Sunday, May 16, 2010

Kern River

My friend Pete invited me to join him on a weekend camping trip into the Southern Sierra along the Kern River. Pete had to attend a workshop at the Kern River Preserve where biologists were searching for an endangered bird in the area.
The campsite we chose was the same as the one I stayed at last fall. It's a peaceful spot in a sandy area along the river. The Kern was raging with ice cold snow melt. At night, the Milky Way was the brightest I think I have ever seen it.
Pete spotting a checkerspot butterfly along the side of the road.
On Saturday, we took a hike along the Kern a few miles to the north of where we camped. All in all, we probably did about 10 to 12 miles. It was very warm in the valley, warm enough to warrant an ice cold plunge into the river. To stay in longer than a second would probably deliver an instant heart attack due to the freezing temperatures of the river!

Pete catching giardia (above)
Saturday night, we camped near Lake Isabella. We had a friendly homeless African American man as a neighbor. In the morning, I talked to him for a while. He said he had earned a degree in biology a long time ago and was contemplating going back to school to earn his PHD. Whether that was true or not, I cannot say. He said he just couldn't be around people all that much. He tried applying to several different colleges around the nation, receiving financial aid, but "it just didn't feel right" he kept saying. He said he preferred to be out in the country as apposed to the cities. Later in the morning I saw him putting on a life jacket. He told me he was contemplating swimming across the river because he wanted to see the mountains on the other side. Thankfully, he never jumped in, but he said he was probably going to try next week sometime. Overall, he seemed very content to be where he was. Pete left him a bag of Cheetos and gave him an apple as we left. The man gave me advice to treat my newly formed poison oak on my legs as we said goodbye.

Overall, another great weekend in the Sierra. I talked to Dan briefly on the phone. He passed Warner Springs this weekend and I'm planning on meeting him at Idyllwild sometime this week to finally start the PCT.


  1. Great photos, Mark. The Kern looks very full. Soon the creaks, streams and rivers here will join in. The wildflower photos are lovely, too. Sorry about the poison oak...again....and glad you'll be hitting the Trail in Idyllwild. I love that place. Spring is trying here. Still a ton of snow in the Sierra and we haven't had sustained warmth to get the melt really going. Soon, they say, soon.....happy trails!

  2. "Pete catching giardia" LOL!

    I used to backpack with a friend who also tempted fate regularly. Far as I know, he never got it, though.