Sierra National Forest
DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5
(Day 5 of 5) There was some smoke in the night, but not much. There still is not much in the air as the morning comes. My procrastination about getting up is interrupted by a double bladed helicopter heading south from Florence Lake somewhere. Twice as loud as the average helicopter. I figure it is something to do with the firefighting effort, but it is actually picking up some of the last Search and Rescue teams after finding their missing hiker battered and hungry, but otherwise in good shape.
I thought I would just make my own way last night, but now I want to find the junction. Before starting, there are a couple points it seems prudent to put into the GPS to help navigate. One is for a big bend in the trail and one for the lake itself. Heading downward, there is a blaze and another and behind me another one. Blazes were rare yesterday. I saw about three and one was a newer single rectangle by someone with a hatchet and not a lot of experience with blazes. Today they are all over. I must have camped within 50 feet of the Hot Springs Pass Trail, the one I had meant to come up along. I follow it down until something looks vaguely like a trail in my direction. It wanders and eventually I just work my way downward toward the stream below finding a nice campsite and flowing water. Up on the far bank is something that looks a lot more like a trail including a few more blazes.
|The little stream coming into Boulder Creek. Rest assured, there is an obvious trail up on the other side of it.|
This would have been a very fine place to camp last night after all. I nearly fall in crossing on a log that is unexpectedly slick. Too many logs that get a lot of feet can lead to bad judgements when crossing something that few or none have crossed. Heading down toward the junction just to see yields nothing. The trail passes below the confluence rather than above as shown on my map. Boulder Creek has great flow here. I can spot no indication of the Hot Springs Pass Trail heading down or up although I know it is there going up. The Thompson Lake Trail is easy enough to follow at this point. It mostly satisfies my curiosity, but is not getting me where I want to go, so I turn back toward the lake.
|There are plenty of bad spots like this very old downed log across the trail and the encroaching pines, but the Thompson Lake Trail can be followed.|