Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day 4

Rebecca and Pi looking into Kern Canyon with the Kaweah Ridge in the bacground
 Day 4: Wallace Creek to Junction Meadow

Waking up in the morning at the top of Wallace creek was a good feeling.  Not only were we very close to the Kern, but we had the majority of our uphill out of the way and a very easy day down to Junction Meadow.  On top of that, the smoke that we had seen in the canyon the day before from the George Fire was no longer evident, which meant a couple of things.  First, we would not be breathing smoke the whole day, and second, there was a good chance that the fire was contained and that our helicopter (bringing us boats and taking Marc and Ann out) was probably going to be there when it was supposed to be.

Heading into Kern Canyon

Even though we had an easy day in front of us, some of us were pretty beat down (read me) from the heavy packs and long days leading up to this point.  Dave, Allison and Andrew, however, were not, so they elected to go on yet another adventure while the rest of us made the descent down to the river.  

First look at Junction Meadow
The hike down was pleasant, following Wallace Creek pretty much the whole way.  Views of Black Kaweah and other peaks the whole way down.  As you get closer to the river you get to see the Glacially carved valley, of which pictures do no justice...

Back at this sign 7 years later

When we got down to where Wallace Creek Trail hits the Kern Canyon trail we took a minute to snap a picture at a sign that we had visited 7 years earlier on our Headwaters of the Kern expedition (Rebecca was the first Woman to paddle it).  Funny how much has changed since then.

Looking up into the Kern-Kaweah river
While Junction Meadow is a beautiful place, it is well know to be a mosquito haven, so we took a minute to find our camp just north of the wooded area where the bugs would be less likely to ravage us.  We then took a trip through the bog to hang out by the river, which was low, but still a wonderful sight to see.

Marc and Ann chilling

Pi and Dad floating sticks in the river
Of course we had to jump in and "bathe", but none of us lingered very long in the icy waters.  Invigorating would be a mild way to put the experience of a dip in the Kern at Junction meadow, but if you can't feel alive hanging out at this place, a quick jump in the water will definitely bring you to your senses.

Rebecca debating the merits of jumping in

Um, it's cold...
After our swim we set up camp and poked around a little bit checking out the cascade of the Kern coming down into Junction Meadow.  7 years ago we had considered boating this section of river, but looking at it at high water we had deemed it unwise to attempt.  Looking at it now at low water did not tempt me either. 

After a while we got the radio call from the others and met them at camp.  While it was a relatively leisurely day, we were still pretty beat and happy to hang out at "bear camp".  The next day we had some mileage to make to stay on schedule to meet the chopper, but we were now on the Kern, our home river.

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