Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Push to Dobbs Camp


I can't believe it's been 8 months since my last blog post.  Though I have been active outdoors, I didn't feel that any of the trips I've done in the past 8 months were worthy of a trip report.  This weekend however, was something special.  

A few weeks ago, close friends of mine posted an invitation to head to Dobbs Camp in the San Gorgonio Wilderness area.  I really wanted to go but decided not to at first.  Only because I knew that this hike might prove to be too much for my daughter.  Fast forward a couple weeks, my daughter, as she reads through Backpacker Magazine, started discussing the possibility of a trip to the Sierra Range.  I said to her "You know, hiking in the Sierra is challenging...if you're serious, there is a trip coming up and if you can do this, we can think of some ideas for this summer".  I showed her the details of the Dobbs trip and she wanted to try it.  

Trip Day!

We arrived at the trailhead shortly after 8AM and met our friends.  Loaded our packs, buckled our hipbelts and tightened our sternum straps...we started our walk at 8:30AM.

It was a beautiful day, though typically exposed to the sun, the weather was nice.  Slightly humid and, on occasion, overcast...it was a pleasant day for hiking.

For the first mile and a half on the trail, her pace was swift .  Then her pace started to slow down...on a few instances, I'm even bumping into her due my not paying attention.  Just like girls her age, the attitude starts to come out...tired and hot, I could tell she didn't want to be bothered.  We continued a little while longer and we stop by rock on the trail to rest.

At this point, I ask her how she's feeling.  "My feet hurt...but I think I'm OK", she says.  We took a good 5 minutes on this rock.  Refusing to snack on her bars and fruit leathers, I had to force her to do so.  "It will give you energy...trust me. You also need to stay hydrated" I said to her.  Ready to move, we start our walk again.  I asked, "Are you good? Do you want to head back?". "No...I want to keep going" she replied.

"Baby...check it out! We're close to Alger Creek!".  This put a smile on her face... relieved to know that we were close to the midway point of our hike.  Shortly after this sign, I noticed her pace started to pick up again...I didn't say anything at this point.  I knew the sweet treats helped her.  

Finally made it to Alger!

We arrived at Alger around Noon and it took a little over 3 hours to get here from the trailhead.  At Alger, I asked her if she wanted to camp here instead.  I knew how tired she was...she was teary eyed once she sat on the log at Alger.  "Baby, you know it's ok to stop and camp here...we can meet everyone tomorrow since they will pass through here" I said as if to console her. "No Daddy...can I just have some Tang and rest for a bit?" she responded.  I told her that she can take as long of a break as she needed to.

While on our break, I reviewed my map and checked the distance left on my GPS.  It looked like we had around 2 more miles to Dobbs.  I asked her what she thought and she said "I want to go to Dobbs and finish this".  You can't even begin to imagine the emotion I was feeling at this point...to see this little girl who is dead tired, running on fumes, still wanting to push for the goal.  I offered to carry her pack and she said that she needed to carry her pack or "it won't count".  I was NEVER this strong when I was 9!

An hour and half later, we made it! A few more switchbacks downhill...and we're at camp.

To date, this is one of the hardest hikes she has completed.  She did say though that she doesn't want to repeat this trail for a while.  We currently have plans to hike Mt. Lowe via the Sam Merrill Trail plus other challenging hikes like Icehouse Canyon this coming fall.  

I look forward to many more adventures with this girl...she's a beast! 

Till next time...see you on the trails and remember Leave No Trace and Hike Your Own Hike!

Photo By: Mary P.