the creek near our camp looking for the source of the spring. Supposedly it comes out of a rock crevice but there was so much water in the creek we weren’t sure where it was. We did find some nice little waterfalls and small deep pools.

 

 

 

All in a days hike

 

It’s amazing how much more there is to notice when the wind isn’t attempting to blow you over!  In camp this evening we saw a condor, because Rich wanted it to be a condor, a red tail hawk, hummingbirds and lots of little insects. And if the three of us were quiet at the same time we could hear the little tickle of the creek and the gentle hum of conversation from the people camped in the next ravine over. The last light is fading off the rocks and it looks like the sky is setting itself up for a colorful sunset. We ended our evening by the warmth of a crackling fire and stayed awake until well past 7 pm!

 

 

April 16, 2017

The Easter bunny found me way out in the wilderness and left me some jelly beans and squishy toy outside my tent and inside my boot. It was a sweet surprise. ;~)    

The Easter Bunny!

Even though the temperature was the same as the night before I was much warmer last night. I think it helped that I was warm from sitting in front of the fire before crawling in my sleeping bag.

We left camp at 9:30 and made our steep 3,000 foot descent back down the mountain. We stopped at the creek and swelled down our feet in the freezing water. As always is felt great.

Piedra Blanca

Lupine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White carpet. Lots of different flowers in here.

This blog was typed trailside on my eye phone with my index finger one letter at a time.

HAPPY TRAILS UNTIL NEXT TIME!!

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