a hike through Sequoia
From July 2009:
The week after I got back from Iceland I headed up to Sequoia and Kings Canyon to do a four day hike. Stephanie, Bill and I met in Lodgepole to head into the hills and hike the Twin Lakes Loop. Stephanie and Bill were practicing their Ultra Light hiking in preparation for doing the John Muir Trail, me not so much. Lugging my camera equipment as well as my hiking gear was not so easy on the first day at elevation, and as we made our way from Lodgepole to JO pass in the Jennie Lake Wilderness I slowed down through the day, but taking time for a few pictures helped. We rose through the Sequoia and passed through alpine meadows and over many streams, and found the only real problem we had on the hike start to materialize, mosquitoes, lots of mosquitoes. In an attempt to avoid them we camped as high as we could at the top of the pass. This helped a bit. The second day of the hike we descended through the wilderness and turned east to drop into King’s Canyon. The mosquitoes got worse and worse, and we passed our planned campground and headed up into the saddle near Ball Dome to get away. The campsite we found was not too bad, but when we headed down to the stream to pump water we headed into a thick cloud of the insects. A litre of blood later we retreated to our campsite. On our third day out I packed up and headed out a little early to hike up to our high point of the hike, Silliman Pass. This was the most beautiful day of the hike. The trail rose from the start and I began to see views of King’s Canyon through the breaks in the trees. Before the base of the pass I took a couple of side trips to Ranger Lake and Beville Lake. After taking some pictures there I headed up the steep part of the trail to the pass. A couple of days at elevation and a slightly lighter pack from the food I had eaten made this hike much easier then the first day had been. Eventually I reached the pass, a saddle between Twin Peaks and Mt Silliman. I set up my tent and relaxed as I waited for Stephanie and Bill. They arrived soon enough and, after kicking back for a little while, we set off toward Mt Silliman, exploring the ridge. At 10200 feet we had passed from the land of the Sequoia into the land of the Bristlecone pine, and the twisted shapes posed, lovely, over the vista of peaks, domes and lakes that spread below us in every direction. After reaching the end of easily hiked ridge, before we could reach Mt. Silliman, we turned back. We decided to melt snow instead of heading down to find water to pump. This turned into more of a production then we expected, but after a couple of hours our supplies were replenished. As the sun headed for the horizon I headed up the other side of the saddle to the twin peaks to watch it set. It was a spectacular way to greet the night. Our final day we headed down past the twin lakes to Lodgepole dodging mosquitoes as we went. Everything was feeling easier on this day as I was just coming into my hiking legs and had started to acclimatize to the elevation. Unfortunately that was it for us on this trip. We cleaned up and jumped in the cars to head down to the Kern River where we met with Dennis, Susan and Chris for a day of canyoneering in the 7 teacups. Unfortunately my water proof case for the camera had not yet arrived so I didn’t bring a camera on this adventure, but needless to say it was wonderful as well.