Friday, August 31, 2018

Flashback Friday:

 Flashback Friday is a monthly meme that takes place on the last Friday of the month.
The idea is to give a little more love to a post you’ve published on your blog before.  Maybe you just love it, maybe it’s appropriate for now, or maybe it just didn’t get the attention it deserved when you first published it.

Thanks to Michael d’Agostino, who started it all, there is a solution – join Flashback Friday! And thanks to Jemima Pett, who has kept it going--visit her blog to add your name to the list!

Just join in whenever you like, repost one of your own blog posts, including any copyright notices on text or media, on the last Friday of the month.

I went way back for this one, and found a nice little tale of Bovrell the Bold. Those who have read Halitor the Hero will know that he was Halitor's apprentice master, teaching him the art of Heroing. He may, just *may* have been a poor choice.

Dead Man’s Revenge

Bovrell the Bold looked furtively about him before ducking through the low doorway next to the sign, “Maya Kinten, things discovered.” He’d heard about this woman who had the power to find just about anything. He wanted something found, and couldn’t admit to just anyone that he’d lost it.

He blinked a moment in the dim interior. All interiors in Kargor were dim, but this one seemed to have an extra layer of opacity. His chain mail clinked as he moved away from the door, just in case.

“You have come for my services, Bovrell the Bold?” The voice was not, as he’d expected, old and cracked. His eyes adjusted to the dim light, and saw that the woman behind the table was heavily veiled, in the accepted tradition of those who practiced the mystical arts. His impression, however, was that she was neither young nor old. Ageless? He cleared his throat.

“I have lost some things, and need help in finding them.”

“I see. They are important to you?”

“Yes, very.”

Maya Kinten studied her hands. He’d expected she would gaze into a crystal, or a mirror, or something, but she looked up and said, “That is only somewhat true.”

Bovrell felt a chill. He didn’t really believe in the powers of the occult seekers of Kargor, even if he had come looking for one. But this woman… he pushed his doubts aside.

“I have lost my apprentice, and a Fair Maiden I rescued. You know the rules.”

She gazed unblinkingly at him this time, before answering. “I know the rules. You have no sorrow for the loss of the apprentice. You left him behind to pay your bills with his own sweat. You regret the princess, but I sense you also left her intentionally.”

“Perhaps, but I need them back now.” Bovrell tried his most winning smile on the woman. It worked on all the young women. All except maybe that pesky girl in Carthor, but she wasn’t a princess anyway. The one he’d lost was in Duria, and she’d been pretty and compliant and he’d been very sorry to have to leave in such a hurry.

The Seeker appeared unmoved by the winning smile. Bovrell shifted position, the better to display his well-muscled torso, and tried again. “I have sought you, Mistress Kinten, because I have been told that you are the best. I can pay you well.” He crossed his fingers behind his back, since he had, as usual, less than enough money for his next meal. The life of a roving Hero can be hard. Unless he keeps his hold on the princesses, and Bovrell had a surprisingly poor record there.

Now the woman took up a mirror, and studied it as though seeing more than her veil in its depths. Bovrell hated seeing any woman covered up, unless she was old and ugly. Already he itched for his next quest—or conquest.

Maya Kinten stiffened, and bent to look more closely at the mirror. “So much blood,” she murmured.

Bovrell shifted uneasily. He’d prefer to just find the girl and get on his way, without raking up uncomfortable bits of his history.

She spoke again. “You must tell me of the pool of blood, and the one who lies in it.” Her voice carried less of mystical seduction and more of command, and he felt himself unable to refuse.

“He held the princess against her will in a grim, dark castle. I am a Hero. I had to kill him, and rescue her. That is all. I was the better swordsman.”

She gave him a look so knowing, what he could see of the eyes over the veil, that he felt certain she knew the truth. That he had hidden in the curtains and tripped the man while he was carrying a tray of kitchen knives back from the smith who had just sharpened them. The man had fallen, and cut his own throat in the falling. “I slew him and freed the princess, and returned her to her own people.”

