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Glen Aulin Trip Report

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:07 pm
by Grzldvt
Let me begin by saying this was the trip from hell, to quote a famous Beach Boys song "This was the worst trip I have ever been on."
Started out OK, and I went in to Glen Aulin on Wednesday on the PotHole Dome side. It has not been used that much so it had points where it was difficult to locate the trail. I know it pretty well, but there were moments. Everything is going OK, until I get to the spot just past Little Devil's Postpile and the trail gets a little precarious and very narrow.
My tent bag got caught on a snag, and got ripped open, literally ripped in half, so my tent is out all over the ground. OK so I grab it up get to a safer place, drop the pack and stuff it between my pack and my bladder pack, which is strapped to my pack. I double check the straps on the tent bag and they seem tight holding the rain fly and poles in place. I slowly work cross the area and get to a pretty hefty drop that had me sitting down to get down the drop. I drop down and the rainfly explodes all over the place. Ok, what next? I gather up the rainfly and carry it to a safer place to deal with. Drop my pack, stuff the rainfly in. I put the pack on, and the bungee strips get completely twisted in another snag, and I can't move. It was so tangled it was beyond comprehension. Took me several minutes to get it unhooked. It gets it cleaned up and take about 5 steps and the tent poles explode all over the ground. The knot I tied had come undone in all the excitement.
Then a gust of wind comes along, has either the rainfly or the tent flys open get caught on another snag and puts a rip in it. It was the tent floor
I am extremely frustrated with myself for not checking the poles to see if they are secure. My energy level is dropping rapidly having to deal with all of this and thrashing with the snags.
Now the pack is listing to the left, and causing me back issues. I believe the virus took a lot more out of me physically, than even I knew.
I get to the bridge and have 1.7 to go, never a problem. I do the first big climb and I am done, my legs are shaking, I feel like I am getting altitude sickness. Screw this, I find a place that looks flat off and well hidden from trail. I am past the 4 miles requirement so it is legal. Find a spot, and settled in. My ego wrote checks that my physical being could not cash.
Cooked a small noodle meal but was suffering from a bit of altitude sickness, so I could not finish it.
I am a very low impact camper, so if you went to that spot you would never know I was there.
Thursday AM woke up took my time, hoofed down to the river for water... gotta love the Katadyn Gravity filters. I had 6 liters of water in less than 10 minutes and all I had to do is stand there.
I did a day hike though the swamp beyond Glen Aulin and it was dry. I knew at that point I was not going down to LeConte Falls as I could not trust my legs doing a 10 miler. I have been down there so many times I knew Le Conte would not be that good. I stopped at the first set of Falls and then took my time hiking back.
All is good rested enjoyed the camp, then left this morning(Friday) Coming back the trail was much easier to find. That trail has some nasty climbs and they wiped me out and a very nasty climb had mosquitoes just swarming. All my clothes were Permethrin treated, so even exposed hands and face had a ton of Natrapel that worked quite well.
Moral of the story not all trips are excellent, sometimes they just go south.
In spite of all the excitement in less than 200 yards, it had great moments of being in the Park and enjoying it.

Re: Glen Aulin Trip Report

PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:40 am
by Phil
Hey Steve,

I'm sorry it didn't go too well for you. It's funny how I've come to spare a thought for you every year on what I know is your annual ritual. I guess we can't win 'em all.

Yes, gotta love gravity flows! And I'll tell ya, as much crap as I get about always carrying a higher volume pack, I do get everything inside, so avoid snagging lash-ons. The only thing hanging outside my pack is my extra water bottle for drink mixes.

I know exactly where you lost that use trail. You know, just about anywhere on that first downgrade, you can cut out to your left and hit the GA trail below the bridge, It's actually shaving a corner out of the route, less mosquitoes from the swamp at the end of TM, and surprisingly open and easy going; you're boxed in by trail and/or road, so there's no chance to get really disoriented or in trouble.

Keep feeling better!

Re: Glen Aulin Trip Report

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:58 am
by balzaccom
Glad you were feeling well enough to get out on the trail. And at some point, I want to see a video of your hike in...of course it was a PITA when you lived through it, but I couldn't help laughing at your adventure. We've all been there at one point or another.

Keep hiking

Re: Glen Aulin Trip Report

PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:33 am
by Grzldvt
Thanks, Phil and balzaccomm. Both of you bring a great perspective. I still enjoyed the trip. Phil, normally for just a 3 day trip I take a pack that is just above a daypack, this was a 50 liter pack that the tent did not fit in. Normally it is on top and above the tree snags for some reason I put it on the bottom... Call it brain dead.
Going forward I am looking for a larger pack where everything goes inside. I have a giant pack for multiple days, but it is overkill for a 3 day trip. It is funny, I have done this trip for 20 years and never had a problem. I still don't laugh at this, as my frustration level was incredibly high.
I believe alot of the frustration had to do with my not being in that great of shape this time. I felt it as I crossed that narrow part of the trail. I was just not as steady as I normally am. Usually I have run Big Sur Marathon( a 7 person relay race around Lake Tahoe and in better than excellent shape. Both of those runs were cancelled, and while I did do a couple of fast 7 mile walks, along with many 3-4 mile walks with the dog a month before it simply wasn't enough.

As I said my ego wrote checks my physical could not cash. At 72 years old, I am not as easily ramped up physically as I was at 36 years old. DUUUH :oops:

I am posting all of this to let people know not all goes well, but once in camp I calmed down, relaxed, cleaned up the mess figured out how I was going to pack things and all was good on the way out. The camp site I stumbled across was absolutely great. I think it was years of experience and recognizing the terrain above me that I found a great flat spot for a tent.
Here are the pics/videos I took with my Pixel 2.

Re: Glen Aulin Trip Report

PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:14 am
by balzaccom
I know what you mean about the physical issues. I've always been an athlete, but now that I am pushing 70, I find my legs just feel heavy to me. I am not as nimble, and my sense of balance isn't what it used to be. It doesn't keep me from doing stuff, but the stuff I do is slower and safer than what I used to do...sigh. And I am not sure that any amount of physical conditioning will actually reverse the process!