I do apologize for taking July "off", but I've got three good excuses for doing so: 1.) My house is undergoing a remodel to about 45% of the livable space, 2.) Everybody but me at my workplace has taken a vacation this month, and 3.) it's just been too damn hot to be anywhere back there. But I get a little nutty if too much time goes by without mountain time. To pacify the incipient insanity I decided on a late breakfast at Pine Mountain Lodge.
Starting at 0700 from the Sespe River trailhead I blazed a good run up Piedra Blanca Creek Canyon, arriving at the forested campsite by 0930. I spent some time wandering a short distance up the adjacent creek while nibbling on my breakfast. This vale is one of those little Los Padres gems I'm always seeking out. The creek is a foot deep channel bordered by tree roots and electric green moss. Overhead a pair of squirrels chattered at each other, hummingbirds chittered and doves cooed. As the sweat cooled I took a nice 20 minutes being a silent observer, simply present in the moment.
A bit later I meandered south to "Real" Pine Mountain Lodge, the site where the original camp was located. This can be found by heading back down the trail from PML until reaching a large USFS sign and hanging a right (W) for a few minutes. Real PML rests in a forested bowl surrounded on all sides by rugged formations of weathered sandstone. The campsite here is infinitely nicer and more scenic than the latter camp at the junction of the Gene Marshall and Cedar Creek trails, however there is seldom any water here. In the rocks around the camp are many small caverns and bear hollows, indeed, the whole area is crawling with bear sign. I enjoyed scrambling around the area for a while before crawling under a large overhang for a nice rest in the shade. I stretched out on the cool stone and spent some time feeling, hearing, and watching the breeze swish through the cedars and jeffrey pine. I enjoyed a simple, gorgeous day.
At noon I turned away from the forest and descended back into Piedra Blanca Canyon. I jogged about 50% of the way out and returned to the truck by 2pm. A nice day out was just the prescription. I'm going to focus on some plans I've got in the pipe, but for now I've got these photos to share.
|Rolling over the hill, the last few steps up to PML.|
|"Real" PML Camp|