“And then?” Maya Kinten prompted gently.

“And then,” Bovrell found himself saying, “ill luck began to dog my footsteps. I was forced to ride from village to village, ever seeking something I could not name. I visited the tiniest of Durian villages, and found myself accepting an apprentice. He was the most useless of lads, and I do not deny that I left him when I could bear it no longer.”

“And the princess? You left her even sooner.”

“I returned her to her people.”

“You have left so much unsaid.”

“I left her with her people,” he found himself saying, “and they threatened to kill me. They said she had been given rightfully to the man in the grim castle, and that my action had brought a curse upon them and me.”

“And now,” said Maya Kinten, “you wish to find her and them, and see what must be done to remove the curse.”

“I haven’t been able to find a single princess since leaving Loria! And every one I ever did find turned out to have been promised in marriage to another, thus overriding the rule of The Hero’s Guide to Battles, Rescues, and the Slaying of Monsters that the Hero shall marry the princess he rescues.”

The woman pushed aside her veils, and Bovrell saw that she was the princess he had rescued long ago, at the beginning of his troubles.

“You!” he exclaimed.

“Yes. I am the princess you ‘rescued’ by slaying my lover. I am the one who has made certain that you will never again have success in your endeavors.”

He felt himself frozen to the spot. “And now you will slay me as the dead man’s revenge?” he managed to croak.

“Oh, no,” she smiled. “I shall leave you to continue as you have begun. You shall spend the rest of your life as a Hero, riding gallantly about, but never quite succeeding. Oh,” she added as an afterthought, “and you might want to know that your hopeless apprentice has done well for himself. Quite well,” she repeated with a smile that stabbed Bovrell’s icy heart.


©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2018
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Photo Wednesday: Kaweah Basin, Part IV

Okay, that doesn't alliterate, but I wanted to finish up my trip report and still participate in Flashback Friday this week, so here it is!

When last seen, we were high up along Picket Creek, working our way down out of the Kaweah Basin. We pick up our story on Day 7.

Another day, another gorgeous morning in the mountains! That's pretty much how it went, and usually does if you're willing to get up early enough. We enjoyed a view up the valley to Picket Guard Peak, ate our breakfast, and began what we expected to be a moderately long day.

The creek expanded and contracted in a maze of rocks and water that almost rose to the rank of "lake," all of it evidence of the glaciers that passed through long ago.
Walking the dragon's back.
Not far downstream we came on a lake in about a perfect setting. We kind of wished we'd gone a little farther the day before.

From the far rim of the lake, we could see where we needed to go.
Yup, need to go way back down there, and then up the Kern River to the left.
We spent an hour picking our way down the slopes, never too steep to be easily hiked, as long as you chose the right route between the rock bands and cliffy bits. We hit bottom well upstream from our crossing 4 days before, and waded the creek.
We've just come down that slope in the background.
Our trail back to the Kern River took us through the one really great flower garden of the trip before climbing past our 3rd camp and back onto the dry slopes.
Indian Paintbrush
Leopard lily
Just at the edge of the dry descent, a beautiful old juniper tree.
When we got back to Junction Meadows at the Kern River crossing, we had the moment that changed our trip from 9 nights to 8. We'd left a day's food in the bear box there, bagged and labeled to show we'd come back for it, but when we returned... the box was empty. (We learned later that you aren't supposed to cache food in the boxes, but the ranger assured us she hadn't removed it. We'll never know who did, or why, but I have chosen to believe that someone was short of food and saw it as a small personal miracle).

We discussed the situation, and decided that although there were shorter routes out, we would stick with our plan, and simply add extra miles to the next 2 days' hikes. In the end, we did something like 11 miles that day. From here, however, my photos become scarce. On our way back up the Kern River, I got overconfident on the crossing of Tyndall Creek, slipped off a rock (I blame it on legs shorter than my husband's, though it may have more to do with a certain lack of grace), and landed in water up to my right hip. This flooded the camera bag a wear around my waist--and I'd been in too much of a hurry, or too over-confident, to bag my camera properly. So from here, the photos are either his, or ones I took with his camera.

