Saturday, February 24, 2024

Best Winter Camp

The 2024 HALT winter camp was the best ever!  Tom's Place had snow but like last year, so he headed up to the parking spot at the end of the plowed road.  There were several skiers and snowshoers there but still had plenty of parking.  After getting all our gear ready, we headed out over about 2' of snow with some very light snow falling.  We made camp in East Fork campground about 3/4 mile from the car.  After dinner and melting snow, it was an early night.
The next day was sunny and nice.  There wasn't enough snow for a good quinzhee but we made a small one to demonstrate the technique.  For lunch, we hiked back to the car and drove to Tom's Place Cafe which is highly recommended.  We also did a hike towards the Rock Creek Lodge.
Overnight, it snowed about 4-6 inches.  Our tents looked like igloos due to all the snow.  We got up early to start packing and it was still snowing.  Tree avalanches were dropping all around us.  We finally got to the car and drove out on the snow.  We passed the plows on the way.
It was a great trip!

Home sweet home

Great weather

Got a nice fire going

Tent igloo

Ready to bug out

Car covered in snow

Tom's Place cafe

Up valley in the snow

Sunday, February 04, 2024

Winter Desert Overnight

With an off Friday, I decided to squeeze in an overnighter in the desert between a couple of storms.  I started out by topping off with gas in Ocotillo and then heading into the Dos Cabezas area.  It was drizzling as I explored the Mortero Palms area.  I hiked up to the palm grove which was the densest grove I have see.  The hike had some tough scrambling but worth it.  Since it was too early to setup camp, I headed north to Indian Valley.  It got dark as I drove into the south branch.  I got camp setup and ate a quick dinner.  It was quite windy and cold so I headed into the tent.   Later in the night a couple other folks showed and camped there as well.  They weren't too loud except for some snoring :(  In the morning I checked out the north branch of the valley and then hiked Torote Canyon.  Lots of elephant trees in the canyon!  I then headed north again and decided to take Oriflamme Canyon to exit.  It was a tough but great trail.  I got to the end in Banner just in time as about a dozen rigs were at the gate just about to come up.

Mortero Palm Grove

Mortero Canyon

Camp in Indian Valley

Sunrise in Indian Valley

Elephant Tree in Torote Canyon

Along Oriflamme Canyon trail