Troop 774 headed up to the Sierras for a great backpacking trek. The
plan was to base camp in the Devil's Postpile are and do a pair of
out-and-backs to some alpine lakes.
Day 1 started by driving up to
Mammoth Lakes and checking into the Pine Glen group camp. Tents were
set up in a slight bit of rain, but the forecast was for clear weather.
Some of use went to Giovanni's for pizza.
Day 2 began by heading
over to the nearby visitor center to pick up our permits. Since we
needed 2 more spots, we got a number (#1 - first in line) and waited
until 11a and then go the next day permits. We then drove down to our
base camp at Pumice Flats group camp. The camp and the host were very
nice. We ate lunch at the Mule House Cafe (best shakes ever) and then
day-hiked Rainbow Falls and Devil's Postpile. By the time we got back,
everyone had arrived in camp.
We started the trek on day 3. After
breakfast and packing, we took the bus to the Agnew Meadows trailhead.
We walked the short distance to the parking lot and trailhead stopping
along the way for some stretching. The map showed a "shortcut" from the
wind-damaged Agnew Meadows campground to our desired route, the River
Trail. After wandering around for over an hour, we figured that the
shortcut was no longer maintained so we headed back to the parking lot.
There we saw the real entrance to the River Trail. The trail headed
down into the canyon and at the bottom, it was a slow and steady uphill
hike. The San Juaquin River was not visible for most of the trail
despite its name. We stopped for lunch at the junction with the Shadow
Creek Trail. The trail got a bit steeper but more scenic. We hit a
short steep section getting up to the outlet from 1000 Thousand Island
Lake. Everyone was very eager to find a spot and get camp setup. There
were quite a few groups there and it too us a while to find a great
spot about halfway along the north edge of the lake. After pitching
tents we started on dinner. Almost as soon as dinner was finished, the
skies opened up and we got a short violent rain and hail thunderstorm.
Everyone put on their rain gear very quickly. The rain lessened but
kept up for some time during the night. Thanks to the training we have
done, everyone did great and there were no issues with things getting
Day 4 was zero-day. We explored the lake and hiked to the
western end. There was a meadow that backed up to imposing Banner Peak
with its glaciers. Roy gave a tutorial on fly fishing. We didn't get
any more rain but it was quite windy and cloud cover came and went so
layering was mandatory.
We got up early on day 5, broke camp and
hiked out along the same River trail back to base camp. The hike was
easier going since it was mainly downhill and we didn't waste time being
lost. We setup base camp and planned the rest of the trek. The plan
was to have another zero day at our next destination, Ediza Lake. But
we decided to drop the day completely. Night at Pumice Flats was the
coldest of the trip for some reason.
On day 6, we did not take the
buses to Agnew Meadows but did a car juggle and left one car at the
trailhead. We started up the River trail but after a couple miles hit
the junction to the Shadow Creek trail. Some of the group was nervous
about heading up the cliff (which had a great waterfall running down
it). But it turned out to be quick and easier than everyone expected.
We did have a significant injury. One scout hurt his foot going up the
trail. After resting a bit, he and his family decided not to risk and
headed back to base camp. At the top of the cliff, the trail opened up
to the picturesque Shadow Lake. The group was waiting for those of us
that were with the injured scout. We ate lunch there and then headed up
to the Ediza Lake. The trail from the lake was a steady uphill but
followed close to the creek which made for great hiking. The hiking was
well worth it once we saw Ediza Lake. We walked over the western side
to the legal camps and found a great space on a meadow with great views
of the lake, the mountains and easy access to the streams for fishing.
Everyone loved Ediza Lake and we could have easily spent a zero day
exploring the area and other lakes, such as Iceberg Lake.
7, we got real early start and hiked the ~8 miles in less than 3 hours.
Since we got in so early, the drivers decided to head home.
We ended up doing over 32 miles, camped 6 nights including the acclimation days.