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Sespe Wilderness Epic Conclusion

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Remember this post about me and a couple buddies getting in trouble while backpacking a couple months ago?

If not, you should really start from the beginning and read all of it first.

Well, the  trip never sat well with me. The fact that we left gear in the wilderness made the trip feel… incomplete. The “we could have” or “we should have” talk came up every once in a while and that made me want to set things right.

So last weekend, we decided to go and get our things back. We decided that we were going to hike back in the wilderness and down the rock slide where we got stuck without water for a couple hours and recover all of our gear. With the impending heat wave, the rescue mission seemed pretty risky as well…but I wanted to finish what I couldn’t finish the first time around.

Here’s a summary of our trip:

August 10:

The plan was to leave San Diego at 7PM and camp out at the trailhead overnight. We actually ended up leaving a little later because some dummy (me) decided to surf a little longer and showed up late. We packed light and hit the road.

Driving up the dirt road past Fillmore

We got to the dirt road around 11:30PM and got to the trailhead at midnight. I stepped out into the warm, humid night air and looked into the sky. You could see the milky way very clearly since it was far from the city lights. After a few seconds of visual enjoyment, I saw the biggest shooting star in my life with the trail lasting for about a full second. This must be a good sign but I needed some sleep. We set the tents up and since the air was 80F, there was no need for sleeping bags.

August 11

We woke up early to beat the sun. We packed a few snacks and lots of water and set out immediately. The air was still a very disgusting 80F and the area was pitch black.

JW’s headlamp, my roommate’s headlamp, and the moon.

It was so pitch black that at the places where the trail split up…we had to guess which path to take and luckily we picked the correct ones. About an hour into the hike we were able to see the surrounding area light up.

The hike into the rock slide are was just over 4 miles. JW and I were really surprised at how different the place looked. Everything had dried up and there weren’t as many trees, branches and plants in the way as we climbed down the boulders but there was still a lot of poison ivy we needed to avoid.

The infamous rock slide area

We climbed down and down a total of 240FT and found our abandoned gear.

We reached the gear at 6:30AM and started packing up as the sun was coming out. Some of the things have been moved around due to animals and there was lots of small holes chewed into some of the bags and sleeping pads.

JW stoked that he got $400 worth of gear back.

The only item that I left was my sleeping pad which was about another 20 feet down and I found it dirty but still usable. Once we were all packed up, we climbed to the top and took a water break.

Me showing you where we came from and how steep the rock slide area is.

We started hiking out. The sun still had not emerged from the mountains yet which was a huge blessing. The temperature was still warm at 82F.

Here are some pictures hiking out:

My roommate watering some plants

The last mile stretch was all facing the sun and uphill for a gain of 400FT. The burn felt good but the views were better:

We made it back!

JW enjoying a victory beer… at 9AM

As we walked up to the car, it felt good to know that we accomplished more in a few hours than what most people would do all day. We loaded up the car and rinsed down with vinegar (poison ivy) and water and were very happy to be finished just as the sun started warming up the area.

The satisfaction levels were at a very high level.


We took off for east LA for some dim sum deliciousness for brunch.

Mmm. Dim Sum. Delicious.

Drive home…through the horrible traffic of Orange County.


Still in Traffic

Still in Traffic!

Finally got home.

The weather was still hot and the ocean temp was 70 so I went for an evening surf session with my buddy who was able to get a few shots of me testing out the new board.


What a great productive weekend and I got my sleeping pad back!


Written by jonewantsm3

August 15, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in Adventures

One Response

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  1. […] my version of the story. JL has more pictures and chronicled the adventure far better than I did. He even has […]

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