Richardson Lake to N. Fork Blackwood Creek: 8.7 miles

When I’m up I start toward the bear bags and see the new “laying down” tree again. I’m sure it’s the one that fell. Just then, 4 woman hiking together, that I’d met the night before when Sherman and I were hiking in, come over to look for the tree that fell. We find the stump. The tree broke off underground, glanced off another tree and was guided between two other trees.

They see and ask about the bear bags. I talked about them yesterday as they complained about using bear canisters, big plastic or carbon fiber containers that bears have yet to figure out how to open. Last year a bear at Yosemite learned to roll canisters off a short cliff. The impact would pop open the canister and Mr. Smartypants would have a snack. I think the park moved him way back in the wilderness, away from the human traffic.

Anyway, the canisters are a pain to use. I used one when I hiked the John Muir Trail years back. On that hike I was told by a very experienced hiker about these new Kevlar bear bags. He was using one, illegally. His style of hiking was to choose a canyon that had no trails and go get lost. Then the game was to find his way out. Way beyond my interest…

I show the girls how the OdorProof bags and Kevlar sack work. They return to eating and packing. I finish packing and Sherman and I hit the trail.

Leaving camp. Sherman’s mostly off leash at this point. But I always start him out on the leash until I feel his energy is engaged in the hike.

Somewhere in this section the terrain changes. Meadows began to be interspersed with the pine stands. Ferns are mixed in with the bushes. The ground is moister. The trail is a softer dirt.

A beautiful small creek being crossed by the trail.

In a 20-100 foot wide area of soft green plants a 6-8 foot swath of plants are bent over or flattened. When I pass these swaths of bent plants I wonder who walked through here, rolled through here, played here, or slept here?

Sherman…

…and Sherman off leash leading his small pack of two beings across the world…

We’re both pretty tired so my intent is to do a short day, maybe 5 miles. There are two creeks within that distance and I plan on picking one. However, when we get to each one there’s no place to stay. The terrain is too steep and the trees are too dense. So… we continue.

We stop for a long break so I can dry out the tent. Between the inner condensation and the dew it’s totally wet. I unfurl it in the sun and after a few rotations and flips it’s dry. Ready for tonight.

A few miles later we approach Barker Pass and I think we could stay there. There’s usually a signal at the high points that face Lake Tahoe and I could update the blog. But as we near the pass the weather changes. Clouds come in and a cold wind comes up and mental confusion rains. There are picnic tables at the trail head so we sit at a table to rest, snack and figure out what’s next. There is weak AT&T signal so I call Peggy and talk for a few minutes. I’m undecided about what to do. I really don’t wanna hike any further. And I really don’t wanna camp in strong cold wind…

Sherman and I go over to talk to 2 hikers at the other picnic table. They’re hiking the PCT north to south, so they’re just about halfway. They’ve been hiking for two months. I ask them where they would recommend we hike to and stay if we were to continue north? They show us on the map. It’s exactly the same place that I had initially planned on going today. So, off we go. 2 1/2 more miles, up and over the peak ahead.

Up…

…and up…

…and up…

…and up…

…and up. We start down from here…

A panorama from the same spot.

Though we’re going down, we are both tired and walking pretty slow.

As we get close to the creek, the pines have bright, iridescent moss growing within an upper and lower height on the trunks. I have no explanation. Just awe.

We arrive at N. Fork Blackwood Creek. A couple we’ve been alternating “who’s in front” with are there with their Lab, Stella. She and Sherman quickly become friends. Looking for a flat spot we pick one on the other side of a screen of pines and setup camp. It’s a good sheltered spot, but there are no logs or rocks to sit on.

Our view from the tent.

I’m just thinking of asking Carl and Natalie if we can come over to visit and cook when Carl comes over and asks if I have an extra USB to Lighting cable. His just broke. I do have an extra and give it to him.

We go to their Five Star campsight that has rocks setup to block the wind shielding the camp stove flame and split logs to sit on. The Ritz! I cook diner. We all eat and talk about hiking, dogs, work, and more hiking.

In bed at 7:30. Much snoring during the night…