Hiking with Pack Stock
The smell of fresh coffee on a wood fired stove; the muffled sound of mules munching their morning grain; quiet words of reassurance as the packers groom and tack the stock in preparation for the day's move. That is the alarm clock that awakens you to a new morning of hiking with pack stock. You pack up your duffle and take down your tent between sips of fresh hot coffee (or tea/cocoa).
A table is set up with lunch meat, cheese, breads, cookies, nuts, fresh fruit, and candy. You bag up your selections before breakfast which is usually served around 7:30. During your hearty hot breakfast guests and crew agrre upon where to meet for the next camp and any side trips you might take. Now you can shoulder your day pack and start hiking toward the next camp. Occasionally a backpacker will stop you to ask what kind of camping gear you are carrying that allows you to travel so light.
Depending on the length of the hike and the speed of the hikers, the crew will usually pass you shortly after lunch after spending several hours packing the mules and cleaning up the camp. By the time you follow the stock tracks into camp, the pack animals will typically be unloaded with your gear set out on a tarp. Your task is to put up your tent on the perfect site you've selected, freshen up in the nearby stream or lake, and perhaps find a spot along the stream to drop in a fishing line.
The packers take care of the stock, set up a toilet tent with sit down toilet, collect firewood, and set up the lawn chairs. The cook will set out snacks and juice for your enjoyment.
The crew will light the fire when the evening chill starts to set in. The cook will set up the kitchen on the cook's table, start coffee and hot water, and set out an afternoon snack with juice on the guest table before starting dinner which is usually served around 6:00. The cook cleans up the dishes while the guests relax around the fire, slipping away to their tents as the day comes to an end.
Those of you who are backpackers will be amazed at the food served on the trip. Fresh fruit and vegetables are served throughout the trip. Dinners typically include hamburgers, grilled chicken, pork chops, steak, roast beef, ham or corned beef. The pack station serves a full breakfast, such as eggs, hash browns and bacon or pancakes and sausage. Another treat that only a backpacker can appreciate is the large tarp the crew will set up on those occasional rainy days in the Sierra. Do you remember lying in your bivy sack for hours or all of your friends cramming into a tiny backpacking tent to wait out the rain? Imagine sitting high and dry under the tarp in a lawn chair playing cards at a table, instead.
Be sure to set up some layover days near side trails leading to the many beautiful streams and lakes of the Sierra. These days are the truly special days when the mornings might start a little later and you can set out a solar shower for a hot shower later in the day, hike to a beautiful spot to fish or view the beauty of nature, or just hang out in camp with a good book.
Some groups like to hike together throughout the day, while others prefer
breaking into smaller groups, meeting up at the end of the day. The Sierra
trails are well marked and the many good maps make it hard to get lost.
Sometimes the pack station provides a hiking guide who not only leads the
way, but can point out flora, fauna, historical sites, geological
formations, or the perfect fishing spot.
You can email us, also.
Rock Creek Pack Station provides all of its trips as a permitee of the Inyo National Forest.
All Trail Rides and Packing Schools are subject to an 8% regulatory reservation fee, plus 2% USFS fee.
Last Updated: May 13, 2013