Saturday, January 07, 2017

Hot Springs Trail ~ Part 6 ~ Lake Isabella to the Kern River Region

Having diverged from the Pacific Crest Trail, we followed Piute Mountain Road to the first bend where a small dirt road proceeded west across an unlisted water source. Zoner says this is 28S40 but the next bigger road that this smaller dirt road ran into was signed with this designation.

At the next junction, veer right taking you to an old homestead cabin with another unlisted water source nearby. The next issue we had was that in our guidebook Zoner correctly describes returning to Piute Mountain Road, but his line on his map shows you taking 34E43. So just be aware that there is some confusion in this section.

Mule Deer crossed our paths aand Junco's, mountain chickadees, Stellar Jays, and Olive Sided Flycatchers cheered us onward towards our approach to Lake Isabella.

The views of the High Sierra's were amazing and could not be fully translated into pictures. It looked as if there was a lot of snow lingering in the High Backcountry.

In our Cross Country descent into Hobo Campground, we were once again stuck by literally thousands of dried grass seed heads.  It took hours to pull them all out, and I often spent time walking with socks in my hands pulling out such pokey intrusions.

We first stopped at Hobo Campground where the campground host generously loaded us up with his personal stash of fresh water.  We then hoofed it out to the packed Remington Hot Springs.  The design of these springs on the Kern River was great.  However, the atmosphere was a bit too rowdy for our tastes.  As you can see in the picture, some guy was flipping me off. Beer and liqueur was flowing as much as the springs water was. One guy appeared to want to fall with each step he took.  One group of teenagers, who were smoking pot, (not that it matters) planned to stay all night taking mushrooms. So this situation was a bit too much for us hikers who were about to embark into the High Sierra's. 

However, the next day we hiked back to Miracle Hot Springs which the forest service blew up not too long ago. There used to be a fancy resort here in the early days attracting the Hollywood Crowd. To our surprise and pleasure, no one was here to soak in the improvised pools along the edge of the river. It was Perfect for us.

We spent the night at the Lake Isabella Motel which was also filled with PCT hikers. The plan was to hike light until we reached McNally's where we would hitch back to Lake Isabella where we would buy 116 miles worth of food to get us to Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon National Park.

Lake Isabella was a treat. Osprey's fished while pied grebes free dived for lunch. Ground Squirrels scurried by our feet.

There was a guy floating in the lake with his wave runner who apparently ran out of gas and was in the process of being rescued by the Sheriff's department.

At Kernville, we were invited to stay on route at the bunk-home of a large group of river rafting guides.

When we hitched back to Lake Isabella to resupply, we couch-surfed with Nancy and John whom we had great discussion with on the meaning of Life. We also enjoyed some great home made meals.

John drove us back to McNally's, but only after first having picked up our permits for the Sierra's in Kernville at the local Forest Service Station. Zoner says you can get your park permits here.... however, the lady in charge said they got in trouble for doing that for someone a few years earlier.  She would only give us a permit to hike through the Wilderness areas in Sequoia National Forest. Interestingly, several days later, Zoner said he filled out his own permit and that they signed it doing the exact opposite of what they said to us.  So we are not sure as to what is truly legitimate here.

The trail up the Kern River was beautiful to say the least.

There were new shrubs and trees and flowers and birds to take in.

We even found this cool little hummingbird on its nest next to this mine entrance. 

At dusk, we noticed some small animals walking towards us.  OMG.. it's a skunk with four tiny babies with all their tails standing and erect and tall.  The mom charged us with the babies weaving in and around the mother as they aggressively made their presence known. Stacey went hysterically giggling ahead of the skunk and the skunk then sprayed lightly between the two of us.  I couldn't get by her to catch up with Stacey, so I bushwhacked down wide and around to avoid wearing one of nature's fanciest colognes.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad to see you getting all this magic on your hike Bernie. Regarding that permit, you have to specifically ask for an Interagency Pass, they're free and self-issued in Kernville. Although you don't need the permit until Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP, but if you wait till there, it's $10. Also, an official HST GPS file is currently being developed and will be free for next year's hikers!


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