Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Backpacking report

Finally! The backpacking pictures!(em-biggen pics by clicking)

Members of the expedition are Jason, Karisa, Melanie and Kendall
From backpacking2009

Here was the route we did in the "Mineral King" area of Sequoia National Park.
From backpacking2009


Labor day weekend is a very busy weekend for once yearly backpackers such as ourselves to come out of the woodwork. We attempted to get to the Mineral King Ranger Station early, by leaving around 4:30am. We had some success with this as when we arrived at the ranger station at 10:15am we were just ahead of several other parties. We didn't get onto the same trail that we planned to hike originally but really that's just kind of the way our backpacking trips seem to go. We set out around noon in good spirits. We met some quirky dudes in their 50's that were joking around with us in the parking lot and gave us some of their "gorp" since they were just going to throw it away since they didn't have any more room to pack it, we reluctantly accepted. Turns out it was super tasty with sunflower seeds and craisins and basically blew away the trail mix that we brought. Thanks dudes!

Then we hiked. We hiked past some water falls, a nice valley, a lake, and thenon some rough terrain, apparently it was too hardcore for the horse that keeled over for some reason, right around the 11,000 foot mark or so.
From backpacking2009

From backpacking2009

From backpacking2009

From backpacking2009

From backpacking2009

We made it too the top of the 11,710 ft pass right around sunset. We were supposed to get to the the lake at 100 deg east in the panorama below that night but we didn't quite get there. After 4000 ft in 8 miles the last 2 of the remain 3.5 miles just wasn't going to happen.

We set up camp in the almost dark, had some good beans and rice. The *new* jetboil stove that I got for my birthday works great! It was a little bit chilly and we didn't have a fire, my verbalized wish before going to bed was "I hope I wake up in the morning because the tent is too hot" Wish... GRANTED, well after 8am! Awesome. This is where we found ourselves when we woke up.

We hiked up another small pass, past a couple of lakes and could then see the valley that we were going to hike through the rest of the day.

At the second campsite after another 10 miles or so, we stopped well before dark and even had a campfire! I tried to make the Backpacker's pantry biscuits and gravy with somewhat disastrous results. They tasted alright in the end but the consistency was very off. It did mix in well with the vegetable curry.

For day 3 we had another 10ish miles or so and 2000 feet to go up, and 4000 feet to go down. Some guy on the trail saw my WWC t-shirt and informed us that his boss went to WWC. Good times.

We made it too the top Sawtooth Pass at 11,630 ft, and we could see where we had come from. And where we were headed too. The view was great, you could see the coastal range to the west, and to the east, they other guys at the top of the pass were pointing out Mt. Whitney. One of the dudes at the top systematically doled out one orange peanut M&M for each of us that made it to the top. Thank you?

There was really a surprising amount of water, flowers, and fresh green plants. In this picture the mountain top is right there another 200 feet above, not sure where all the water for these flowers is coming from??

Also you'll notice the trekking poles in some of the pictures. I can't say enough good things about trekking poles, this is my first trip where I had my own, and didn't have to borrow them after my knee got sore. Also, my knee did not get sore. I will never go backpacking without trekking poles ever again. They are like 4wd for the steep parts of the trail. (I got some like this for 50% off at rei since they were returns from the online store. SCORE!)

The decent off of Sawtooth Pass was extremely steep and there were some really sketchy sections of steep rock, covered with decomposed granite, not all that fun but at least it was over quickly. Coming down was really lame, I can't imagine going up, suffice to say it would be lame.

We finally made it back to the car and saw some deer. We ate celebratory pizza at the Pizza Factory in Three Rivers. Great trip! Next year, trail reservations, and maybe half the mileage? ... or not?

Slide show:


  1. Great post Kendall. I'm curious to hear how you posted your route. I've been saving tracks off of our Garmin GPS but I hadn't thought of to post the actual route we took places. We're contemplating hiking up toward Everest to try to get a view of it before we leave. Posting our route would be awesome.

  2. I was using mapmyride.com /run/walk/hike all has the same interface. They seems to add 2 ads for every new feature that they implement. But you can import directly from your GPS I believe. Also you could just import your route from your GPS into Google earth and do a bird's eye view of your route with 3D topo. That would be cool. Not sure if this link will work, I'll put a link to the original mapmyride map under the picture above just to be sure.

    http://www.mapmyride.com/route/us/ca/mineral king/481125246999421132

  3. dude, i want to go on the next camping trip. Let me know.