Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Muir's March: Day 5

Wednesday, September 16

We took our time getting up. After breakfast we hiked 3 miles thru the canyon to Pate Valley. The canyon is striking on this stretch, resembling parts of Yosemite Valley. Pete pointed out that the south side of the canyon was wet and evergreen alpine due to lack of direct sun light while the north side was desert. It occurred to me that these were places that most people can never get to. You can't get there without climbing 4000 ft vertical The reservoir and the lack of trails makes this area inaccessible to all but the most hearty or committed.

Eden and Patrick thought that this was all for the good, making the canyon exclusive, but I think this place belongs to all of us. We stopped at a lovely swimming pool; Patrick, Eden and I dove from a safe ledge and everyone swam.

Pate Valley is a lovely meadow with ferns and wild flowers. Who knew? We struck camp across the rover from a group of Conservation Corp youth who had spent the last five months fixing the trail. They had dynamited one 100 ton rock. They were leaving the next morning.

Theresa, Eden, Patrick and I made a dash for the start of the reservoir. The first 2 miles were on the trail to White Wolf along the south side of the river, then hopping on rocks and crossing the river until we reached a point where the walls were narrow and we would have needed to stay in the river. We turned back so that Eden could make dinner on time, and crossed over a rock chute to a boulder creek then to the remains of an old trail covered in brambles and poison oak. Back to the trail we quickly returned to camp and tried to wash out any poison. Luckily, nobody was injured.

After dinner we had a good discussion about the history of Hetch Hetchy, our plans and how the hikers can help out. Then to bed to rise early for the long climb the next day.

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