Day 8

We'd pulled into camp the latest of any day so far, and yet somehow still managed to just have time to bathe before the rain (and hail) started! Not much drying that night, but in the morning, the sun lit up the grassy lake where we'd chosen to stop, and we took the time to dry some gear.

Not far beyond camp, we broke out of the trees and found ourselves on a divide with fantastic views. Not sure we'd have wanted to hike another mile the previous night, but there would have been some spectacular campsites if we had!
Definitely the Sierra
We soon reached and crossed the John Muir Trail, choosing to cut a corner of the trails by heading cross-country up the open, flat valley back toward Shepherd Pass. After we picked up the trail, we stopped for a water and snack break along an unnamed stream, celebrating 5 days without seeing any other people.
Looking back with some longing at the heart of the Sierra
We lunched at the top of the pass, then began the drop to Anvil Camp, just out of sight in the photo below, in the trees. The snowfield that had been intimidating 7 days before was almost completely melted out along the trail now.

Day 9

The final day of a trip is always just a bit of... ending. The hike was still substantial (8.5 miles), but it's funny how we manage to knock off the last day's mileage so fast, with an eye on lunch. What we did find on the way out was that the storms had obviously dumped a lot on the area (we learned after we got out that various roads up and down the eastern Sierra were washed out and/or slid on; fortunately our trailhead wasn't one of them!). We crossed a number of spots like this that weren't there on the way up.
Geology in action.
Made it to the van before noon!
9 days worth of hat hair!
By the time we had showered and driven back to Bishop, it was a pretty late lunch, but we enjoyed every bite of non-health-food at the Bishop Burger Barn.
A trip like that doesn't end at the trailhead, or even the Burger Barn. We were still 8 hours from home, so we bought dinner fixings and headed out. The Ferguson Fire near Yosemite had forced evacuation of the Yosemite Valley that day (as we learned when we turned on the radio), so we had to scratch our intention to drive back via the Park--the smoke was thick, and we expected the traffic might be thicker. Instead, we drove over Sonora Pass (as it turned out, only a few days before that area developed its own fire problems, but we had clean air and surprisingly little traffic. We camped just down the west side, and were home by noon the next day, driving across the Central Valley in 100-degree temperatures, which were only relieved a couple of miles from home when we drove back into the fog.
The giant fat-and-salt feast after the hike is offset by the giant fruit salad dinner.
Thanks for riding along on our trip to the Kaweah Basin, and for your patience with all the photos and the blather :)  I hope to get back to posting flash fiction soon, though we are now driving across the country, so I will have photos to keep sharing.

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2018
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Saturday, August 25, 2018



Fiction in 50 is a regular feature in the last week of every month and I invite any interested composers of mini-narrative to join in!
fiction in 50   image Fiction in 50 NEW BUTTON

What is #Fi50? In the words of founder Bruce Gargoyle, "Fiction in 50: think of it as the anti-NaNoWriMo experience!" Pack a beginning, middle and end of story into 50 words or less (bonus points for hitting exactly 50 words).

The rules for participation are simple:

1. Create a piece of fictional writing in 50 words or less, ideally using the prompt as title or theme or inspiration.
That’s it!  But for those who wish to challenge themselves further, here’s an additional rule:

2. Post your piece of flash fiction on your blog or (for those poor blog-less souls) add it as a comment on the Ninja Librarian’s post for everyone to enjoy. 
And for those thrill-seekers who really like to go the extra mile (ie: perfectionists):

3. Add the nifty little picture above to your post (credit for which goes entirely to ideflex over at or create your own Fi50 meme pic….
and 4. Link back here so others can jump on the mini-fic bandwagon.

This month's prompt is 
The ____ is calling, and I must go.
(Yes, I borrowed most of that from John Muir, and it does rather reflect what's been on my mind! But you can take it wherever you want).   

Resistance is Futile

I’m not heeding your call. Do you hear me? I. Am. Not. Listening.

