Monday, September 16, 2013

A little bonding time at Little Jimmy


It's been a while since my last post.  The past couple of months, responsibilities and other commitments have taken precedence...I needed to reset my brain badly and the only medicine I needed was more cowbell :).

Just kidding about the cowbell but I really needed some nature induced therapy.  This time I wasn't going alone.  I was so happy that my daughter wanted to come along.  She's been asking me when I could take her out backpacking - how can I refuse such a request?  I would be taken to the mattresses if I refused. Luckily, a buddy of mine scheduled a trip to Little Jimmy and it so happened that it was set for a weekend that I had free.  Everything is working out perfectly.

Friday night, my daughter and I organize our gear, plan our menu and start packing our bags.  All packed up, my pack weight was at around 23 lb.s without water and my daughters pack was 5.5 lbs.

All packed up and ready to go!
7:00 AM Saturday morning, I wake up my daughter and she smiles knowing it's time to get dressed and get going.  After having breakfast and brushing our teeth, we load up the SUV and head out.  A quick stop a gas station for a fill-up and on the road we go to Angeles National Forest to Islip Saddle - a 65 mile trip for us.

On our way :)
We had the whole 2 HWY all to ourselves it seems...aside from a few cyclists, it was a very peaceful drive up - I really miss this area.  It's been a while since I've been on this highway but I also noticed that they have re-paved the road as well as paved most of the was very clean!

Empty Highway
An hour drive or so, we arrive a the fire road to Little Jimmy - this is an alternate, albeit shorter way to the campground.  My daughter hasn't backpacked with me for a while and I didn't want to tire her out too much.  The elevation gain from this point is not as bad compared to the "real" trailhead from Islip Saddle.

Parked and Ready to Hike
We grab our packs, double-check everything and we begin our short trek to camp.

Start of the hike

Enjoying the view...
After about 30 minutes or so, we arrive at the midway point...perfect time for a photo-op.

As we're walking, my daughter stops to enjoy yet another view and she says "Daddy, I really this place, maybe you can take me here again after this trip is over".  What can I say, I'm blessed to have a kid that enjoys the outdoors as much as I do.  I see a Father and Daughter trip to the Sierra next year...

She encountered 18 of these guys on the way up :)

I love that she gets to enjoy such views - it's nice to share.
After a few more bends and turns, we arrive at Little Jimmy and she's happy to have made it.  She also, for the first time, carried her pack all the way - on past trips, I always end up carrying her pack halfway.

So proud of my girl!
Arriving at camp, we pick our spot, relax and explore.  She really liked the area and was fascinated with the size of fallen pine cones.  "Daddy, they're HUGE!".

One of many stops at the Spings...she loves water!
After exploring and frolicking around camp, it's time for some lunch.  Much to much surprise, I left my stove at home.  I packed everything else (fuel, pots, plate, bowl, etc.) but for some odd reason, I left my stove!  Luckily I went with a large group and I was able to borrow a stove.

For a mid-afternoon snack, I opted to use one of the many wood stoves at camp.  It worked great and it also allowed me to save some of my fuel.

My buddies Trail Pup "Sammy"
The day winds down, we enjoy the night sky and take short strolls to look at the city lights.  Gathered around the fire, everyone relaxes and tell stories.  My daughter even gets some help with her Sudoku :)

Morning comes, the trip nearing its daughter sleeps peacefully through the night.  Warm in her bag and safe knowing I was next to her.  It was nice having her next to me...

My baby warm and cozy
Breakfast! I had to borrow a friends pocket rocket to cook up some pancakes and boil some water for my coffee.  I have to make sure that I never leave my stove again - I was lucky that I was in a group...if we were alone, I would be fully dependent on building a fire to cook - which i don't particularly like due to the dry year we've had.

Shortly after breakfast, we pack up for the hike back down.  Another trip done and another memory added...hopefully it is something that she won't forget and will remember as time goes.

We took some time coming down the mountain, we savored every sight and smell knowing that it might be some time again before we can get back out here.  Reaching the truck, we decide to drive down to Islip Saddle for a last obligatory shot next to the PCT sign.

Another trip done...back to reality.  My baby girl did awesome on this trip.  She carried her pack all the way, enjoyed the terrain and had fun with the group.  She already want to go to Cooper Canyon before it starts getting cold.  Perhaps next month...

Thanks for tuning in...till the next trip.  Happy Trails :)