Monday, May 28, 2012

Pioneer Trail, Wrights Lake Attempts

We had an epic trip planned for this holiday weekend.

The plan was:
Drive to Lake Spaulding area on Thursday night, camp.
Friday - Adam mountain bikes with Brian while I run the dogs on Pioneer Trail.
Friday night - camp either at Spaulding or drive over to Wrights Lake that evening and camp there.
Saturday thru Monday - Backpack Desolation Wilderness--prepared to walk in/on snow (a little or a lot) but enjoy otherwise mostly nice weather. Supposedly rain/snow was a slight chance Saturday morning but we figured we could deal with that.

What actually happened:
Camp and Spaulding Lake Thursday night. Chilly but nice. Awoke to snow flurries! Decide to see how the day goes and attempt our running/biking anyway.

I ran the dogs on Pioneer..not sure how far but at least 14 miles. Was great. Pioneer is a gentle trail and was good to my knee.

The views during the boys' mountain bike ride.

Adam and Brian went off expecting to put in about 50 miles. But, within the first couple of hours, Adam had gotten 3 flat tires and had very few supplies left to fix any other flats. They told me this, and said they'd text me if they had problems.

Brian and the ceanothus!

They had flowers from the ceanothus everywhere!
I went back to to the van after my run and hung out for a couple of hours waiting for info from them, but had no service so ended up driving down the road several miles (after waiting for three hours--seems like a lot but when I caught them mid-ride earlier on the trail they had a lot of miles still to go so I wasn't surprised they hadn't come back). Upon getting cell service, I got a bunch of texts with the common theme of: "More flat tires, need rescue, wet, freezing, it's snowing, can't ride, come get us." So, I drove to the meeting place through a mix of rain and snow (I HATE being in the car when it's snowing, and I had to drive the VAN THROUGH SNOW! Ugh) to pick up two soaked, shivering boys! Blasted heat in the van, made tea, everyone was OK!

Monkey flower the boys saw on their ride.
So--day one was a little colder/wetter than we hoped for....after that, we decided to head to the cabin at Donner Lake for hot showers and a warm place to sleep. (Cabin was awesome: we made chili and cornbread and watched our "we're on vacation and have cable" tv show of choice: House Hunters which can entertain us for hours.)

Saturday: we debated a lot on what to do. Backpacking seemed a little crazy. Reports were that there actually wasn't that much snow in the backcountry..but we woke up to snow falling. Again, reports were that there would only be about an inch of accumulation. We decided to go for it.

At the start of the hike: had been graupeling for maybe 30 minutes at this point. Trees where totally snow-free when we arrived, and the ground is just dusted. 

No snow on the ground when we started at Wright's Lake, but it was graupeling. (Which was ok because it all bounced off and we stayed very dry! At first.). Then the snow started...and got heavier...and was crazy! When we started around noon  the trail was essentially clear (but for the dusting of graupel). About three miles in we were slogging through the accumulating snow, which was up to 8" in some places! Nuts. If we had been there a week before...there would have been no snow in that area! We met up with some hikers coming out who said that it was piling up very quickly farther in. That, combined with the problem that I had developed a stomach ache that was getting progressively worse...we decided that we weren't having fun at all, so decided to ditch our trip and turn around. A hard decision to make for us, since we are usually pretty hardy folks! Particularly hard because all of the weather forecasts showed great sunny weather for Sunday and Monday..but we couldn't get past the snow falling fast on us Saturday....

Then in started to snow.

At Wright's Lake campground. Much less snow here than farther in!
When we got back from our failed attempt: I wish we had "before we started hiking" and "upon our return" pictures to show how great the area looked hours before this picture was taken!

Back at the van, everyone was wet and the van was covered with about 4-5" of snow (mind you, when we arrived earlier there was no snow!!). Adam started to drive and we slid all over the parking lot (I don't tolerate this well) and Adam luckily had purchased chains for times like this. We chained up, and drove out with no problems. Without the chains, we would have camped there and waited until the snow melted to drive out!

We got a steak dinner on the way home to console ourselves. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment