Waking up to Snow in Little Round Valley

General Palm Springs area.

Waking up to Snow in Little Round Valley

Postby Sally » Mon May 02, 2016 3:48 pm

Well, the original plan was to do a 3 day, 2 night exploratory hike with my hiking sisters Ellen and Marilyn. We were going to hike to Mt. St. Ellen, explore a bit before making camp, and see how many peaks we could summit the next day, and hike back out on day 3. As luck would have it, a storm was supposed to move in on Wednesday night, our first night out. Ellen's shoulder was acting up, and Marilyn doesn't like hiking in foul weather. I had already taken a day off work and secured a permit for two nights in Little Round Valley. So...I decided to go it alone, minus the x-country peak-bagging part.

I packed enough gear, clothing, and food for a blizzard. I also brought my new Helinox camp chair. I was pleased to find my pack load was only 30 pounds including food but not water. Then I started adding "little things" I thought would come in handy. I didn't weigh my pack again, but I must have added too much because the pack sure seemed heavier!

I started out at the Deer Springs trailhead at 6:30. It was cool but sunny. I encountered several PCT hikers along the way. Also, there were 3 or 4 large downed trees along the trail. I climbed over one, walked around another, and on another I hiked around on snow on the right side and then attempted to climb over it. I threw one leg over so I was straddling the trunk, then shoved off with the other leg to get over. I guess I shove off too hard because I made it over the log and then some. The inertia of my heavy pack tossed me onto the ground, face down. I was laughing out loud at myself because it must have looked quite comical. THEN...I tried to get up, but I couldn't because I had slid partially under the log and it had me pinned hopelessly down. I got a bit panicky thinking I was going to be stuck over night and die of hypothermia in the coming snowstorm. They would find my body when the snow thawed. After I caught my breath I unbuckled my hip belt and sternum strap and was able to extract myself. Whew! I did have my whistle in an accessible place, but my Spot was in a pocket on the back of my pack. Lesson learned, figure out a way to attach Spot where I can reach it.

I arrived at Little Round Valley around 12:30, pretty much spent. I would eat lunch and decide whether to make camp and continue on to San Jacinto Peak before dinner while the weather was nice. Or maybe I should hike back down to Strawberry Junction and camp there to avoid a possibly miserable stormy night in the high country. Maybe I should just plain hike all the way out! I decided to make camp. I pulled out my new camp chair and sat in it. That did it! I was so contented that I decided to stay put and just enjoy the serenity, rather than bag San J.

As I sat in my chair the storm rolled in rapidly. In a half hour the sky went from blue to grey. I made dinner and dove into my tent. I slept well, warm and toasty, stirring occasionally and peering out my window to see if it was snowing, but I could not tell in the darkness. There were some stiff bursts of wind, but nothing like the 55 mph gale that had been predicted.

Finally dawn broke, and I unzipped the vestibule on my tent to find nearly an inch of snow had fallen overnight. The valley was socked in with fog and it was really cold. It wasn't hard to make the decision to not bag San J. I also decided to take advantage of a break in the weather and break down camp and hike out a day early. Otherwise I would have probably been stuck in my tent all day, and I did not bring enough reading material, entertainment, or Scotch to do that!

The hike out was lovely despite the low visibility. The eerie silence enhanced the beauty of crystaline snow-covered branches, pine-needles, and leaves. I wished the many PCT'rs I passed good luck and was happy that I could go home and have the "4 B's" (beer, burger, bath, and bed.)

It took me hours to dry out, clean, and put away my gear, but all the while, I was thinking, "hmmm, what will my next adventure be?"
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Re: Waking up to Snow in Little Round Valley

Postby zippetydude » Mon May 02, 2016 6:38 pm

Awesome post Sally! I'm glad it turned out to be such a good trip, especially considering all the complicating factors. That getting wedged under a tree incident just goes to show that there's almost no limit to how many ways things can go wrong in the wilderness. I'm especially glad that portion of the trip ended well. I only wish someone had happened along at the same time and taken a picture right before they pulled you out! :wink:

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Re: Waking up to Snow in Little Round Valley

Postby Sally » Mon May 02, 2016 9:40 pm

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Re: Waking up to Snow in Little Round Valley

Postby Hikin_Jim » Mon May 02, 2016 9:58 pm

Nice photos, Sally. Definitely an interesting week to be in the back country.