Do I think my refusal to listen will be heard? It’s the only resistance I can think of.
How did I end up here, in front of this cabinet?

You can’t fight the call of the cake.


Just had to defy expectations a little! Though if it's a chocolate cake, that's not a surprising outcome for me at all. 

If you enjoyed that, please take a stab at your own 50 words, and link back here to join the fun!

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2018
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!


Friday, August 24, 2018

Photo Friday: The Heart of the Kaweah (Part III)

When last seen, we had made our way into the Kaweah Basin, though not by too far, and camped near the upper edge of the trees. Let us resume our journey.

Day 5

Just like all the mornings: perfect.
By this stage of the trip we were in a pretty regular routine of crashing between 9:30 and 10 (whenever we could no longer focus on our books), and getting up about 5:30, in time for sunrise. This was a morning to hurry back to our reflecting pond for more photos in the first magical morning light.
There weren't tons of wildflowers, but I loved the ones we had.
Once we were done with the morning light and our breakfast, we broke camp for our shortest pack-hauling day of the trip. It probably wasn't much over a mile up to the lakes below those snowfields, and a pretty, easy walk to get there. 
Glaciers clearly shaped the basin at some point. The granite was smoothed and polished, making a great surface for us to do the Pilates exercises we did morning and night.
We had more plans, but made sure our camp was set before dayhiking. This was the true alpine, with no hint of a tree, and only a few hardy flowers. Some people would find it too barren, but look at the view!
Trying to find the flattest spot at 11,300'.
Our goal for the day was our high point: Pyra-Queen Col, at 12,840'. This was listed in the Roper Guide to Peaks and Passes as a Class 2 climb, and would have been part of our route if we had done the cross-Sierra trip. The basic route was easy: head to the top of the cirque and find the notch. As it turned out, the correct notch wasn't the obvious one you can see just to the left of the lowest point, but a tinier nick in the cliffs farther to the left. Since we weren't going on through, we probably could have gone to either one, but chose to follow the clear boot-beaten trail to the col.
Pretty easy, though the boulder-hopping gets old.
The snowfields actually were the easiest walking, even going up. You can see that we felt some urgency, watching those clouds gather. We didn't want to be on the ridge when the inevitable storms hit!

And... we made it to the pass in time for lunch. Even with the storms coming, we needed to take time for that. The actual pass proved to be a tiny notch, maybe 10 feet wide, and cutting through the rocks at an oblique angle, limiting the views to the west. Even more importantly, the west side proved to be very steep, and covered with loose and slippery rocks. We were glad not to be descending it with full packs.
We got our photos, and as the first drops of rain started, we headed down considerably faster than we'd gone up. We got some sprinkles, and some sore knees, but made it to camp not only before the storms hit, but with time for a quick dip in the lake. But when the storms did hit, they were ferocious. Thunder echoed among the peaks until it felt constant, though in fact I don't think any of the lightning was all that close to us. Then we got hit by the solid rain, for the second time. It's nice to be in the tent, wrapped in warm clothes, reading a book while the elements rage outside.
Happy campers. It's amazing how good a bath makes you feel, even when it's just a quick dip in a cold lake.
As usual, the storms passed and left calm, though in this case the clouds didn't break up until the sun went down (my meteorologist husband explains that the t-storms are solar-powered, and when the sun goes down, the convection that drives them stops).
Mammatus clouds reflected in the lake on the edge of the world.

Day 6

A little more breeze and a few cloud puffs in the morning suggest a change in the weather, but it's a beautiful morning, and we are able to dry the tent and things that got damp the previous night. We called it Tent Henge. After the climb, we had an easy day planned, so took our time and enjoyed the morning right where we were. No need to hurry out of camp when camp looks like this!

Eventually we began to move, and hiked back down the basin before traversing the north slope to a low saddle, the divide between the Kaweah Basin and the Picket Creek basin. Our reading suggested that it might be easier to descend from that area, and in any case we were in favor of seeing some new terrain.
We enjoyed lunch at the saddle, absorbing our last views of the Kaweah Basin.
Even though we were early into camp, we had to race again to beat the storms, and once again got bathed just in time. The hail chased us into the tent--pea-sized hail won't damage anything, but it does hurt when it hits you!

