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Mineral King Trip Aug 29 -Sept 4

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Mineral King Trip Aug 29 -Sept 4

Postby slowhiker » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:37 pm

It has taken a while to get this posted, my wife and I are attempting to organized our photos on SmugMug and it is has been a little frustrating. The link I am sharing has the photos, however it has all of them and they do not yet have descriptions.

For my wife and I this was a unique trip (explanation below), so this report will be an overview of our experience.

This Mineral King loop trip is one that many have been on and written trail reports about. It started at the Franklin Pass trail head and ended 7 days later as we exited via Timber Gap. Our trip went as follows:
Day one: Franklin Trail head to Franklin Lake
Day Two: Franklin Lake to Little Clair Lake
Day Three: Little Clair Lake to Big Five Lakes
Day Four: Big Five Lakes to Big Arroyo/High Sierra Trail Junction
Day Five: Trail Junction to Precipice Lake and back, then broke camp and went to Little Five Lakes
Day Six: Little Five Lakes to Cliff Creek crossing
Day Seven: Cliff Creek Crossing over Timber Gap to the parking lot

It had been 2 years since our last trip (Megee Creek to the Silver Divide area). In May 2012 I had open heart surgery to repair my mytral valve. Back then I was apprehensive about whether or not I would be backpacking again. Well, the answer turns out to be YES!

The adjustments we made for this trip were:
1. Invested in better gear and we were more attentive on the amount of food we carried. This reduced our overall shared weight by about 6 pounds. I still intend to convince my wife to get a lighter pack, yet she is extremely comfortable with the one she has (after having previous packs that she hated). In addition, we planned how much water to carry at the beginning of each day, so we were reducing our starting weight each day by about 2 pounds each. We still do not qualify as Ultra Light yet, we are much lighter and this made a real difference. There are still adjustments to make for next year.
2. Pre-hike training: My wife is very active as she is an equestrian trainer, so her fitness level is always very good. I was running about 15 to 20 miles a week and doing strength training once or twice a week. This was very helpful and we did not experience any significant soreness.
3. Comfort: We decided that being a little more comfortable would make the trip more enjoyable. So, we invested in the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3 tent. It is much lighter than our previous tent, yet has a lot of space and we really enjoy this. I also realize that we could get a smaller tent and save weight, yet the comfort was more important on this trip than the weight savings. The other thing we did was get 2 Snow Peak double wall titanium cups with lids. For us this makes the mornings so much more enjoyable, because the coffee stays hot for a real long time. As it turns out this makes breaking camp much quicker, since I can now take a couple of sips of coffee, break down the tent, take a couple of more sips of coffee, arrange my pack, ect. Way nicer and we had just a few more minutes each morning to savor our camp site.
4. Be Flexible: We had a plan, yet we had options. This made us more comfortable and it ultimately led to us being able to get to Precipice Lake, which seemed out of reach at the beginning of the trip.

Overall, the trip was wonderful. The highlights were Little Clair lake, Nine Lakes Basin/Precipice Lake and Black Rock Pass. This year was dry in the back country, so there were absolutely no bugs. Even though there were fires, the prevailing winds kept the smoke away. We only experienced rain showers twice and each time for only 15 minutes or so. We met many nice people and the ranger at Little Five Lakes was amazing.

So, if you are interested, below is a link to our pictures.


One of us is 59 years old and the other is 63, we are happy to still be backpacking and we had a wonderful time and are looking forward to next summer. By the way, no matter how much i work out, how much new/better gear I get, and now matter how good the weather is, I would not be able to do any of this if not for my wife. She is the one who is level headed, can tie knots, is fearless, rarely complains and is adventuresome. I am very grateful.

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Re: Mineral King Trip Aug 29 -Sept 4

Postby austex » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:51 pm

:thumbsup: Nice to be back!? Thanks for posting. I enjoyed all the pictures. Looks like y'all had great weather to top it off!
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Re: Mineral King Trip Aug 29 -Sept 4

Postby bluefish » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:23 am

Many of the same adjustments for my wife and I. A good coffee cup in the morning is priceless, and I agree the lid helps. I'm hoping fitness trumps UL for at least a few more years. Enjoyed the pics and the report. Thanks much.
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Re: Mineral King Trip Aug 29 -Sept 4

Postby RichardCullip » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:36 am

Thanks for the trip report and great photos. They took me down memory lane as my brother and I hiked the Franklin Pass-Little Claire-Little Five Lakes loop quite a bit back in the mid-70's. We always exited out via a cross country route over a couple saddles from Little Five Lakes over to Big Five Lakes and down to Spring Lake and then up over Glacier Pass. I doubt I could do that loop now days.
Life is good. Eternal Life is better!

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Re: Mineral King Trip Aug 29 -Sept 4

Postby tahoefoothills » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:37 pm

Those are some of the best Sierra trip photos I have ever seen! What an eye for nature.
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