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2012: Ventana Wilderness: Bottchers Gap to Pat’s Creek

November 14, 2012

Trip report for Bottchers Gap to Pat’s Creek

(14 miles out and back, plus 9 mile day hike)

November 10-12, 2012

Meetup Group hike

2000′ – 4000′

This was my first overnighter with a MeetUp hiking group. There ended up being six of us on the hike. Due to uncertain weather conditions, we first met at a coffee shop in Carmel to decide whether to change the planned route, but in the end we kept to it. Because of the delay, we did not leave Bottchers Gap (2000’) until about 10:30.

Nick, Lori, John, Vivian, Andy, Teresa

We had lunch at around 1:00 at Devil’s Peak (4000’), which is about the halfway point.

Nick at Devil’s Peak

From there it was a slight descent, and gradual ups and down’s to Pats Spring (3,800’).

There are a number of developed sites here. We took the one off to the left, past the first campsite right off the trail, and up a slight slope. There are nice one’s up on the ridge, but we figured they would be colder and more exposed. There is a cistern a little ways down the trail that is spring fed where one can get water (do filter it though!).

It was cool all day, probably in the 50s and down to the 40s during the day. After dinner we played ”Things,” a parlor type game of fun and getting to know each other.

Frozen water bottle

That night it got down to the mid 20s. I had not really been prepared for that cold, but managed by sleeping in all my layers.

The plan for Sunday’s day hike was to go to Double Cone Peak, about 7 miles each way. But we had heard reports that the trail was quite overgrown. One of the women was not up for hiking, and our main leader had a cold, so they decided to stay in camp. After some debate the rest of us decided to head for the peak, but we set a turn around time, wanting to be back before sunset.

John trudges through the bush

It was almost 10am by the time we set out, and the trail was quite overgrown in places where we just had to push our way through the brush. There had been a fire in 2009, so the loss of the trees may have accounted for the heaviness of the brush (not to mention the lack of trail maintenance). We did lose the trail a few times, but never for long.

At 1:00, still 2 or 3 miles from our destination, we decided to have lunch at a nice overlook, and then headed back to camp.

Around the Campfire

We arrived back to camp at around 4:30, where our camp-mates had a campfire going already. While still quite cold, that night was not quite as cold as the previous one, and one of my hiking companions showed me a trick of heating up a stone in the fire, wrapping it in my sweatshirt, and using it to keep me warm in my bag all night.

Nick

We headed out the next morning at 8:45, had lunch again Devil’s Peak, and got back to the cars around 1:00.

To see the full set of pictures from this hike you can link here to my Flickr album

To see a short video of the trip (taken by a hiking mate) click here

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