So not 3 days after getting back to Reno, a certain Irish bird flew up from San Francisco for a wee break from the city life. We planned a couple days at Tahoe, a stop at Russell's wedding here in Reno, and then a 2-night backpack trip deep into the heart of the Sierras.
The plan was to meet Jesse and Lisa at a hot spring 13 or so miles from the nearest trailhead down near Mammoth. It's not super-well-known, so we'll call it I*a B*ll ;). They were going to be 2 days ahead of us, and I got a voicemail right before they went in that they had learned about an alternate route in, and that we should check it out since it would be shorter. The red flag should have popped up when Jesse mentioned the "short overland section," but it didn't.
Long story short, "short overland section" meant hiking through high altitude snow, occasionally within sight of a trail, staying on a trail, then going truly overland over inhospitable terrain and not making it all the way to our destination that day. Oh yeah, then waking up, wandering around for a couple more hours, fording a creek rushing with snowmelt, and then finally stumbling into the hot spring after a day and a half of hiking.
Jesse and Lisa's experience was similar, however enhanced by both their canine companion and their ursine intruder.
Once at the spring, things were sweet, although Jesse and Lisa had already hiked out. We still soaked to our hearts' content. And then went back the easy way...hitchhiked back to where we left the car...and called it good...
Along the PCT
Looking east into the High Sierra where we left the trail to go overland
Looking south into the drainage we'd be descending into 2000' below
Roaring Fish Creek
Fish Creek from the south bank
Our reward is nestled in here
Little puddle of paradise
View from the springs
Steep mountain creek
Standing above the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin
Indian Paintbrush in front of a charred tree
First step of a huge waterfall on the way out
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