I set out this morning around 7am to begin what I was dreading as a long day of off trail/cross country travel or “bushwhacking”. The local fisherman I had camped with the night before gave me some great insights into the area and where I had to travel but it was still going to be mostly off trail travel.
I pretty easily bushwhacked my way around the end of Cedar Lakes where I was supposed to catch a “faint footpath” and cross over to Pillsbury Bay on the other side. Since I was now on the side I’d need to catch the faint path on I made my way down to the shore figuring it would be easier than cutting through the bushes. Once on the shore I began looking for the “faint path” but didn’t see it. I knew that in the worst case scenario I could walk the shore right around to the bay. Since it was going so much easier than bushwhacking and it was really beautiful I just kept along the shore about the entire time. It probably took me twice as long but wow it was a really beautiful and fairly easy walk!
I reached the head of Pillsbury Bay and began looking for the “faint path” described in the guidebook. It wasn’t so easy to find but after about 10 minutes I was able to locate it. I followed the path and came out in the beaver meadow of the Whitney Area as described in the guidebook. It was a very beautiful open expanse. I honestly wish I had taken more time for some photo’s and just to look around but I was unfortunately a little too focused on crossing the creek which ran through the middle of the meadow. It wasn’t large or anything, I had crossed the Opalescent River a few days earlier which was much wider but a lot less deep. I could tell by checking with my hiking pole it was certainly over knee deep and had some pretty soft mud. There was going to only be 1 way across and it was to walk straight through the creek. I had just dried out my socks and boots and didn’t want to get them soaked so early in the day. So I took everything off from the knees down, emptied my pockets and everything else into a stuff sack, threw it over my shoulder with my pack on and made a big 4 step plunge across Whitney Creek.
Once on the other side I suited up and once again began looking for a “faint path” A term I grew to hate as it was something I would have the hardest time finding, become overjoyed once I did and almost always loose it a few minutes later. I searched across the other side of the meadow and found nothing. So I set out to bushwhack towards Pillsbury Lake and hoped I could cut into it eventually. I did and once at Pillsbury Lake I needed to cross water once again. I did again and though I found the path on the other side this time it did not last long at all.
I bushwhacked and constantly found and lost the “faint path” but after a few hours and not too thick of brush I managed to make my way around the head of Pillsbury Lake avoiding a swamp at the head of Whitney Lake exactly as my fishing friends had advised me, dry boots and socks! I was pretty Happy!