Mar 18, 2008 at 5:16 pm #1227888
Overview: 20 mile loop around The Kern River, starting from The Johnsondale Bridge located approx. 20 miles north of Kernville. 2 nights, 2 days. Winter weather expected.
Route: About 4 miles along the eastside of The Kern, then up to the Rincon Trail, down to Durrwood Camp, across The Kern, up to Peppermint Creek, and then back down the Westside of The Kern.
This was a last minute trip that was a replacement for another loop planned in the higher mountains directly to the east of The Kern. My friend Tony (BPL member: Wopster) and I were planning on doing a short trip into some snow conditions in the Kennedy Meadows Area, using a trailhead just a few miles from The Johnsondale Bridge. The weather forecast just kept getting worse, and the fun winter trip started to seem more uncomfortable and dangerous. By Thursday the expected lows at the elevation we would be at were down to -1 deg, and a 70% chance of snow over the weekend. We opted to take another route that only reached about 5500 to 6000 ft elevation.
We got some great winter weather with snow flurries and sunshine on Friday afternoon, rain Friday night, snow and hail Saturday, and some more snow/hail/rain mix on Sunday.
We hiked to the junction of The trail which takes you up to the Rincon Trail Friday evening and camped near the river. Saturday we hiked up to the Rincon Trail and followed it to the junction where an old trail takes you back down to the river at Durrwood Camp.
The trail to Durrwood Camp, from The Rincon Trail was almost inexistent. I don’t think anyone has used this section of trail for many years.
When we arrived at the cable crossing, we found the car to be tied off on the opposite side of the river. For those of you who are not familiar with The Kern River, it is wide, deep, and swift, especially on this section. It is very difficult to wade across.
After debating our options, I volunteered to swim across the river untie the cart and take it back across, where Tony would have a fire waiting for me inside the old cabin. I swam across the river just about 100 yards upstream from the cable car, where the water was much more tame. I tied a dry sack around my waist, which I filled with my insulated clothing, balaclava, etc., to put on when I got to the other side. Everything worked out as planned, and we ate lunch and hung out in the cabin until I warmed back up from my arctic swim. We then crossed the river in the cable car with our packs.
From there it was up Peppermint creek to camp for the night. Below is Peppermint falls.
Sunday we headed back towards our starting point, on another hard to follow trail. I’m really glad I brought the GPS on this trip. If we didn’t pay attention for 1 minute, the trail would just disappear on us.
Although this trip was not our original plan, it turned out to be a lot of fun.
Thanks for reading-
ShawnMar 18, 2008 at 7:07 pm #1424813
Jeff CadorinBPL Member
@jeffcadorinLocale: paper beats rock
Looks like alot of fun. Funny how those things are always tied off on the other side. You guys do any fishing?Mar 18, 2008 at 7:28 pm #1424816
@bjamesdLocale: South Coast of BC
What shelter are you using and how did you like it?Mar 19, 2008 at 9:05 am #1424861
no fishing this time. The season is closed for all except the first 4 miles of our trip, which our easily day hiked from the bridge.Mar 19, 2008 at 9:07 am #1424862
Balck Diamond Megalight. It makes a great 4 season shelter, although i couldn't see using it with 4 people as it claims to be a 4 person shelter.Mar 19, 2008 at 10:07 am #1424874
Casey BowdenBPL Member
@clbowdenLocale: Berkeley Hills
BPL Staff or original poster:
Please fix the formatting of the photos so we don't need to scroll left to right to read the text.
Please?!Mar 19, 2008 at 12:40 pm #1424902
Sweet report. I take it you didn't feel like treating the cable like a slackline? :-)Mar 19, 2008 at 9:27 pm #1424972
Thanks for posting this trip. I have been eyeballing the Rincon trail for years but have never gotten around to doing it. I couldn’t follow the trail description. Can you list each leg of the trip.? That swim must have been something. I guess you could sing in the soprano section after that dip.
Conditions look perfect. I did Kennedy Mdws to Monanche Mdws last April and it was bone dry. I mean no water except in the Kern but it looks this year is a different story. Great photos! Thanks again.
JohnMar 20, 2008 at 9:12 am #1424995
No way!Mar 20, 2008 at 9:22 am #1424997
We only did a few miles on the Rincon Trail. I'll PM you my trail map.
I did a trip to Monache last November, and it was dry then too.
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