BHS 100K

Here is some video and pictures from the 2013 Bishop Ultramarathon. I completed the 100K in 14 hours 22 minutes.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day 14 - Bench Lake - Pinchot Pass - Wood Creek Bridge

Pinchot Pass

Sunrise on Bench Lake
Lake Marjorie

Friday, July 13
                Another day, another pass has been the rallying cry of late.  Today I will be hiking over Pinchot Pass.  Interesting name Pinchot, I wonder who he was and what he did.  Right now everything is of interest to me up here including all the human, natural history and geology.  With time I am getting more knowledgeable, but mostly I am enjoying just enjoying it out here.  Reevaluating what I ate yesterday, I came to the conclusion that my body probably bonked after going over Mather pass.  (Stephen Mather was the first director of the National Park Service in 1917 and was instrumental in its creation.  He was a millionaire industrialist who devoted much of his time to conservation at the turn of the 20th century.)    The night before I hadn’t been able to cook and eat all of my dinner, and in the morning I had tomato soap instead of the hearty cracked wheat breakfast I usually rely upon.  Bonking essentially means that you muscles have run out of readily available glycogen supplies for fuel.  Our brains are dependent on this same fuel and when glycogen levels get too low in our bodies, we can become dizzy and faint as I did yesterday.  So today I will be taking a more relaxed pace and stopping for more breaks.   As I enter mile 157 and the final week of my hike, I want to make sure that I enjoy everything as much as possible because who knows when I will get the chance again.   Also, as it is better late than never, I am including a link to a file of a map of this trail section.
Trail up Pinchot Pass

                It turns out to be a very relaxing day.  The rain that had been threatening yesterday evening never developed and we only had a few short sprinkles today.  I spent a good part of the morning taking pictures of the sunrise and didn’t leaf camp until 10:00am.  I made it to the top of Pinchot Pass, 3 miles and 1600 feet of elevation in 2 ½ hours similar to yesterday’s ascent.  On the descent I stopped to cook some rice and chili when I got below 10,000 feet when I spotted an established fire ring. Above 10,000 feet I have been destroying these and by scattering the ashes and stones, doing my best to cover its illegal existence. However, below 10,000 feet there is tons of dry fuel in the forest and I believe that clearing some especially around established campsites is like doing a mini controlled burn for the NFS.  As soon as I get the fire started, it begins to sprinkle lightly but not enough to put out my fire.  

                After lunch, the trail continues to drop as it follows Wood Creek until it reaches the suspension bridge at the crossing.  This is a very popular camping spot and there are lots of hikers here already.  I get myself a spot for the night and with so many campers in this area I begin to wonder about bear problems.  I ask friendly looking group of 6 men and 1 boy if they have spotted or heard of anything.  They hadn’t but informed me of the bear boxes that the NFS has provided for all campers to keep their food in overnight.  We all talk for a while and I find out that they are from the Stockton area and hiked up from one on the western passes.  The next thing I see Andy and his crew coming in over the bridge and I talk to them for a while too.  It looks like I will have lots of company tonight.  The young boy from the big group name was Nick and he and his father came by later that evening to offer me a couple of Ghirardelli Chocolate squares.  I hadn’t had anything like this for two weeks and did they ever taste rich.  



Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 13 - Palisade Lake - Mather Pass - Bench Lake

Sunrise on Lower Palisade Lake from my early morning perch

Thursday, July 12
I feel like singing, “I’m so happy, I could cry.”  It is just that it is sublimely beautiful out here.  Right now, high up in the mountains overlooking the peaceful morning rising on Palisade Lake, I am sitting on a granite ledge, feet dangling over the side enjoying breakfast I just finished cooking.  I even have a granite cup holder for my coffee between the slabs.  I managed to finish cooking that quinoa that was not opening for me last night.  I just boiled it some more with some dehydrated tomatoes and ghee and it has the consistency and taste of a rich tomato soup.
Yesterday, I met a marine biologist for the NFS, Jason, and we talked for a while.  He wanted to know how the fishing was and if I saw anything else interesting along the way.  After I gave him my fishing report, I told him of a an animal I spotted that I believed was a salamander although I wasn’t sure.   It wasn’t close to water that I could see and I didn’t get to observe it for very long before it scurried away from the trail.  It had grey green colored skin with dark spots and its skin did appear moist.  It had the long body and the tail of a salamander too and perhaps there was a nearby underwater spring that was keeping it moist.  We looked it up in my field guide and Jason said that it would me extremely rare, but it could have been a Mount Lyell Salamander and that would be useful information about the health of the forest.   In return he gave me a couple of hints on where there had been reports of 20 inch Golden Trout.  Both places that he told me about would require a side trip off of the JMT, so I saved them for future information and possible weekend trips and if anyone else is interested, post a comment and I will let you know.
The red berries at the tip are the pollen cones.  The squat purple cone is the female cone.  The open cone in the back is one that has been picked at by Jays.

The weather is still looking grey and we might get some rain before the day is done.  The first part of the day’s hike will take me over Mather Pass, at elevation 12,100 feet and about three miles away.  Before leaving I spot some Jay birds making noise and eating some berries out of the pine trees.  The red berries they are eating are actually the pollen cones of the white bark pine.  The female cones of this tree are squat and purple and easily fall apart and I get a couple of good pictures of these.