After the storm, the light is better.

Once again, we were able to come out after the storms (boom! booooooom!) had passed and explore a bit, and once again the late afternoon was completely calm, so that reflections were a keynote of the trip.

I'll stop with the last light of the day, and finish up next week! There are a lot of miles left, and 2 more nights, but not as many photos.

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2018
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

On the Road Again...

The Ninja Librarian is busy driving across the country, having finished pulling up roots. I have scheduled posts for most of my usual dates, but am skipping some to stretch the available posts until I'm a bit settled and able to post again. I'll do my best to respond to comments and visit my visitors, but it may be a challenge, so please don't give up on me! I am also chipping away at the WEP list, and hope to read everyone's stories before the next posting date!

Riding off into the sunset. Well, actually into the sunrise, since we're headed east.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Middle Grade Monday: Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

I stumbled on one of the books in this trio--not really a series, but 3 books that go together--and had to read them all. Here's my take on the whole set of them.

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Title: Stolen Child
Publication info: Scholastic Canada, 2010 (with a note on Goodreads saying originally published 2000). 154 pages. Scholastic (US) appears to be releasing an edition in 2019, changing the title to Stolen Girl.

Publisher's Blurb:
Stolen from her family by the Nazis, Nadia is a young girl who tries to make sense of her confusing memories and haunting dreams. Bit by bit she starts to uncover the truth — that the German family she grew up with, the woman who calls herself Nadia's mother, are not who they say they are. Beyond her privileged German childhood, Nadia unearths memories of a woman singing her a lullaby, while the taste of gingersnap cookies brings her back to a strangely familiar, yet unknown, past. Piece by piece, Nadia comes to realize who her real family was. But where are they now? What became of them? And what is her real name?
This story of a Lebensborn girl--a child kidnapped for her "Aryan looks" by the Nazis in their frenzy to build a master race--reveals one child's fierce determination to uncover her past against incredible odds.

Title: Making Bombs for Hitler
Publication Info: Scholastic Canada, 2012 (US edition in 2017; this time they didn't change the title, just the cover). 186 pages

Publisher's Blurb:
In Stolen Child, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch introduced readers to Larissa, a victim of Hitler’s largely unknown Lebensborn program. In this companion novel, readers will learn the fate of Lida, her sister, who was also kidnapped by the Germans and forced into slave labour — an Ostarbeiter.

In addition to her other tasks, Lida's small hands make her the perfect candidate to handle delicate munitions work, so she is sent to a factory that makes bombs. The gruelling work and conditions leave her severely malnourished and emotionally traumatized, but overriding all of this is her concern and determination to find out what happened to her vulnerable younger sister.

With rumours of the Allies turning the tide in the war, Lida and her friends conspire to sabotage the bombs to help block the Nazis’ war effort. When her work camp is finally liberated, she is able to begin her search to learn the fate of her sister.

In this exceptional novel Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch delivers a powerful story of hope and courage in the face of incredible odds. Title: The War Below (published first in Canada as Underground Soldier
Publication info: Canadian edition 2014, Scholastic Canada. US Edition, 2018, Scholastic Books. 256 pages.

Publisher's Blurb:
The Nazis took Luka from his home in Ukraine and forced him into a labor camp. Now, Luka has smuggled himself out -- even though he left behind his dearest friend, Lida. Someday, he vows, he'll find her again.

But first, he must survive.

Racing through the woods and mountains, Luka evades capture by both Nazis and Soviet agents. Though he finds some allies, he never knows who to trust. As Luka makes difficult choices in order to survive, desperate rescues and guerilla raids put him in the line of fire. Can he persevere long enough to find Lida again or make it back home where his father must be waiting for him?

My Review:
This isn't a standard sort of trilogy, because it's not a linear series, but 3 books about 3 characters whose lives overlap during the war. I got hold of them all out of the order of publication, which doesn't really matter, though reading Stolen Child first with no idea of the story (as given away in the blurbs) might make it a more exciting read--where the reader doesn't know any more than Nadia does about her past. 

