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Soaking Wet

(6/8/06) What do you get when you combine thirteen fun, hot guys, Memorial Day weekend, and Southern California's last free river? One wet and wild weekend. With unbeatable weather, refreshing swimming holes, and a relaxing conversational hiking pace, it certainly was the club med of Perfect Pace trips.

Thursday night we started off at Wheeler Gorge with a fantastic barbeque dinner. Wheeler Gorge campground was awesome with widely spaced campsites, lots of greenery, and a soothing babbling stream that ran right down the middle of it. The next morning we hooked up with more from the group at the trailhead and started our four day backpack journey along Sespe Creek. Armando was with us on this trip, who was a resident expert on the Sespe area. It made us feel like VIP with all the people he knew on trail.

Our first swimming hole stop set the tone for the rest of the trip, as we splashed around, slid through the water chute, dived off the rocks, and sunbathed on the rocks like seals. Of course, all the hot half-naked guys made the trip much more soothing to the eye. We ran into more wild life on this trip than any other Perfect Pace trip, including horny toad lizards, snakes, turtles, frogs, bats, and big horn sheep.

Our first hot spring experience was at Willet. It was so relaxing especially after a full day of hiking. Can you guess which half of us were naked?

Having real wilderness campfires on this trip was such a treat, which most Southern California backpacking destinations do not permit. At our last night's campfire, we sat around and played a fun round of Perfect Pace questions. Jeff, Andy, and I had way too much fun just putting the questions together.

It felt like a grand reunion when Andy and Joe joined us for the second night. They did the full Sespe hike in a single day. Andy is in such great shape that he was ready to hike right back. That evening many of the guys helped me to prepare a great Mexican dinner and a campfire. We ended the great day with a long soothing soak at the main pool at Sespe Hot Springs.

Our farewell dinner at Boccali's was phenomenal as well. I can't wait to go back up there just for that restaurant alone. Yumm.

Its hard for me to choose a favorite part of the trip. There were so many. I loved the beach and the diving ledge at the halfway point between Willet and Sespe Hot Springs. Sespe Hot Springs was unbelievable though, especially with the big horn sheep that roamed freely along the hillside. I guess my favorite spot was our last campsite on a beach near lady bug trail with beautiful pools to swim in, a warm comfy sandy beach to lay on, exotic birds flying by, a beautiful sunset, and great company to share it with. It was heaven. I could have easily stayed there another day.

Although there were thirteen of us on a five day excursion, the event was without incident or drama -- just a bunch of loveable, easy-going, fun guys having a great time together. The event truly was a vacation for me.

Many thanks to Jeff C and Jeff H for their picture contributions. Their pictures are labeled appropriately. Special thanks goes out to Andy for all his help and leadership on this trip, and of course the mouth-watering dessert bars he made for Saturday night's fiesta.