Sespe Wilderness Part I
Over Memorial Day weekend, I took a trip out to the Sespe Wilderness with two other guys and my dog Morgan. We planned for three days backpacking along Alder Creek down through Sespe Creek and out the south end finishing at Tar Creek. Thirty miles in three days which 70% of the journey had no trail and we had to find our own way. The route we took was infamously called, “The Loop” and not a lot of people do it.
Our day started at around 4AM or 5AM (I forgot), but I went to sleep at 1AM which was not good idea. I slept so late because I was doing last second planning and packing for myself, the two other guys and my dog. I had to make sure we had enough food to eat and labeling our portions and making sure my pack was not too heavy.
My buddy JW picked us up and we headed out early in the morning. I was completely stoked for the trip and to be spending time with my dog for the entire weekend. JW brought his friend A who enjoyed stuff like this too.
We parked at Dough Flats (whether or not it was permitted to park there is a different story…) and headed out in the mid-morning. It was such a beautiful first day with few clouds and cool weather.
The first part of the hike was on a path with mostly level ground and rolling hills. We powered through it quickly and just after noon we got to the place where we had to descend into the Alder Creek valley. When we got to the bottom, we had our first encounter with a rattler when JW almost stepped on it. He flipped out and fell and scrambled back. I probably would’ve shrieked like a woman, but we were all surprised it didn’t rattle when we approached.
A picture of me becoming one with mother nature…
Rattlesnake resting spot
Hello Mr Rattlesnake.
JW crept back to take a picture of the 4-5ft snake. It started rattling so we backed off and let it crawled away. We continued on a couple minutes later.
We reached Alder Creek just after 1pm. We decided to rest for lunch and rehydrate ourselves. Lunch was just the assortment of trail mix and salami and stuff.
Fact: Morgan is definitely the cutest dog in the world.
After a ten minute break, we continued on to our destination of some hot springs. We had to climb up over the valley and down the other side.
We hiked for a couple of hours and realized we reached the edge of our map. The hot springs was just down the river, but I could not remember if it was 2 or 3… or maybe 4 more miles to go. We decided to find a good spot along the river to camp as the sun would be setting soon and we were all exhausted from the first day.
I remember being slightly cautious as we entered the Sespe corridor because while I am very accustomed to hiking in mountain lion infested areas, this area was also the residence of black bears and we ran across some tracks on our way down to the creek. But whatever, my mind was more focused on being hungry and setting up camp so I could eat!
We found a spot along the inside bend of the river. The water was shallow and slow at this area and we found a open area to set up camp. Me and A started finding logs and JW hacked away with his new machete (which was extremely useful on this trip). I started a fire and A babysat the fire until the water started boiling.
Once camp was set, I fed Morgan and then she went inside to crash. It was the first time she was hiking with a pack and she really did a great job on the first day (10-11 miles). I pulled out our first dinner which was farfalle pasta with sun-dried tomatoes with basil. One of the funnest parts of backpacking is planning the meals before the trip because you know what you will be looking forward to at the end of the day.
Overall, a great first day. We were all suffering as we wore Vibrams and had barely any protection from the elements of the wilderness (ie. spike-y things). Vibrams are great for day hikes, but we really should have worn our boots for this trip. I think we would have saved a bunch of time as well because boots would have allowed for us to hike at a quicker pace.
As I called it a night, I remember thanking God right before I slept for the opportunity to spend time being immersed in his creation. The views were amazing, the air was refreshing and definitely a lot less stressful than being at the beach with 23948204 people who just make it crappy to park and go surfing at the beach on your typical Memorial Day weekend every year.
I was exhausted and I fell asleep almost instantly.