Little Walker Valley
May 7 - 12, 2005

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Of course, I was in back taking the photo of Betty, "Cricket" (the wrangler from the pack station), and Ikon.  What incredible scenery.  "Cricket" was an Emergency Medical Technician but decided this was the life for him.  He worked at Kennedy Meadows where there were three Lawrence's.  To avoid confusion, they nicknamed him "Cricket."
After completing our ride, Ikon was still ready for more.  As you can see, he loved to swim across the streams and splash in the flooded fields.
Here's the trip.  We started at the Leavitt Pack Station at the top of the loop.  Then proceeded South crossing a few streams.  The main river was too deep and swift to safely cross, especially as we didn't yet know Ikon's reaction or ability to swim.  (The week before Cricket's dog  has gotten trapped under a log in the swift running water and Cricket had to jump in and rescue him.)  We then looped clockwise along the valley bank and returned.  Total trip was a little over an hour and 3.25 miles.  (Download the pdf for a cleaner map.)
There was still plenty of day left after the horseback ride, so we drove into Bridgeport.  The sky looked forbidding and at times we hit rain.  This made us wonder what it was like back at camp.  Clearly the cows didn't care if it rained!

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When we returned to camp, it was nice and dry still.  Here's the river about 3 miles downstream from our campsite.
If you haven't looked at any of the images - this one you have to see!  Make sure you click on it and read the motto and license plate on the back of the truck.  (These guys were getting the toilet ready for the summer crowd.  It turned out that the campsites had opened the day we arrived and the toilet vaults were filled to the top.)
Friday we took a hike from our campsite up the trail.  It was a 6.5 mile round trip with a smooth elevation gain of about 900 feet.   (Download the pdf for a cleaner map.)
While hiking, Ikon decided to cool off.  So he just laid down in the muddy path.
We met Gary and his son Robert as we neared our turn around point.  They were camping near us and offered us their 6 freshly-caught trout.  That was an offer we couldn't refuse, especially as we decided it was getting too late to reach the lake to fish.
The upper part of this photo was taken at 2:36 PM as we continued our hike.  Run-off from snow thaw made the meadow boggy, forcing us to cut to the higher ground on the right.  The weather was changing so we turned around and headed back to camp.  The lower part of the photo was taken at 3:31 PM.  It looks like it started to snow in the mountains.
Here's a beautiful tree we passed on the way up and had to photograph on the way back.  It's also a rare photo of Ray.

We got back to camp, had a delicious trout dinner and retired to our tent around 9:30 PM.  (There's not much to do once it gets dark and cold.)  We planned to leave for Yosemite Lakes campground in the morning.  It's 5 miles outside the West entrance to Yosemite

Saturday we packed up and decided to try a 4-wheel drive back road to Sonora Pass.  We didn't know how far we could go or if the snow had been cleared.  With our GPS and maps, we took off.  Click the picture for a larger view or download this pdf for a cleaner map.
We drove through the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (MCMWTC) and started our journey.  Along the way, we stopped to get snow for our food cooler and to let Ikon play.  He quickly learned that you can eat snow as he took bite after bite.
After traveling 7.3 miles and climbing 2,600 feet, we came to this snow blocking the road at 9,100 feet.  Ray walked on it and decided that the truck would probably start sliding off the road if we continued.  Alas - we had to turn back and use Hwy 108 to cross Sonora Pass.  It was just as well as this road's exit to the pass, 4.3 miles later, was completely buried under snow!
We set up camp at Yosemite Lakes.  Sunday we attended church services in Groveland.  That evening Betty decided to fish, caught two trout, and was working on her third.  Here she is pulling her lure out.  Five minutes later, while jumping off the bank, she caught her foot and fell.  Persistent, in spite of her injuries, she caught that third trout then returning to camp to find her ankle swollen and other knee clicking.  Not good!  We broke camp and drove home.
Monday morning, her podiatrist confirmed she'd cracked a bone in her ankle and put her in a walking cast. 

Copyright Protege Marketing 1998 - Revised 05 Aug 2005