Although Stolen Girl is very suitable for younger readers (8 and up), the other two take place in the heart of the war and might be better suited for 11 or 12 and up. Not that the author gets really graphic about what goes on, but... consider that Luka's story begins with him crawling out from a pile of dead bodies in the back of a truck, and judge from there. They are war stories about children (Luka's age seems fluid, but he's 12 or 13 when he meets Lida, though he seems much older. She is only 9, and also seems much older) who survive by doing and enduring things that seem to this protected reader to be virtually impossible. The author does admit that few children so young were taken in the slave programs, and still fewer were kept alive to try to do the work demanded, so she may have been stretching reality a little. But we do know that young children did and endured extraordinary things to survive the war. 

The stories are simply written and fast-moving, not so much from crisis to crisis (though that is more true for Luka's story) but just with the progress and the insights each character gains into his or her  circumstances. After all, the children don't have any idea at first what has happened or why, or to what degree all civilized rules have been suspended.

I appreciated putting all three books together and getting more of the whole story. And it was enlightening, to say the least, to learn about what happened to the Ukrainians during and--worse still--after the war. As with so much children's historical fiction, the books are well-researched and based on actual events we never read of in the history books. 

My Recommendation: 
These are excellent books, well-written and suitable for ages 11 or 12 and up. Adults will find the stories just as gripping, and we can all learn some history.

FTC Disclosure: I checked all three books out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."   

Sunday, August 19, 2018

#Fi50 Heads-up!

Fiction in 50 is a regular feature in the last week of every month and I invite any interested composers of mini-narrative to join in!
fiction in 50   image Fiction in 50 NEW BUTTON

What is #Fi50? In the words of founder Bruce Gargoyle, "Fiction in 50: think of it as the anti-NaNoWriMo experience!" Pack a beginning, middle and end of story into 50 words or less (bonus points for hitting exactly 50 words).

The rules for participation are simple:

1. Create a piece of fictional writing in 50 words or less, ideally using the prompt as title or theme or inspiration.
That’s it!  But for those who wish to challenge themselves further, here’s an additional rule:

2. Post your piece of flash fiction on your blog or (for those poor blog-less souls) add it as a comment on the Ninja Librarian’s post for everyone to enjoy. 
And for those thrill-seekers who really like to go the extra mile (ie: perfectionists):

3. Add the nifty little picture above to your post (credit for which goes entirely to ideflex over at or create your own Fi50 meme pic….
and 4. Link back here so others can jump on the mini-fic bandwagon.
At this time, I haven't been able to find a source for a free linky-list, so it's just comments. I recommend posting your basic blog link on my Fi50 page, with the day you post your Fi50 story. You can also add a link in the comments on my story, posted the next-to-last Sunday of the month. Feel free to Tweet using the #Fi50, though I'll not lie: the Ninja Librarian is a lousy tweeter.

Posts can go up any time during the last week of the month (or any other time – we’re not fussy! My post will go up on the last Sunday of the month, unless that's too near the end.

You’re welcome to pick your own topics or go along with the monthly prompt.

The August prompt is:
The ___ is/are Calling, and I Must Go (you fill in the blank)

Note: I will continue to post Fiction in 50 posts through the end of the year, but will be taking a hiatus in the first half of 2019, so get your stories in now! 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Photo Friday: Into the Kaweah Basin

Part II: Shepherd Pass to the mid-Kaweah Basin

Last week, I shared the beginning of our 9-day backpacking trip into the Kaweah Basin in Sequoia NP. This week, I'll take us into the middle of the trip, and the middle of the basin. Give me a couple more weeks to get through the trip, because the scenery was amazing, and it's hard to pick just a few photos to share here.

