Friday, June 11, 2010

Trail Peak

With all the heat over the last weekend, the Kern River Peaked and started it's drift back down towards somewhat normal levels. Thoughts of the dwindling snowpack and Rebecca's shoulder injury turned thoughts towards a last ski adventure for the season. Marc had overheard that the road to Cottonwood Lakes was open and we decided to load up the truck and go see what was left of the 2010 big snow in the Southern Sierra.

Headed into the Golden Trout Wilderness

A busy weekend of work warranted a little down time and Copper and Lucy were eager to join, so we decided to drive up Tuesday Night and set up camp then spend all Wednesday climbing for turns. Our intention was to leave the 14 year old dogs behind in a pile of blankets, but as soon as we got up to Horseshoe Meadow, the cool weather brought them back to puppy form, so we decided that they should join the adventure.

Across Cottonwood Creek with Trial Peak in the distance

Having not spent much time in the area, Horseshoe Meadow was a very pleasant surprise; camping by a meandering stream surrounded by peaks seemed like a great way to spend a couple of nights. Add that to the fact that there was nobody around, this seemed like a very good choice of adventure. It was clear from the outset, however, that skiing was not going to be epic; we were probably about a week late for that. Still, an outing in the high Sierra is always a good time.

Marc in search of snow

After a couple of hours of mellow hiking along a trail with plenty of small stream crossings for the dogs, we came to a point where we could transfer the skis from our back to our feet - aaahhh

Copper taking a break while we ski-up

The ski up was pleasant for those with two legs; the four legged folks were mushing into the soft show a bit. Still, Copper and Lucy are used to this sort of torture and plodded up the slope with little complaint.

Rebecca and Copper near the summit

Lucy Dragging a bit with Horseshoe Meadow in the background

Trail Peak is the second highest peak on the Kern Plateau (Olancha being the highest) and provided a great 360 view of the South Fork, Golden Trout and North Fork drainages with views up towards the Eastern Sierra, Kaweahs and Triple Divide Peaks - Spectacular.

Mt Langley to the North

Rebecca's not so sure about ski boots on summits

Maybe the safest thing to do is just sit down

We took in a little lunch and took in a lot of scenery at the top. It was impressive. We could see the entire South Fork Drainage all the way down past Olancha and into the Domelands. We could also see the Golden Trout Creek drainage as it meandered east then plummeted into the North Fork of the Kern. To the west you could look down the Cottonwood Creek Drainage to Owens Valley and into Nevada. Of course North was the High Sierra, still with a surprising amount of snow.

The whole family at the Summit

East towards the Kaweahs

We would have loved to stay there all afternoon, but a brisk wind and gravity eventually unseated us and we started back toward camp.

Getting a little artsy

It was not the worlds best skiing, but as Marc said, any day you get to put your boots on is a good day.

The easy part

Copper and Lucy not too far behind...

Skiing down towards camp
After getting back to the snow-ish line, it didn't take long to boogie back to camp. We had a couple of Just Outstanding IPA's and sat by the creek soaking in the scenery

Chilling by the creek

While sitting there we got to observe the social behavior of Marmots, listen to a Cowboy sing as he rode down the trail, relax and soak in the Southern Sierra - what a day!

Dueling Whistle Pigs

Cirque Peak and Cottonwood Creek

Testing out the glider port on the way home

As always, we are thankful that we live here and get to enjoy it on a regular basis.

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