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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Jackass, Bull and Monache Meadows - "a cool soak in the river"

 Driving north on US 395 I watched as a massive thunderstorm formed to the east over Barstow.
 After buying fuel in Pearsonville we drove up Nine Mile Canyon through Kennedy Meadows and on to Jackass Meadow.
 We set up camp around 10PM.
 Bosco was nosing around a bush near our camp. My light revealed what caught his attention.
 Dawn at our Jackass Meadow camp.
 We walked down to Jackass Meadow and then over to its eastern side.
 We found this "widowmaker" just waiting to fall.
 On our return to the western side of the meadow we discovered an abandoned lean-to.
 Decided to try and link up a spur off of the Jackass Meadow road with another that I had been on ten years ago near Smith Mountain. The forest service map did not show them connecting but they were less than a mile apart. The road continued and eventually linked with the other road.
 The cabin on Smith Meadow from the connecting road on the western slopes of Smith Mountain. I remember, from a hike ten years ago, that Smith Mountain had a short summit block that required just a bit of climbing.
 Soon the road curved west and we reached the turn for Monache Meadows.
 We parked at the Snake Creek bridge and started hiking toward Bull Meadow.
 Interesting rock formation near the trail.
 Soon the trail gained a little elevation as it snaked through the forest.
 Bosco on the northern end of Bull Meadow.
 We walked out into the widest section of Bull Meadow, sat down and ate lunch.
 After walking most of the meadow we turned north and intersected the Little Dry Meadow trail.
 The sky above us darkened and rain began to fall as we started our hike back to the truck.
 After about an hour we were on the road again.
 Bosco's nose was telling him that he had been here before.
 We crossed the Kern in the late afternoon.
 And drove east then south toward Deer Island.
 We set up camp near the wilderness boundary. The road still heads south but now a person has to walk.
 Bosco and I left our camp behind and hiked toward the summit of Deer Island.
 Looking north at the route we followed.
 As we neared the top the clouds began to break.
Old trees guarding the summit.
 It was just after sunset when we returned to camp.
 Dawn and after breakfast Bosco and I began our hike south to the next destination. The Kern PCT Bridge at mile 64.
 After about two miles of walking Bosco and I reached the bridge.
 The bridge was constructed in 1986 which is why I did not see it back in the early 80's.
 We hiked farther south on the Kern following either the old jeep road or the river.
The track of the old road wound south to mile 63 then crossed to the other side of the river where we lost it. We continued on for about another quarter mile before stopping for lunch.
 After lunch we began our hike back to camp.
 When we reached the bridge Bosco stopped for a cool soak in the river.
 Out in the middle of the meadow there was a small herd of cattle on the trail. As we got closer Bosco drove most of them away. Several were a bit stubborn until Bosco's Cattle Dog instincts kicked in and then their stubbornness quickly wilted.
 Deer Point in the distance told us that we were close to the truck. We packed up camp and prepared to move to our usual campsite.
 Crossing the Kern I stopped to take a photo of the actual river flow. Forgot to place something for scale, so let me tell the reader, that in this photograph the Kern River is three feet wide and three inches in depth.
 Our usual Monache camp.
 The moon was setting as the sun rose for a new morning.
 Time to eat breakfast, pack up camp and move on.
Spotted these deer about a mile from camp.
 The road back to pavement.
We drove over to Blackrock Mountain and started to work our way to a hidden campsite west of Osa Meadow. Had to drag a large piece of fallen tree off the road.
Road clear and open to traffic.
We ran into a wilderness boundary about a mile from our destination.
About a mile north is a very neat campsite nestled among the granite boulders overlooking the North Fork of the Kern and Kern Flat.
But now you have to pack your gear in to the campsite.
We drove back to Blackrock Mountain with the intention of driving an old logging road closer to the summit.
We were stymied by another fallen tree. While clearing this one out of the way I thought it might be a good idea to check ahead for more obstacles.
Another tree across the road about 400 yards ahead.
So we hiked on toward the top of Blackrock Mountain.
The rocky false summit at point 9582 was more impressive than this pile of rocks that marked the actual summit.
On our way back to the truck we found signs of logging many years ago.
Another "widowmaker."
Eventually we were back on the old logging road.
Where we found this old ceramic bowl with a cracked bottom.
Soon we were back at the truck.
And as the sun set we began our drive for home.

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