Hiking Down the south side of Mather Pass

On Top of Mather Pass.  that's upper Palisade Lake way sown in the distance

I feel strong hiking up Mather Pass, making it to the top in about 2 ½ hours.  However, on the way down after eating some lunch I start feeling faint.  I don’t know if it’s the weather, or I am just exhausted.  The first part coming down the pass is very steep and rocky and there are many spots of the trail that have been blocked by large boulders from landslides.  I had to scramble around these parts and a mule team would not be able to make it though.  I heard a few of these landslides booming from far off in the distance last night – there better not be any more now.  After a couple of miles of this though, the trail levels out and becomes a long gradual downhill that carries the South Fork of the King River though this wide glacial sculpt U-shaped valley.  If I get the right kind of pictures of these, I can have my students analyze the parabolas their cross sections form.  Keeping a medium pace along this trail, I slowly see it moving off to my left.  That is weird I say to myself as I take a few more steps.  Eventually, I come to my senses and realize that it is not the trail that has gone off course, but me as I am becoming dizzy and walking off of the trail.  It is time to take a break.  I hope that I am not getting sick, yet I don’t feel ill, just a little weak.  I know that I have lost some weight on this trip, because when I pinch the skin on my hip it feels thinner, so perhaps that is it.  It’s not paper thin yet, but getting there.  I highly recommend overnight backpacking though the mountains to lose weight.  It could be the elevation, but I should be acclimated to that by now.  I just stop and take more breaks as this feeling of fatigue continues throughout the day.  
Looking down the south side of Mather Pass

It sprinkled rain on and off the entire day and into the evening.  After about five miles the trail crosses the river and heads up the canyon wall to Bench Lake.  I was resting by the river contemplating that last mile of uphill climb ahead of me when another southbound hiker came by.  I talked with him for a few minutes before we headed up the hill together.  I was unable to keep up with him but I was glad to see him up top where he had scouted out some good campsites already.  The wind was blowing pretty hard by now too and we each lucky enough to get a site that was well shelter by White Bark Pines.  The fierce winds up here are constantly twisting these hardy trees which continue to grow even after they are blown over making awesome wind shelters.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 12 - Little Pete Meadow to Palisade Lakes

A deer mangled my hat!

Wednesday, July 11

                I never thought I would say a deer ate my hat, but there you have it. Did you see the video?  While walking back from the creek, I was flabbergasted to see some trash laying on the ground, thinking someone had irresponsibly dumped it there.  It started to have that familiar look about it and when I got a little closer it and I recognized what it was.  My jaw dropped, I got angry for a second, before I started laughing when I realized what had happened to my favorite straw woven Montana hat.  That pesky deer last night must have picked it up, chew it to shreds and it looked like she stomped on it a few times too.  Maybe it was pissed at me for trying to shoe it out of my campsite – I suppose she actually was there first if I think about it correctly.  There was no saving the hat and I couldn’t leave it as trash, and I didn’t want to pack it all the way over the remaining mountain passes.  I decided to cremate it.  Bye-bye good old hat of mine.  It still was comfortable, but I do admit that it was getting rather ugly.

Tiger Lilly

The first four miles of the day’s hiking was a relatively easy gradual downhill as the trail continued to follow the Middle Fork of the King River till it hit 8,000 feet.  From there the trail turned east and started climbing Palisade Creek as it headed for Mather Pass.  It’s still a lot of work climbing, but after I did a food inventory this morning, I decided I could give some food away. It shouldn’t be too hard to find some hungry hikers you would think and it wasn’t.   I met a group of three hikers, Michael, his sister and his wife who were attempting to hike from MTR to Mt. Whitney with only seven days of food between them, but they were now realizing that it could take them a day or two longer than planned.  I was able to unload about a pound of Quinoa, a pound of Humus, and 8oz of honey on them.  Now they can take that extra day without going to hungry.  It was nice hiking with them for stretches of the trail too and we would continue to leapfrog past one another for the next few days.  
The weather looks good this way

But it's getting darker this way
My destination for today would be Palisade Lake, elevation 10,613.  Another group of three from Los Angeles, Andrew, Chewy and Oscar were already camped by Lower Palisade when I got there and they pointed me to some good sites just above them.  I found a nice flat spot on a sandy granite slab that was relatively sheltered from the wind.  The sun was still shinning on our part of the lake but another hiker shouted to us that there was rain coming in down the pass.  Looking up the mountains we could see dark clouds rolling our way, but they looked like they might not quite make it.  To be on the safe side I started setting up my shelter.  Being impossible to get a stake in the ground up here, I used rocks to hold down the corners.  

After an hour of scurrying around to make sure all my stuff didn’t get wet, those clouds weren’t any closer so I decided to try fishing in the lake.  I saw some eight to ten inched beauties hiding in a small outlet channel on the north side and I tried to catch them with a Sierra Hopper.  There are quite a few grass hoppers out here even at these high elevations right now and the Sierra Hopper has been productive.  But this time I was not cautious enough as I approached the bank, and I spooked them before I even got my line in.  I climbed and hiked my way to the other end of the lake by the inlet channel where I did catch a couple of little ones that I released.  On my way back I tried one more time for those bigger ones, but they were on to me already.  That’s OK; I still got lots of that chili.  I tried cooking up some quinoa, but it was very difficult at this elevation.  Because water boils at a much lower temperature up here due to the reduced air pressure, everything takes longer cook.  I finally gave up, thinking that it might cook better in the morning if I let it soak all night.  The rain never did show up and the winds died down in the evening too.

Lower Palisade Lake

Golden trout on a Sierra Hopper