Monday, November 7, 2011

Chorro Grande Trail to Reyes Peak, aborted. 11/05/2011

Last Friday SoCal got it's first taste of the coming winter. A trough of arctic air blew through with some disorganized precipitation leaving the high country coated in a rime of frost. On a very chilly Saturday morning, in the pre-dawn, Cliff Griffiths and I found ourselves crunching up the relentless uphill of the Chorro Grande trail. We aimed to do the 20 mile round trip to Reyes Peak. It wasn't to be, for a couple reasons, but I had a great morning regardless.

Above: Cold start. Cold trail.

It was cold, cold hiking. We blazed right up to Chorro Springs, our longest stop being no more than a couple minutes. As we banged out the steep miles I noticed that Cliff was starting to lag a bit. He was breathing a little hard and didn't look like he was having all that much fun. When we reached Chorro Grande Springs, Cliff admitted that he wasn't feeling real hot, and that his throat was scratchy. His wife has been sick for a few days so it was pretty obvious that he'd gotten typhoid or scarlet fever or something. Cliff hated to say it, but I could tell he wasn't up for much more.

We took a nice break in Chorro spring's sheltered dell. A hundred feet above our heads we could see frosted trees being blown about by a persistent forty mile per hour wind. We sat on a snowy stump next to the spring, having brunch. The muffled roar of the wind blasting the Pine Mtn ridge, just 2-300ft higher than where we sat, put the rest of the day in perspective. Even if Cliff had been feeling good, the constant icy gale would have cut us to ribbons. So it was just as well that weren't going up into that hell.
Above: Cliff grinding out the steep.
The temperature at the springs was in the high twenties and after a while the cold started to seep into our bones and it was time to roll back downhill. I was already thankful that we were headed out. Too damn cold for a rational person, which of course, I am not. But still...
Above: Frosted Pines above our heads.
Below: Chorro's spring trickles from under this giant boulder.
Below: Pine Mountain Ridge

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