Melody and I were set to go on an adventure, a 16 mile round trip to Kearsarge Lakes and Bullfrog Lake through Kearsarge Pass. This would be Melody’s second backpacking trip, and I wanted it to be quick and to the point, with beautiful landscapes to give her a glimpse of what I love to do. We started off the day late, leaving from Long Beach around 9am to try to get to catch sunset in the Kearsarge Basin. We arrived in Onion Valley after a 4 hour drive at around 2:30, we had to stop by for lunch as well as a few breaks to make the drive more bearable. Here is our overall itinerary for the next two days, starting off at Onion Valley all the way towards Kearsarge Pass and down into the basin.
The day looked to be a perfect day to start off our backpacking trip. The sun wasn’t beating down on us, and there were a few clouds in the sky.
We headed off towards the Kearsarge Pass Trail after a quick bathroom break.
A view of Onion Valley from the trail.
And off we were, looking to hike from 9000 feet towards roughly 12,000 feet at the pass.
After a rough start with nearly all upwards hiking, we stop for a break before entering the John Muir Wilderness.
And then it was off to the races again.
After about an hour, we arrived at Little Pothole lake.
Soon the terrain turned into a stoney,
and piney haven.
Next stop, Gilbert Lake.
Then Flower Lake.
With the clouds in the sky, I love playing with the luminosity of the sun peaking out to create spot lights. Here you can see a lightened ridge towards a darkened backdrop.
The same applied at Heart Lake, luminating the people at the lake below.
Here is a close up of the hikers swimming.
We finally were at our last climb of the day as we passed by Big Pothole Lake.
The mountains here are gorgeous, I love the jagged look of the sheared rock faces.
Last push towards Kearsarge Pass.
And we made it, accompanied by a wonderful view of the Kearsarge Basin.
Mel + Kel.
I wanted to get a photo before sunset, just in case were weren’t willing to trek the nearly 1000 feet up to the pass that night.
Our campsite near Kearsarge Lake, you are not allowed to camp by Bullfrog lake, our final destination for sunrise.
And here is our camp.
As the sun started to set, I asked Melody to come with me to get a shot of sunset above Kearsarge Lake. It seems like nowadays, most landscapes are close and wide. They aren’t really there to capture the essence of the location, rather the minute details in one specific area.
With a higher vantage point, I could get the pinnacles that I wanted in the background, and the lake to show the scale of the location.
As well as some close ups of the mountain faces.
I also had to get a panorama, these photos just don’t do it justice.
After a restless night of sleeping, and restless legs, we were ready to hike in the predawn dark hours towards Bullfrog Lake. I wanted to get another overview shot, since I wanted to capture more of the mountains in the background. Kings Canyon is mostly known for their wonderful sear peaks you see in the picture below.
After an early start, we wanted to get back to Long Beach a little earlier for some rest, so back up towards the Pass.
And lastly, a departing view with the suns beams hitting Big Pothole Lake.