By: Darrell Lee
Hitting the trail with co-leader Paul Graff leading the first section of the trip, our group of 12 participants and 2 leaders sauntered Into the North Domelands to explore the quiet, serene and peaceful beauty of the area. Our group consisted of WTC instructors & grads, SC leaders. Dirty Rock Suckers, CMC and SCMA climbers anxious to explore this lightly traveled area. For the entire 24-mile trail, we saw a baby rattler, rabbits, and lizards. bear paw·prints but no people. The mosquitoes were absent, as several slept under the stars.
Traveling at a moderate pace, we were constantly stopping to marvel and photograph the wildflowers, climbable rock formations. Swallowtail butterflies, crystal clear streams and green meadows. SCMA member Alois Smrz, accompanied by wife Evelyn, pointed out the numerous rock formations and first ascent climbs he had made many, many years ago. Continuing North, we traveled into parts unknown to all of us and were entranced by incredible rock formations awaiting first ascents. Exciting moments of Saturday included an above the knee Trout Creek crossing which we all successfully negotiated.
We arrived at Woodpecker Meadow around 4:00 p.m. about 13 miles from the Manter Meadow trailhead and found a packers camp with a view of the meadow, spring water, fire/bbq pit complete with grill, cookware and shovel. While most were setting up camp. a discreet few found a stream pool to bathe au natural.
Happy hour was happy, happy, happy! Therese Herzog volunteered to supervise the gourmet garbage bag salad while I prepared the Indonesian warm and spicy peanut dressing. The group was In high spirits (or was that high on spirits) with the help of Sake or Jack Daniels and after a short ritual dance, the salad was blessed and enloyed by all. My potluck contribution was smoked salmon and cucumber sushi hand rolls complete with pickled ginger, sesame seeds. uasabi and soy sauce. Tracy "Sluggo" Sulkln brought Oreo cookies, which evaporated the moment she turned her back. Chocolates and desserts were the majority of the dinner contributions.
A new pagan ritual was born on this trip as Paul Graff fueled the fire with dung pies. While I was boiling water over the dung fire, Paul's stirring of the fire caused dung ashes to contaminate the open kettle water. but undeterred, I made the now infamous dung tea. All participants were coerced into having a sip of the toxic concoction as a rite of passage. Dung Jokes ensucd. Dungland Wilderness. play a game of dungbee… you had to be there.
Sunday morning was warm and clear. One more above the knee stream crossing and 2-3 other creative crossings using logs, leaps and loops got most of us across the streams with dry boots.
Tim Kaliomaa, a '97 WTC grad and Ray Jardine disciple, showed his seamster prowess during our lunch stop with his homemade pack, Gore Windstopper mitts and other items he made.
The crux of this trip was the long continuous uphill section all the way to Sirretta Pass where we stashed our packs to climb Sirretta Peak. The hard to find use trail is a few hundred feet below the pass and not finding it on the ascent of the peak, we bushwhacked it to the summit. While signing the register. we found that one of the trailhead no-shows had signed into the register, apparently not finding the correct meeting point. The summit was windy and cool but a fine view and after numerous photos, we returned to our packs at Sirrctta Pass. We reached our cars before ·4:30 p.m.
Our diverse group also included Vid Walker, Claire Crow, Eileen Ricks, Don Nelson, Jern McDonald, and Alice Tseung.
Snapshots in my memory include watching Eileen, Claire and Nitsy, arms locked together fording Trout Creek with a look of terror that I found entertaining and teetering near the brink of getting soaked: dreams of climbing some of the 500 foot rock domes: Tim's handiwork: the awesome potluck salad: the many dung (one) liners: the dung tea ritual, and the ice cold Grolsh beer after the hike to name just a few.
The trip ended with us gorging ourselves on a great Chinese meal at the Peacock Inn in Kernville.
I was requested by many of the participants to write a report because they. had such a good time on this 25 mile, 5,500’ gain trip' and felt it should be shared with others. Here it is, though it's doubtful I could convey what a great time we all had.
The objective of this trip was not the summit, although we all summitted, but it was the journey we shared together and in the process we made new friends, became a little closer with existing friends, had a lot of laughs and we enjoyed sharing our wilderness experience together.
This was like a trip among old friends.
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