Backpacking Central California | Week 2

Day 7 | Onion Valley Campground to Rae Lakes
(7/9/17) So fresh!!

Distance Hiked: 11.2 miles
Final Elevation: 11,170 ft. (1,890 ft. gain)

Fresh socks, fresh underwear, plenty of rest – what a way to start the day! Resupply also means a much heavier pack, but overall, we’re in great spirits!

Day 8 | Rae Lakes to Twin Lakes

Distance Hiked: 10.9 miles
Final Elevation: 10,560 ft. (610 ft. loss)

Just more and more stellar views! We got a little surprise today in the shape of a bridge! I was so stoked – this was such a legit suspension bridge in the middle of nowher.  It was fun to play on.


Day 9 | Twin Lakes to just south of Mather Pass

Distance Hiked: 12.2 miles
Final Elevation: 10,480 ft. (80 ft. loss)

No good photos from today, unfortunately. We’re just too busy! You’re going to enjoy the tent tour though ??

Day 10 | just south of Mather Pass to just west of Deer Meadow

Distance Hiked: 9 miles
Final Elevation: 8,400 ft. (2,080 ft. loss)


These were some of the most consistently-amazing views of any day we had.

We found a stellar little place to camp with all the ammenities…except for a bear box. It wasn’t actually all that common to have a bear box, but this area was marked as having many more frequent bear sightings. So, to Thomas’ chagrin, I initiated operation bear hang!

Day 11 | west of Deer Meadow to north of Simpson Meadow

Distance Hiked: 11 miles
Final Elevation: 5,800 ft. (2,600 ft. loss)

I couldn’t even look down long enough to write much today. The views at our camp and throughout the day were breathtaking – rushing rapids, rad waterfalls, switchbacks in the river, narrow goat paths along the treacherous but gorgeous mountainsides.

About 2 miles into the day, a few minutes before we were planning on cutting off the PCT/JMT westward, we ran into a friendly, informative park ranger who we stopped and chatted with for a few minutes. Interestingly, he told us the route we were about to turn onto was the old JMT! Pretty sick!

And man did it prove to be rad. This might be my favorite day of the entire trip. Most of the day was spent following through the canyon made by the middle fork of Kings River. The trail was so much less maintained and we definitely went much longer between seeing people.

Day 12 | north of Simpson Meadow to Granite Lake/Granite Basin

Distance Hiked: 12.9 miles
Final Elevation: 10,000 ft. (4,200 ft. gain)

The first half of the day was amazing – we had our biggest climb, our longest distance, our hardest day planned in the entire trip. We climbed a grueling 4,000 ft. over 6.6 miles. It was exhausting – a truly intense physical and mental challenge, and then so rewarding to complete.

But then, mosquitos. A new word needs to be invented for the intensity of this onslaught. Relentless clouds of hundreds and hundreds of mosquitos for over 5 miles. I’ve never known such annoyance and mental strain – thus the severe decline in photos and video.

It wasn’t pretty at times, but we pushed through the biggest day yet, and accomplished a lot.

Day 13 | Granite Lake/Granite Basin to Morraine Campground
(7/15/16) Resupply Day #2!

Distance Hiked: 11.4 miles
Final Elevation: 4,800 ft. (5,200 ft. loss)

The mosquitos were still bad in the morning so we had to get out pretty quick even though there was breakfast to make, cleaning up, and boiling water for the day. I stayed as covered as I could for the first few miles, which was not fun thanks to the hot sun and the initial climb out of the Basin.

Good conversation, Nathaniel Rateliff in the earbuds, and anticipation of resupply and real, fresh food got me through that first part of the day, though. By the time we got about 4 miles in, things were going well, and man were the views helping!

We had to walk another 2 miles from camp to the store/cafe, then 2 miles back to camp, but man did we gorge – big veggie burger, 2 fruit cups, Dr. Pepper, Sun Chips, Almond M&Ms, coffee almond ice cream, and a Stone IPA. Feelin good!