...2. I would appreciate any comments from anyone who has done the "northern access" via Florence, JMT, Goddard Canyon, Martha Lake, etc. about time it took to get to Reinstein Pass...and whether you are a speed hiker or not when loaded with in-going pack. I know this is highly subjective, but average miles per day on these kind of trails perhaps??? The gradient and trail conditions look pretty mild from Florence until get near the south end of Goddard Canyon, and after that it looks like open granite X-country. However, any quirks anyone can add would be welcome.
3. Gazing down on Hell for Sure Pass trail and into Goddard from the top of Red Mountain in 2018 it sure looked like one very, very long haul in close canyon confines. Actually from Piute Creek bridge it looks like bottom-of-the-canyon hiking all the way. Not my favorite, as I like to see what the weather is doing. However, I have done the alternate west entry to Blackcap Basin upper lakes twice, and was somewhat 'disturbed' to find that it took a lot longer than I thought it would (c. two and a half to three full days). Those map distances are deceptive.
Then there would be the hop over the Divide to get into the Promised Land beyond...Thus for me, potentially four days (if all goes well) to just settle in finally at Blue Canyon.
I should be game for this discussion, having worked on an ecologic restoration project for 3 seasons in the North Fork of the Kings. So I hiked again and again out of Courtright Res. and Florence Lake, and less often in and out of Wishon Res. I've just poured over the various maps, both old USGS, and the newer Harrison Maps, and here's what I get: Mileages:
1. Florence Lk. to Martha Lake= ~24.5 miles, and subtract 4 miles if you can use the ferry across FLK. MLk. to the edge of the Blue Canyon "Promised Land" on top of Blue Canyon Pass looks like about 6.5 more miles, plus the elevation gain over Reinstein Pass of 840', plus the up-down in upper Goddard Creek Basin, and over BCPass = ~1300'... and I guess we should add some more, as FLk is a 650' lower start than C.Res.
Total= 31 miles.
, with 2,790' gain.
2. Courtright Res. to MLk. = ~23.5mi., and includes ~400' of gain to cross Long Top, and about 1000' for Hell For Sure Pass. MLk. to BC Pass= 6.5mi.
Total = 30 miles
, plus the 840'over RPass, and the ~1300 over BCPass = 3540' gain
3. C. Res. up the N.F. Kings River, to Portal Lake (west of Finger Pk.) = 25 miles (H.Map #'s) P.Lk. on to BCPass= ~3.5 hard miles.
Total= 28.5 miles.
, plus elev. gains of ~400' over Long Top; ~1000' crossing Finger Col, and BCPass-- so 1400' gain.
Okay, so there is the mileage comparison, and I then added in a pretty rough set of numbers to account for the relative gains in elevation, though I mostly concentrated on the significant rises, not the exact number of elevation gain per route. [The lesser elevation gain for route 3 is interesting; I hope I have that right.]
Others can chime in about the relative attractions, and difficulties of each route. For my 2 cents, I'd choose either of the Courtright Res. routes over F.Lk. The North Fork Kings country is less crowded, unless you run into a big pack-train, and I really like the Red Mtn. Basin high country on the west side of HFS Pass, and also, the view to the south-east from that same pass. That upper half of Goddard Canyon is the nice half for me. see photos:
Hell for Sure Lake in Red Mtn. Basin.
View south-east coming off HFS Pass.
HIking up Goddard Canyon around the foot of the pass, with a view of Mt. Goddard.
Re. route #3, I just like the look of Finger Peak and its satellite peak to the west.... and the high lakes around them. Also, it is a nice, direct path toward that Blue Canyon "Promised Land." Best of Luck to you Michael.
The Finger Peak Massif.
This is probably the look, and the cold feel of that area now.
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