Day 2

We left off in the middle of the second day of the trip, as we entered the National Park at 12,000' Shepherd Pass.
Descending from the pass. It's a broad, very gently sloping valley, in sharp contrast to the east side of the pass.
Still dropping from the pass. We have to descend to the confluence of the deep valleys in the center of the photo, then climb up the valley to the right, and up to the basin below the dark peaks.

We found more than one old cabin, probably reminders that before the area was a National Park, miners and sheep herders wandered everywhere. This cabin had a new door with new hinges, and we wondered if the Park Service used it in some way. We initially camped next to the cabin, as it was starting to rain fairly heavily. It was a poor site, with no views and no breeze, meaning plenty of mosquitoes.

After the rain ended, we went for a little walk and found this spot only a couple of minutes away. With views and an open field and few mosquitoes (at least until after sundown), we decided it was worth the effort of moving our camp.

Day 3

Our camp was located on the unmaintained Tyndall Creek trail, a direct route between the PCT/John Muir Trails and the Kern River. In the morning we continued the descent. The trail was pretty easy to follow, but the final descent was definitely steep.
We have to drop to the bottom of the valley, then keep dropping before we can start climbing again.
The Kern River trail wasn't exactly a heavily-used route, and we had to hunt a bit to find a safe (or at least dry) crossing of Tyndall Creek (of which more in a future installment).
The Spouse makes good use of his longer legs and agility.
By late morning we hit our low point (aside from the trailhead), about 8000' at Junction Meadows on the Kern River. At this point it's a beautiful, clear, slow-moving river, though not far upstream it was raging in the canyon far below the trail.
Collecting water. We have a good climb ahead of us, around 1500' before we have hopes of a camp.
Before beginning the hot climb up the Kern-Kaweah River we had to cross the Kern. Fortunately, the trail goes through an avalanche zone where the river is braided into at least 3 streams, and though changing our shoes was minor hassle, the water felt great on our feet and didn't wet us above the knees.
Note the jumbled broken trees from last winter's avalanches.
We went too far looking for the perfect spot, and had to backtrack a quarter mile to find a perch with room for our tent above "Rockslide Lake" in the narrow canyon. In the morning we'll cross the stream and make our way up a side canyon into the Kaweah Basin. Meanwhile, I always enjoy a room with a view.

An important part of our afternoon ritual on arriving in camp is the bath and laundry. Unless air and water are both icy, we go for full immersion whenever possible.
This water was just far enough from the snowfields to be more refreshing than painful, though we didn't linger.

Day 4: Into the Basin

The next morning we began the climb up the unnamed creek that drains the Kaweah Basin (we called it Kaweah Creek, but it is not to be confused with the Kaweah River, which runs on the west side of the range, or the Kern-Kaweah River, which ran down from Colby Pass and which we crossed to being our climb).
The way looked daunting from below, but as promised, very easy route-finding kept it a Class II hike--no hands required.
It only took an hour or so to reach the first lake on the way into the basin, but we knew we wouldn't really be there until we crossed the rim by the waterfall.
Studying the options. We ended up in the willows, which wasn't brilliant.
Topped out the waterfall, and we knew we had arrived. We still had a fair way to go to get to the heart of the basin, but this spot was so perfect we had to stop and absorb it for a while.
I was absorbing a snack as well as the view, while the occasional mosquito absorbed some of me.
By the time we reached the general area where we wanted to stop, it was getting urgent to make camp. The light afternoon rains of the previous two days were clearly going to give way to a more serious thunderstorm. We managed to get our baths just in time to dive into the tent as the storm hit, the first of 4 consecutive afternoons where we got hailed on.
Typical camp. Tent, clothesline, a bucket of water. And, in this case, my boots drying on a rock, because I'm not as agile as Dave is.
The author making a happy home.
After the storm, as it did every afternoon, the sun came out and the sky cleared (though each day it cleared later than the one before, so we didn't always get this lovely light). A little exploration revealed a tarn perfect for evening reflections.
On the left, Kaweah Peak, and in the middle, I believe it is Red Kaweah.
Next week, we'll delve into the heart of the Basin, climb to 12,800', and then begin the return journey.

Just to bend your brain a bit.

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2018
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