Buckeye Creek, Eastern Sierra on the 4th of July


Sep 30, 2014
Each year we try to get in a backpacking trip over this four-day weekend, knowing that the conditions are never going to be great. It's always too early, the high country has too much snow, and the creeks are roaring. And this year that was putting it mildly.

Still, we had a plan. By driving over recently opened Sonora Pass, and then hiking up the relatively low elevation valley of Buckeye Creek, we hoped to explore a bit of the Hoover Wilderness that we hadn't seen before. And we had hopes of making up over the pass into Yosemite.

That didn't happen.

The trail crosses Buckeye Creek a couple of times going up the valley, and the first time the water was over our waist, and moving pretty fast. We chickened out. Instead, we decided to see how far we could get by hiking up the south side without a trail. We even hoped that we might make it to where the trail crossed back.

That didn't happen either. After a couple of miles, we were bushwhacking through a dense thicket of aspen trees that was no fun at all, and we couldn't see the end of it. So we called a halt, took stock of where we were, and decided to head back down to the last nice campsite we'd seen. Which is what we did.

And the next day, with our progress still blocked by high water, we headed back to the trailhead and drove back to our cabin above Sonora...where we spend a couple of luxurious days relaxing, barbecuing, and living a life of leisure.

But we really did enjoy Buckeye Creek. We saw more swallowtail butterflies than we've ever seen in our lives, as well as a lot of other butterflies. The flowers were blooming everywhere. Once you get a few miles up the trail, the view up to Yosemite is spectacular. And we still got to log a few miles, sleep out in the peace, quiet, and isolation of the Sierra, and get some quality time together.

We also had a few missteps. Hacking through those aspens, we managed to pick up quite a few ticks, which we carefully removed that night before they did any real damage. But they did make for some interesting nerves that evening. And waltzing through those glorious meadows meant some soggy, muddy feet for P, whose boots are not waterproof. Big deal.

The local wildlife enjoyed the meadows:

Still, a small price to pay for a nice couple of days away from the rest of the world....

Here's a link to the rest of the photos: https://goo.gl/photos/T3NrrqFdTXexodLn8
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