Well I made it back from my three-day camping trip all in one piece but a
little worse for wear.
It was such a fantastic trip that I just had to write some of it
The trip was only a six mile ride high up into the mountains but the
last mile or so is very steep as you gain over a 1,000 feet reaching a altitude of well
over 6,000 feet. The starting point is at 3,500 feet. A short ways in we go
over a rock formation. Gobi thought this would be a fun place to take a
shortcut and tried climbing up a rock incline that was way too steep for
him or any horse for that matter. He made it about 10 feet up the rock face, went down
on his front knees and slid down to the bottom never loosing his
balance. Then he decided maybe it would be a better idea to follow the horses.
At least until we got around this spot, then it would be much more fun to lead the way again.
As we're heading up I could see that the top of the mountains were
buried in clouds, which was a good sign because I was worried about
Gobi overheating on this warm summer's day, so the cooler it got the better it would be for him.
Along this very scenic trail we pass by two other camps, the first one is Piedra Blanca
which has a beautiful creek flowing through it, and if you look around you are
sure to find some ancient Indian rock paintings hidden in the rocky formations under a
most beautiful canopy of oaks. The next camp in is Twin Forks where two creeks join together.
It is a rocky and heavily wooded camp area. A short ways up the creek on the left side there are
some good swimming holes and more ancient Indian rock paintings.
As we got near the
top we were covered in fog. The trial had been very steep up to this point so
I had been hiking and leading my horse. We were all pretty tuckered out by now and stopped
for a break, I laid down on the side of the trial and dozed off. When
I awoke I was chilled to the bone, I zipped my jacket up and put on
some warm gloves. Gobi was still laying down so I got beside him with
my knees under his belly for the warmth. I would have wrapped my arms around one of his humps for the added warmth
but the upper half was all wet from the thick fog. After about five minutes my
legs had warmed up but the rest of me was still chilled,
we got underway again and were at the top in no time.
The camp we were headed to is a spectacular place called Pine Mountain Lodge, but some other
hikers were already there so we headed on to the next camp called
Three Mile camp.
The fog was so thick that I could only see about 40 to 60 feet
at times, looking up into the pine trees I could not see their
tops. We made it into camp but I was still chilled to the bone and quickly went
about making a warm fire even before unpacking the animals,
I figured that I would let them cool down before removing there saddles.
I got camp set up and put on some warm clothing, about then the fog cleared away
and the stars were shining bright in the clear mountain air.
It also warmed up and I had to strip off some of my clothing, I had finally wormed up.
There was not much grass here at Three Mile camp so I high lined
my horse Creek so he could forage some, gave them all some alfalfa pellets
and let Sespe and Gobi run free for the night. During
the night Gobi and Sespe took turns sticking their heads in my tent.
I would wake up seeing a horse or camel looking me in the face but
all went well.
The next morning the weather was simply gorgeous with the sun shinning it's early
morning rays of light through the pine trees along with the crisp fresh smell of pine in the air.
I stoked up the fire and the blue smoke hung low in the valley around camp
adding to the beauty of this fabulous place.
Gobi and I decided to do a little early morning exploring checking out the gorgeous
scenery that surrounded us as far as the eye could see.
It would be a shame to pass up the grand splendor of such sights to behold all
around you before breaking camp and heading back down to Pine Mountain Lodge.
The ride back to Pine Mountain Lodge is breathtaking, ridding along the mountain
tops through pine trees in the early morning as the sun slowly rises into the sky.
The shadows ever changing over the rock formations as the morning wares on.
Pine Mountain Lodge is one of the most beautiful places around,
but very hard to get to. We made it there by midmorning and the other
campers were gone. I set up camp and did some exploring; of course
Gobi was following me around so maybe I should say we did some
exploring. At and around camp there are some of the most beautiful
meadows, tall pine trees, gorgeous rock formations and outcroppings.
We spent most most of the day just lounging around camp taking it easy,
I would go over and sit with Gobi using him as a back rest or lay down on my back using
one of his front legs as a head rest while stairing up at the deep blue sky watching the
top of the pines sway in the gentle breeze as puffy clouds slowly rolled by.
