Mules & Smoke: Last Day (High Sierra) 11-Sep-2020

Overnight, the wind shifted yet again and the morning dawned not nearly as smoky as it had been the day before. Not completely clear but clear enough for some views of scenery on the way out. After breakfast, we headed directly down 7.1 miles to the pick-up point at the Robinson Creek Trailhead at Twin Lakes. All the other hikers, apparently being more spry, did a detour (uphill!) to Peeler Lake. While they were tromping around in the woods, we got to sit in chairs, drink cold beer, and play catch with Jethro the Wonder Dog. Seemed like a fair trade at the end of an especially adventurous and dramatic trip. 🙂

The question arises: Given all the drama, would we do a trip like this again? Probably yes. Despite the smoke and the other travails, it was an enjoyable trip with an excellent group of other hikers and very personable packers. While hiking with mules is more strenuous than rafting, it does allow you to visit remote, backcountry areas for several days without having to carry a backpack laden with camping gear and food. So we might try a similar trip with another pack station or with this one – we’ll have to see what happens next year. If we were to go with Rock Creek again – and they don’t change their no sat phone and no filtered water (we had chlorine tabs) policies, we’ll be sure to come completely equipped to handle these tasks on our own.

Dawn from our camp at Crown Lake (Hunewill Peak in the distance)
Sunrise on Slide Mountain
Down the Robinson Creek Trail
Robinson Lakes
Robinson Lakes
There are a lot of switchbacks on this trail
Crossing Robinson Creek
Reaching the bottom of the valley
Looking south across Barney Lake toward Mule Pass
Barney Lake
A meadow along the trail between Barney and Twin Lakes
The Forest Service closed this forest (and many others) the day before we came out
“De-rigging” the mules at the trailhead
The LovedOne and Jethro supervise the de-rigging
And then the rest of the group arrived from Peeler Lake – and it was over
From Crown Lake to the “take-out” at Twin Lakes
And one of the mules that carried the weight for all of us 😀
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