HJ

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Re: Waking up to Snow in Little Round Valley

Postby zippetydude » Tue May 03, 2016 4:08 am

Sally, the pictures say it all. You are my hero. I had thought about asking about pics but figured foggy pics of snow = white haze. Instead, your pics tell a wonderful story. I can just picture the future...on a dark and windy night your grandchildren will be telling their children stories about their "Mysterious Great Grandmother Sally who used to go on crazy adventures that no one else had the guts to go try"...and then you'll suddenly POP in the door and say, "Let's go you little adventurers! Come with me into the unknown!" God knows what will happen next, but it will be totally new and exciting, and you will have infected yet another generation with what CS Lewis called a "good infection"...an undeniable love of something that you cannot explain, that you are not in charge of, and that you cannot control, but that you love all the same. Again, awesome post. Keep rockin the wilderness Sally!

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Re: Waking up to Snow in Little Round Valley

Postby zippetydude » Tue May 03, 2016 4:21 am

HJ, if that is a pic of your recent adventures, then it is sorely lacking in that there is no shot of your co-adventurer/daughter/beautiful girl/Joyce! Snow and tents are all well and good, but as my mom once told me, a picture only tells a story if there is a picture of someone you care about in it. There are exceptions, as the many shots on this board illustrate, but still, my question is, did you do a solo outing like Sally the Adventurer or was this a dad and daughter event? Either way, how was the outing?

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Re: Waking up to Snow in Little Round Valley

Postby Sally » Tue May 03, 2016 8:28 am

Thank you Zip! I certainly did feel as though I was walking into the unknown. When I crawled into my tent for the night I was figuring the fly would be flapping wildly in the wind, keeping me awake, and my 3 season tent would collapse under the weight of the snow! I did stake the tent down very well and in the morning when I went to pull the stakes out they were so firmly frozen into the dirt I had a tough time pulling them out! But the literal icing on the cake was waking up to a snowy wonderland.

HJ, where did you have your snowy adventure?
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Re: Waking up to Snow in Little Round Valley

Postby jfr » Tue May 03, 2016 6:24 pm

Image
I call this "Knick-knack Rock" because I once found it with knick-knacks placed in the holes. It usually has pine cones in the holes


I think I like your name for it better than the one Vicki and I came up with: Pig Rock

We first met this boulder while coming downhill on the trail from LRV, and it sure reminded us of a piggy bank from that angle.

Image


Anyway: Great trip report! I've woken up in a tent with fresh snow more than once, and it's always been a magical experience. And your photos prove it!

That cloudy atmosphere sure looks COLD to me, so I think that I'll wait a bit longer before I try camping up at that elevation. Brrrr....
My (collected) trip reports: http://hikingtales.com/
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Re: Waking up to Snow in Little Round Valley

Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue May 03, 2016 7:21 pm

zippetydude wrote:HJ, if that is a pic of your recent adventures, then it is sorely lacking in that there is no shot of your co-adventurer/daughter/beautiful girl/Joyce! Snow and tents are all well and good, but as my mom once told me, a picture only tells a story if there is a picture of someone you care about in it. There are exceptions, as the many shots on this board illustrate, but still, my question is, did you do a solo outing like Sally the Adventurer or was this a dad and daughter event? Either way, how was the outing?

z

This was a solo, Zip. I did about 30 miles, give or take, with a lot of extended off trail hiking. It was also down in the 20's, possibly the teens at night. No way am I taking Joyce on something like that.

It was tiring but rewarding, and I got into some areas I hadn't been to in a while that I had wanted to see. I'm always kind of monitoring conditions in general and water conditions in particular.

The water report isn't terribly good. A lot of places that I would normally expect a lot of water had very little. For example, this little guy is normally a perennial, but this year, he's not even a seasonal. Dry in April! :(
Image

There were a couple of notable exceptions though. This little burble for example acts like "drought? What drought?"
Image

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Re: Waking up to Snow in Little Round Valley

Postby guest » Wed May 04, 2016 10:34 am

Hi Sally,

I attempted to PM you, but no luck, (as it's not directly related to your post.

Always enjoy your posts, this last one reminds me how, many times, when we go ahead in less than ideal conditions, (and when alone), can be those times were remember & look back on with gusto!
I noticed you were able to post a photo link to Picasa Web. I've been using Picasa for years, have hundreds of folders, but now am preparing for the discontinuing of this program by Google.
I've been using Picasa for years, (w/ hundreds of albums), and was bummed to hear Google with discontinue the program.
I'm not having any luck now, once I edit in Picasa, uploading to Picasa Web Albums. Did you have any recent issues?
I'd like to contiue using this old way as long as possible, but have began trails on SumgMug & a few eiditing programs.

Thanks, maybe see you on the trail sometime,

Scott 2
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