TR Alta Peak June 28-29 | High Sierra Topix  

TR Alta Peak June 28-29

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TR Alta Peak June 28-29

Postby MountainMinstrel » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:51 pm

I had Tuesday June 29 off so I had planned to day-hike Alta Peak, do the loop around, and return via Pear Lake and the Watchtower. However, my wife surprised me on Monday telling me that I might as well just go and do an overnight. That was at 12:30 PM. By 2:00 I was on the road heading towards SEKI.
I got to Lodgepole at 3:45 only to discover that the permit office closes at 3:30. So now, I have a dilemma. I can go home (unlikely) I can go back to the Big Meadows area to camp and then do the day-hike the next day. The problem with this is that I only have my backpack and that is a bit too heavy to haul on the 16ish mile loop even if I leave my tent, bear can, tent, and clothes in the bear boxes (which I am way too synical to do). Or, I can go ahead and do the hike hoping that I don’t run into a ranger before the morning. I chose to take my chances with the ranger.
I hit the trail at 5:00
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The first couple of miles is pretty well forested with wildflowers in the open areas.
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Saw a doe just before Panther Gap.
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I am making good time and reach Panther gap in about an hour.
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All I can say is that this view alone is almost worth the hike as suddenly the Kaweah basin opens up before you.
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There was a nice campsite here but I decided to go ahead and make Mehrten Meadow 2 miles up the trail. I made a wise decision here as this part of the trail is exposed and very warm in the morning and afternoon but is in the shade in the evening. Enjoying the cool evening and great views, I quickly find myself at Mehrten Meadows where I am greeted to the campsite by the current occupants.
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I drop my pack and set up camp just in time to head a ways back down the trail to capture some alpenglow.
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I was amazed that there were no skeeters, despite the fact that I was right on the edge of the meadow. (the flash sure made the triptease glow)
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The next morning broke with something I had not experienced before; an overcast morning.
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It was cool and there was a light rain but it did not get me wet, just kept me cool as I made my way towards the junction to Alta Meadows.
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4.6 miles and about 1800 feet and 2.1 miles and 2200 feet more to go! As steep as this was you would have thought that I would have taken more photos (a great excuse to stop) but while i did stop a lot, for some reason I did not take many shots. The views were sure pretty enough though. Like this one of Alta Meadows.
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The views looking up though were a bit daunting as I realize I have to get up this. Thank God for trail builders!
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Thankfully The Good Lord was kind enough to put some flowers on the trail to distract me from the grind.
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Finally, after 5 hours on the trail covering 6.7 miles and 3844 ft. of elevation gain, I reach the summit.
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I did not take many pictures but instead took some videos which unfortunately I cannot seem to get to post, so here are the links to them.
http://outdoors.webshots.com/video/3092 ... 8944mKnRxX
http://outdoors.webshots.com/video/3083 ... 8944ZhXsBn
I had planned to do the cross country route to Pear, but I was unsure of the route (in my rush to leave the house, I failed to take the pictures some of you posted last year when I had planned to do this the other way) also, my legs were tired, and I am a chicken. So, I opted to turn around and go back the way I came. Image
Now that I am back home I see that the route I was looking at was the correct one and I could have done it easily, but at least I get the chance to take a picture of the biggest pile of scat I have ever seen. When I passed this on the way up it was fresh enough that the urin next to it was still very wet. I started looking around a lot after this as I knew that this bear was very close and seemed to be possibly very big, but I never saw it.
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The sky was clearing and the views were still great.
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Took a few more shots of flowers on the way out and stopped to pick up my clip-on sunglasses that I left at a photo stop on the way in.
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Made it out in about 4 hours feeling great. I think I will be OK doing Whitney on July 20-24. I can hardly wait!
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.



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MountainMinstrel
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Re: TR Alta Peak June 28-29

Postby Shawn » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:25 pm

Wow, great report and really enjoyed the photos. Brought back a lot of memories of the place, thanks for putting it all together.

And that bear scat - :eek: U sure elephants haven't been introduced to the area?
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Shawn
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Re: TR Alta Peak June 28-29

Postby KC JED » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:14 pm

No kidding, good work using the trekking pole to provide some scale. Great TR!!!! :D
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