Sitting back at camp enjoying the warmth of the gentle sun shining down through the
trees while enjoying the overwhelming spiritual beauty of such a fantastic place,
I dozed off and was awakened to a noise off to my right, looking over to I saw Gobi
had dragged my sleeping bag off and was playing with it.
I quickly went over and got it back scolding him. Luckily no damage was done and
I only had to shake off a little bit of dirt.
My sleeping bag had been laying out behind camp on a large rock in the sun to dry the end
of it off from the previous night's fog.
That evening with the amber glow of the sun setting, I must have
taken over 50 pictures of Gobi with the stunning views all around us.
As the darkness closed in around us we settled into camp and I got a small fire going,
keeping it small because Gobi does not fear fire and will lay down next to it.
Sitting in front of the fire gazing up through the pine trees, the stars were out
in there full beauty as only can be seen from high up in the mountains.
As the hours wore on into the late night a full moon started to rise
above the tree tops lighting up our surroundings.
Looking around I could see the rays of moonlight glistering off the pine trees,
filtering through creating fantastic shadows around camp bringing on a magic of its own.
It's not hard to imagine the ancient Indians doing their sacred bear dance around
a roaring fire on a magical night like this.
It had been a long and beautiful day so I let the fire slowly died away, it was time
to retire for the night anyway.
With the coming of a gorgeous new morning we went out for a hike around camp checking
out some small caves and more Indian rock paintings.
At one point the full moon was centered between two large
rock outcroppings just above camp, it was such a gorgeous site I just stood there
admiring the sheer beauty of it all.
Later that morning I turned Sespe loose, she and Gobi were having a blast running around.
I would see Sespe go running through the meadow into the pines and then Gobi following,
it's quite a sight and a lot of fun watching a young horse and camel running through
the meadows with such fun and joy in there harts.
Gobi decided it was breakfast time and started roaming around
finding all sorts of things to eat,
mostly eating pine needles, manzanita, scrub oak, and a tough mountain grass.
I fed them the last of the alfalfa pellets. We did some more riding around and
exploring some of the most fantastic scenery anywhere to be found.
But then it was time to leave our beautiful little camp with a sadness in our hearts.
We broke camp and started
headed back down the mountain, the trail is very steep and covered
with sharp rocks, drop offs, slides, brush and just in extremely poor
condition. On the way in I hadn't realize just how bad it was with all of
the fog surrounding us. I was worried about Gobi's pads, we were
heading back home and the animals were going at a faster pace than I
would have preferred. I have read somewhere that a camel's soft feet
will not kick up any dust, I can tell you right now that's not true,
I was eating dust half the way back down the mountain.
As we headed down the trail the wind was whistling through the tree tops,
the sky was a deep dark blue with scattered puffy clouds
flowing by overhead; it was so fantastic you could not ask for any
better weather conditions. We made it to the lower part of the
trail and the going got a lot easier, the scenery changes from Rock
formations and pine trees to gentle flowing creek's with some
spectacular foliage, ferns growing all over and vines hanging out of
the trees. Each time we crossed a creek the horses would stop for a
drink, Gobi would just walk on by us and keep going, I think he likes
showing off to the horses how much better he is.
When we got back to the trailhead, I tied up Creek to the trailer
but Gobi slowly kept on going.
I didn't think much of it because I
knew he would come back but what I didn't know there was a large
group of kids behind a couple of vans that Gobi was going over to
visit with them, and visit he did. They all loved him, patting him, hugging
him, had their pictures taken with him. What of beautiful way to
start a camping trip, meet a camel and get your picture taken with
him. After twenty minutes of visiting I took Gobi back to the stock
trailer, tide him up and unpacked the animals. Checking Gobi's feet
there were some notches near the back of this pads that I do not
remember seeing a few days earlier but nothing unusual for he's had
the same type of notches there numerous times before, just not quit so deep. Well I loaded
them up, the horses first and Gobi was upset that he had to wait,
then we were headed home.
Roger and Gobi