Beautiful hike for August. Not excessively hot, particularly near the creek.
: Started out about 5:30 P.M. from Bull Pen Ranch campgrounds. A little late, but what the heck. Rather than performing a gear float, I decided to do a bit of rock climbing to get around the one true obstacle
of the trail. My roll of rope came in very handy, as I had to lower my gear down a 25 foot drop.
At some point on the trail I dropped a new $300 camera, so I stopped to look for it. Pretty tough in leaf-covered ground. Giving up at dark, I pitched camp.
My night was quiet except for the skunk that decided to keep a watch on me all night. After a night of little sleep (crunch, crunch, crunch went the leaves around my tent), dawn was a welcomed sight--I could finally get on the trail.
The next morning I looked for my camera a bit longer, backtracking to where I remember taking my last picture. Accepting that it was lost, at 5:30 AM I packed up and headed on out. My camera was laying in the trail about 20 feet from my camp. I estimated it to be further back, so I wasted about 2 hours for nothing!
Needless to say, I was happy to find it.
: Nothing exciting like skunks or lost cameras today. The day went rather smoothly. The hike ranged from hilly terrain, to open fields, to wooded areas...the whole nine-yards. The creek was a welcomed sight on many crossings. Although cairns exist, I found that many had been swept away during obvious flooding in past months. Some were screened in at major crossings.
I had intended to spend another night on the trail, but found that my tent had snuck out of its straps. First the camera, now the tent!
I dropped my pack and went looking several hundred yards back. No luck! Now, some might say, "so pitch camp without a tent," but being near the creek, I would have been eaten alive by bugs. So I decided to trek the rest of the way out that afternoon and evening.
The last 4-5 miles were almost all uphill. Each crest seemed as though it HAD to be the last, but I just kept climbing and climbing. With a 45 lb pack and having hiked most of the day...let's say, that pack is lucky it's not decaying at the bottom of a ravine . I made it out of the "canyon" at about 10 pm that night with about 8 oz of water left.
My recommendations: hike East to West, from the Rim to Bull Pen Ranch.
This is a very beautiful hike and I will do it again, having learned my lesson the first time.