Friday, July 3, 2020

Mazourka Canyon/Papoose Flat Bikepack Day 3

I awoke early and packed it up hoping to beat the heat I knew would be building down in the valley.

I couldn't resist taking a short spin around Papoose Flat for some final sight seeing.

After a short but sturdy climb, I descended down to the Waucoba/Death Valley Road.

Pavement all the way to Big Pine, then pleasant dirt riding back home.

These bikepack trips never fail to deliver - a sore body and a restored mind.
Already thinking about the next one!

Mazourka Canyon/Papoose Flat Bikepack Day 2

Night was wonderful at Barrel Springs. Comfortably cool but not cold. I awoke briefly very early, after the moon had gone down, and enjoyed a long gaze at the Milky Way punctuated by a few bright meteorites.

Morning dawned brilliantly.

I hiked back up to the spring to top off my water supply and stumbled upon this odd, desert weathered face like feature on a mat of heavy fabric. 

The day's ride started with a long steady climb, quite warm and stark at the start, but cooler with Pinyon and Junipers higher.

The climb culminates at Badger Flat, where my legs and lungs enjoyed a respite.

From Badger Flat the road traverses incredibly pretty and quite rugged terrain.

I was pushing the bike up the many steep pitches.

 Looking back down to Badger Flat, Mazourka Peak (mid right) and the Sierra.

One of the few gentle stretches.

Another big view of the valley and the Sierra.

Finally, after one last steep plunge, I arrived at sublime Papoose Flat.

I beelined to this campsite where I tucked into the shade. The temps were certainly not hot here at around 8200' but the sun is intense mid day and the shelter was greatly appreciated.

The camp area. 

I've ridden through Papoose Flat several times before always wishing I could spend more time exploring and soaking in the scenery, so I was especially grateful to camp there.

I took several slow, pleasant strolls from camp feeling the day's efforts unwind from my body and mind. Pure magic.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Mazourka Canyon/Papoose Flat Bikepack Day 1

I've been dreaming and scheming up this tour for quite a long time. Starting and finishing at home, riding south to Kearsarge at the mouth of Mazourka Canyon, up Mazourka to Badger Flat, over to Papoose Flat and down to Big Pine.

I had thought my spring window of opportunity had closed with summer heat setting in, but an unusually cold, springlike weather front swept through the region and gave me one more chance!

I set out from my house under bright skies with cool temps and a steady north wind.

Strong winds the day before had done a little tree damage. It took a little effort to get my rig over this downed limb!

I enjoyed the fine tailwind and the stark desert scenery as I made my way down valley. 

Starting up Mazourka Canyon Road I savored the slight fragrance of Creosote Bush in the air as they are abundant here.

The lower stretches of Mazourka Canyon are pure desert bliss.

Desert Plume guards this mine entrance.

After a good spell of climbing I arrived at Barrel Springs where I camped.

Below the spring and above the mine/camp area.

This barrel was once an integral part of the water conveyance system that brought water from the spring to the mine area. Perhaps the barrel that gave Barrel Spring its name?

I had solid information that water was available here and after a bit of hiking I found it.

A spring in the desert is a fine sight indeed.

Camp at the mine.

A good start!

Friday, June 26, 2020

Budd Lake

Mary and I traveled to the high country of Yosemite National Park for a hike up to Budd Lake in the Cathedral Range.

We started at the Cathedral Lakes trailhead in the serene Tuolumne Meadows.

At an elevation of about 8850' the small, unmarked trail to Budd Lake and Cathedral Peak, splits east from the Cathedral Lakes trail, which is part of the John Muir Trail.

Mary ascends delightful slabs about a mile above the split.

Higher still views of Unicorn Peak (left) and the Cockscomb (distant right) appear.

We followed the climber's approach trail to Cathedral Peak, missing the faint turnoff to Budd Lake which is at an elevation of around 9520'. We realized our mistake fairly quickly but instead of backtracking we decided to make a cross country loop of it.

Mary cruises along while gazing at stunning Cathedral Peak.

On the cross country route.

Lots of pics of Cathedral. 

At Budd Lake

Mary poses at Budd Lake with Echo Peaks rising behind (far right).

 The Budd Lake trail follows delightful Budd Creek for nearly its entirety.

We made another stop on our way down for the fine views.

Mary heads down the granite path back to the trailhead.

Outstanding day!

We felt like we had the place to ourselves seeing no one until the last hour of our nearly five hour outing. It seemed as though we were a little early in the season for flowers, but not for the mosquitos! The buzzing bloodsuckers weren't bad while moving but were moderately annoying when we stopped for any length of time.

This is a wonderful, moderate hike. Off the beaten track but incredibly scenic.