Late summer in wet canyons

…is there anything better?

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A tinge of autumn light in the air…

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…monkeyflower, columbines, orchids, and lobelia making an already strangely lush place even more ridiculously pretty…

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…and some good company.

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Like adding any new piece to backpacking, bringing a baby definitely requires some travel style changes.

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Mostly, this means much more modest distances traveled and lots of stops for feeding.  This means plenty of time to do things I don’t otherwise do, like poke around in every side canyon, do day hikes from a basecamp, and climb up to alcoves. The idea of a 20 mile day feels pretty funny…

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I also bought a tripod, which is pretty cumbersome for how I usually hike, but was a pretty rewarding experience (though I still have a totally unreasonable number of pics to go through for a three night trip).

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We took a BPLer’s advise and got a Vatanai woven wrap, which has been fantastic for warm hiking and works great under a pack when tied on the side.

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We did get turned back on Sunday hiking to maybe the best swim hole on the whole plateau by a pesky modest chockstone that was just a bit higher than last year.  There wasn’t a graceful way to get up with her strapped to me and a pass was too sketchy.  Hard to complain, though…

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We weren’t exactly want for highlights, but a pair of river otters were a treat to see.

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This was the second of these guys on the trip; the first was a monster in the middle of hole-in-the-rock on the drive in.

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We had planned on paddling down to Bishop but it wasn’t looking like we’d have time so stashed our boating gear and maintained our relaxed pace, complete with plenty of coffee, Tecate, and heavy, real food.

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I would have a lot of poison ivy in my yard if it were a little kinder to be around…

 

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I said last year that I’d like to spend a little slower time here, and this trip was that and more.  A best place on earth, for sure.

 

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