Kevin and 6 of his friends went out into the GTW earlier this month. His goal was to get away and find some solitude. Here is what he has to report.
On the weekend of Oct 5th-7th six friends and I hiked from Lewis Camp Trail-head to Willow Springs and back. Our original plan was to make it to little Kern Lake but the trail was so rough in the section marked in red that we did not make it. It looked like the trail had not been maintained in a long time. There had been a forest fire in the not so distance past. While much of the ground cover has recovered there were many many trees blocking the trail. Some were easy to step over as per example in the photo, but some would take you 50+ feet off the trail to get around. It made for a tough day and we did not have the energy to push on to Little Kern Lake. We decided to take Trout Meadow on the way back and it was much more traveled.
That small section was not able to ruin our trip though. We stayed at the old Livestock Camp at Willow Springs on Friday night. It had not rained in quite a while but we were still able to filter water at Willow Meadow Springs. We were greeted by six free range horses, who were not shy at all. It was dry that night but dipped into the low 30’s. We took Trout Meadows to meet up at the Little Kern River again. We tried our luck at fishing but barely got even a nibble. It didn’t matter because the area was just so beautiful. It rained on us on Sat night while we camped near the bridge at Little Kern River and woke up to a beautiful morning. We later found out that it had snowed at the trail-head while it rained on us. The rain packed down all the loose dirt on the trail from the pack animals and made the hike out just a little easier.
My goal for the hike was to not see another soul and we only saw a pack mule with rider and two hikers in the last mile on the way out on Sunday morning, so I would say mission accomplished. We did see the horses, a few deer, and a few snakes (one gopher snake?, and two young rattlers).
Thanks for the report Kevin. Glad to hear you and your friends enjoyed it despite a change in your plans.