Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A hike, a new pack, and a rescue...all in one!

Photo Courtesy of John A.
Oh what a year it has been! 2013 was a great outdoor year for me.  I've managed to achieve many goals...some of which I never thought would be possible.  From losing weight, bagging my first 10K peak, and to hiking in the Sierra Nevada just to name a few.  So before we begin, I want to say a huge "Thank You" to all my family and friends who have helped challenge me to achieve these goals.

For my first hike of the year, I joined the usual suspects and headed to Chantry Flats to spend a weekend at Hoegees Campground.  This is a very easy hike to get to and always fun when you are joined by close friends.  Aside from getting really early to park, I like coming to this place.  Lots of things to see, lots of loop combinations to complete, and so close to home.

We all met at the parking lot not-so-bright and early at 6AM to guarantee a good parking spot.  Shortly after, we began our hike in the dark.

We took the Upper Winter Creek trail to Hoegees and arrived at camp in about an hour.  Surprisingly, the camp was actually full but most of the people were packing up to head out as we got to camp.  It's been a while since I've gone here and it's sad to see that the downed tree was still there and that no maintenance was done to clear the fallen tree.  Water was low as expected but more than enough to meet our needs for the day.

Aside from wanting to get out for the weekend, I also wanted to test out a new pack that I made a while back that was never brought to the field.  This pack was a reiteration of my first MYOG Backpack that I made in March 2013.  I wanted to make a new pack complete with a Hip Belt and a smaller volume just enough for overnight camping.

So far so good, the pack held great, rode wonderfully, and quite comfortable.  My total pack weight for this trip was 11.3 lbs. - it would have been lighter but I decided to bring my full tent instead of my tarp and I also brought some creature comforts like a tablet for reading and watching a movie.  If I didn't bring the tablet and the tent, I would have been at 9 lbs. with food and water.

Back to the hike! After waiting for the other campers to clear out, we selected our sites for the day and set up camp.  We pretty much had a lazy day enjoying the perfect weather and each others company.  A few hours of lollygagging never hurt anyone!

After sitting around at camp, some decided to hit up the Adams Packstation for a cold brew and some went off to Mt. Zion.  At this point, it was 2 PM and I'm feeling lazy but decided to go to Mt. Zion after being coerced :)  The hike to Zion was a short 1.25 miles but all uphill.  After a few weeks of not hiking, this short hike can be a thigh-buster and an ass-kicker! My legs never cramped up but boy where they tired...good times good times.

We hung around the peak for a few minutes then headed back down to camp.  As we were headed back down the trail, we came across two guys hanging out at a corner of a switchback - we actually passed them earlier as we climbed up. We noticed one of them just sitting down and I saw that he was shaking.  We asked if he was okay and we found out that he twisted his ankle severely.  He then told us that it was his first time hiking the trail and based on where they were, it appears they took the Gabrielino Trail from the Chantry Flats parking lot then headed to Mt. Zion.  If you've ever hiked some of the loops here, and you're a beginner, it can be tough. We asked if they needed anything but luckily, they were able to get in touch with the Ranger Station to get help.  Shortly after we parted ways, we heard and saw the SAR team and hoisted the gentleman to safety.  Lesson here is know your own abilities and don't underestimate any trail despite how easy someone says it is.  If you've read any of my reports, you know that I had to back out of a dayhike because of cramping and me being out of shape.  No shame in stopping...it's definitely better than a rescue.

Seeing the SAR team in action was a treat and all-in-all I am glad they got that person to safety.  I can only imagine the fear and how it can affect someone knowing they can't extract themselves out of a situation they cannot control.

After a bit of excitement, we all make it back to camp and enjoyed a comedy show, some whiskey, and stories.  It was another fun trip and a great start to the year.  Woke up the following morning and had some coffee and oatmeal before hiking out.  We ended our hike with Chili Cheese Fries at the Packstation and it was a good day.

Next weekend, I head to Mt. Lowe for the first time...be on the lookout for that report.  Till the next time, thank you for reading and see you on the trails...

Happy New Year!


  1. Nice trip, Angus. Hope that guy is OK.


    1. We hope so too...it sucks to not be able to self-rescue :(

  2. Always a great read Shaded. Looking forward to this weekend.

    1. Same here! Hopefully I won't pass out on the way up the mountain LOL

  3. Oh my, hope that guy is okay. You sounded like you had a great hike! It's always nice to enjoy the outdoors once in a while. And it looks like you packed really well too. At 11 lbs that's really light packing! Maybe next time if you can't resist bringing your tablet along, you can place it in a waterproof container just in case. As you know in the woods, you can never be sure when it rains or if you'll get wet. Haha!

    Paul Cherry

  4. I hope he's ok too. Seeing as it's been a few weeks, I am sure the person has recovered.

    It is nice to enjoy the outdoors...not sometimes but all the time :)

    11 pounds is pretty good but it could be lighter and I am still working on this. I typically don't bring any electronics when I am backpacking (only cell phone and camera) but I wanted to bring something on this trip. The hike in is very easy and one can manage a few little extras to carry.

    My devices are always inside a ziploc bag but luckily, rain was not an issue on this trip. We've been very dry here in SoCal so one can do away with any rain protection on short overnights like this trip.

    Thanks for reading!