This summer started slow, and tired of my local spots I was itching to get into the Sierra. The first of July I found myself at the Roads End permit office, just to see what I could get. It was my first trip into Kings Canyon, and wow the drive in was spectacular. The river was raging. I was pleased when the ranger told me Avalanche Pass was just patchy snow, as my intention was to get a ways into cloud canyon.
The trails were virtually empty which was nice. The hike up to Sphinx Creek is steep. Some great views, but they are few and far between. I got up into Big Wet Meadow, and things started getting flooded where table creek meets roaring river....and this was my turn around. Flowers along the whole way were nice. Should have went farther though, as I made it out a day early. I shined the route over Glacier Divide, looked a little white up there. The way back I varied the route a little bit, trying to find some good view points.
The next week me and a buddy drove up to mammoth to meet my nephew from Colorado, his first time to the sierra. Things were looking pretty hectic in Yosemite Valley, so we opted for Jack Main Canyon out of Hetch Hetchy. What a beautiful and quiet area. My nephew was stunned at the solid granite. We found some very large mountain lion tracks in the snow....biggest I have ever seen. Again turned around by floodwaters, we had to turn back instead of our goal of Tilden Lake. So again to make it interesting we left trail. We found a porno stash by Lake Mahan and had quite a laugh...."this is why the ranger tried to talk us out of this hike??" We descended to Lake Vernon from a little past the falls that feed it, which was really beautiful. Again, flowers just bursting. Bear had destroyed a bunch of stuff left out by the ranger station there.
A week later I drove to Lodgepole for a permit into Tablelands via Pear Lake. Again simply amazing. Much better this time of year. Intention was to go over Pterodactyl Pass, but I had wandered in the wrong direction, ended up just below moose lake. Turned out to be really great, the Views of Buck Creek Canyon were nice, but smoke was starting to creep in fron the Lion Fire. Hiked to the pass....and WOW. What a beautiful pass. Nothing super fancy, but the ridge that runs south is spectacular....it is a pterodactyl! I looked at the descent to Lonely Lake and there was still a bit of snow below, and my wandering off coarse took wind out of my sails and instilled some self doubt. But my my, lonely lake is definately a place I will visit in the future. I should have went for it, but opted to just keep heading around the ridge of tablelands back toward table meadows, and back out the way I came, took my time an enjoyed the beautiful meadows. A few miles from Wolverton, saw a momma bear with two cubs. That was really special.
August.....finally I completed a route! This time I hiked out of Cottonwood lakes, staying at one of the lakes to acclimate, as I was feeling the altitude. The next day I popped up over New Army Pass, and into Miter Basin. Met another solo hiker and we hiked together for a few. The next morning I popped up on Crabtree Pass, and then down Crabtree Creek to Crabtree Meadows, then on to Rock Creek. These two days of hiking were just spectacular....and so fun. Finished the hike by passing over Cottonwood Pass. Saw something really strange in Sky Blue Lake....a sea monster? Dunno but it looked like something VERY LARGE was swimming very fast just below the surface, producing a wake 2-3 feet wide. A shaft of wind perhaps?
Anyway here is a few pictures, please forgive the quality....using a cell phone camera with a cracked lens
I hope to get one more trip in this summer.
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What a nice combination of trips. Thanks for the post.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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