BHS 100K

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

Thursday, September 20, 2012

JMT Day 4 - River Trial to Red's Meadow to Crater Creek

Enjoying breakfast of cracked wheat, flaz seeds,  raisins, almonds, honey, cooked with ghee and a cup of coffee

Tuesday, July 3rd
   It looks like after today I will be hiking solo for a while.  My friends An’s feet are pretty torn up from blisters and he will be unable to go on much further.  So far we’ve already backpacked a total of about 20 miles since leaving Tuolumne Meadows, crossed 11,000 foot Donahue Pass and unfortunately An’s feet have him just hobbling down the trail now.  We are two miles away from Agnew Meadows which is the one point where there is a road close to the JMT and we make there by about noon. Here, I am able to lighten the load from my backpack with a few items I now I realize I won’t really need (too much fishing gear, a kindle I will never read up here as I have all of nature’s beauty to read, an extra unnecessary water purifier, and too much cooking gear.)  I give them to An and we say bye as he takes the shuttle bus back to Mammoth Lakes where family will pick him up.  

Trail Break

Agnew Meadows

                My next destination is Red’s Meadow which is about 8 miles away in Devil’s Postpile National Monument.  Red’s has a small general store and I want to get there before 5:00PM when I think they close as I am hoping I can pick up some fresh food.  I really don’t need much as I have been eating well, but it would be nice to get there in time and see what they have.  Before long a young man by the name of Matt catches up to me and I fall in behind him.  He sets a fiery pace and it feels good to be able to chat with him for a while as we hike together.  He is just 18 years old and entering college next fall in Pennsylvania.  He too is hiking the whole JMT, but he plans to finish it all in 2 weeks then fly to the Alps to do some hiking over there.  That alone is amazing but what really blew me away was to hear that he is doing this just after a fairly serious climbing accident he had just two months ago.  Apparently, he fell and broke some ribs that landed him in intensive care with a collapsed lung.  He actually had to take a bus out here from the east coast because the doctors said that he couldn’t fly at altitude yet because the lung could get damaged again.  Go Matt go!
Matt at a stream crossing

                The trail continues to follow the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River with a bridge crossing at Upper Soda Springs, passing by Minaret falls and then enters Devil’s Postpile.  About half a mile into the National Monument I see what looks like steam rising up out of the ground.  Not thinking there is much thermal activity in this area, I call it to Matt's attention.  We investigate and discover that it is a campfire someone had left smoldering.  Wow and “unholy smokes!”  We a stunned to have just happened along what could have turned into a major forest fire.  It looks like these people had tried to cover up there fire with some sand and rocks, but it definitely wasn’t out and it was even starting to spread.  We took off our packs, empty what water we were carrying on it, but that still didn’t put it out totally.  Getting more water from here proved to be difficult as there was lots of bush to hack though and a steep bank to climb and I realized what had happened.  These people made the fire but when it came time to put it out and they discovered how hard it was to get water, so they simply tried putting it out by smothering it, a very bad idea that almost led to disaster.  We finally were able to get enough water, to totally dose it until it was cold to the touch.  I am still mad at these people and I hope you know who you are, you lazy bunch of….!
Top of Devil's Postpile
 link to a side view picture of Devil's Postpile I didn't get

                From there the hike takes us over the geological formations that give this park its name.  Next, there are a couple of trail options to take to get to the store and it looks like we probably toke the worst one.  We should have turned back after that first downed tree we had to scamper over , because it just got worse from there.  For almost an hour we are climbing over and under tree fall searching for the trail that leads to the store.  Finally we can hear some cars that lead us to a road that takes us to the store.  Well, nobody said it would be easy I guess and we do make it there just before 5:00PM.  
Giant Sequoia with half its trunk fallen to the ground

Another few of the same tree

                It turned out that the store stays open until 7:00PM every day and we were able to relax and take our time there. There are some huge ancient Giant Sequoia stumps cut into tables and chairs that were perfect for enjoying my ice cold can of Frappuccino and ice-cream that I bought.  I had been amazed by those Giant Sequoias all day on the hike today and I stopped to take pictures of one that had part of its trunk lying on the ground.  At some point in the tree history the trunk had split in two and half of the tree fell over while the rest of the tree remains healthy.
Red’s has become a trail focal point as most hikers end up stopping there.  A few of hikers were getting pretty ripped on some whisky they bought from the store which I politely declined.  From the sounds of it they had were spouting some tall tales and having a pretty good time with that alcohol but I’m not sure how they would be feeling in the morning.  Back in the store, I picked up 3 oranges and some cherry tomatoes which looked like they would be awesome in my couscous that night.  
Blow down in an area that had been previously hit by fire

3 foot diameter Lodgepole Pine - over 200 rings

Lodgepole Pine

After about an hour, a PCT hiker led Matt and I back to the trail, the easy way this time.  Getting to Red’s, we had a bunch of downhill hiking as it sits in a valley with elevation 7,400 feet.  Now we were hiking back up out of that valley, taking some switch backs for about 3 miles until we came to a nice camping area by Crater Creek just before dark.  We camped under some towering Lodge Pole Pines in some ancient old growth.  I had counted over 200 rings on a 3 foot diameter tree that had recently been cut by the trail clearing crews of the NFS. Some of these trees we were now under were bigger than that. 
Camp by Crater Creek

Tomorrows Mountains

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