It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.
Colby Meadow to Sallie Keyes Lakes
Rain and wind hit our tent most of the night. I didn’t sleep well worrying that Evolution Creek was swelling BIG and DEEP due the rain. There was a small break in the storm, we packed up fast, don all our rain and waterproof gear and headed out to the McClure Meadow Ranger Station. We were told that a ranger was stationed there and had information on the best place to cross the upcoming creek. The ranger had just woken up, was friendly and positive, and offered us advice and a Snickers bar. I was happy.
We continued on to Evolution Meadow in the rain. Two pieces of VERY inexpensive gear is working really well for wet and rain. We have a trash compactor bag lining the inside of our packs, a trash compactor bag as a pack cover (just slit one side and slide it on, works perfectly), and surgical rubber gloves over our regular Mountain Hardwear gloves. I am also super glad I packed rain pants for this section of the trail. I have used them in some way every day (even have slept in them). When we reached Evolution Creek it looked deep and it started to snow, A LOT. We all agreed to hold our packs over our heads when crossing. Silly Chili crossed first, of course, with no real trouble except getting cold and wet up to his waist. To me, that was not very reassuring as I am a bit shorter than him. By the time I finished the crossing I was wet to my armpits! Be sure to view Silly Chili’s video below of the event!
We descended and dried off at the intersection of the South Fork San Joaquin River and Goddard Canyon that HAS a bridge. Beautiful bright green aspen groves lined our descent of Goddard Canyon, along with significant and powerful avalanche damage.
As the day progressed, it got colder and darker and as we approached Sallie Keyes Lakes (the camping destination for the night) a full on snow storm hit. And to make matters even more unpleasant there was a sketchy and slippery log crossing right between two of the Sallie Keyes Lakes. Dan crossed effortlessly, but I was not feeling confident and crawled on all fours across. I got partially wet and cold, too cold. I knew I was close to hypothermia. Team Tehachapi really came through to get me warm. This last year I taught along with a co-worker a wilderness survival class for kids. In a matter of 15 minutes, I think our team used the majority of skills the class had offered: dry clothes, fire, warm food, and shelter. So great.
Later the storm cleared briefly to reveal a magnificent sunset.