A few weeks after our trip to see the Perseids Meteor Showers in Joshua Tree National Park, I invited Luke to come with me on a quick weekend backpacking trip. We are usually busy on weekends, especially because of our Ph.D. research and other obligations, but this was finally a weekend where we could pick up our stuff and leave. We took advantage of our Labor Day weekend, heading down to Kings Canyon National Park to test our luck at a wilderness pass. Here is an overview of our trip, a quick 50 miles in two and a half days with the first day being the longest.
Before we were situated at the base of Kings Canyon National Park at roads end, we found a peculiar guy, flailing his arms to ask for help. He told us that there were a bunch of drivers that just passed him by, maybe 5 or so, and he though he was going to have to spend the night there. I stopped my car and asked what the issue was, and he had recently crashed into the guard rail because a driver wasn’t paying attention or staying on his side of the road. He just told us that it was a flat tire, and he didn’t really know how to change the tire. Little did we know, the damage was way more than just a flat. We ended up helping him with his tire, and giving him directions to his church outing that he was suppose to attend that night. It was great to hear that he thought this was fate, and we were there to save him. I don’t know if he was speaking figuratively or literally, but I think of it as just lending a helping hand to anyone in need.
We ended up crashing in my car that night, even though it is strictly prohibited, but we wanted an early start and to be the first in line for a permit. We ended up getting to the ranger station a little too late, they had two passes that were given out around 7am, but we arrived at around 7:30am just taking our time in the morning. Well, that meant a long breakfast until 9am, when all the permits were released for first come first serve.
Luke before the start of the trip, this was definitely one of the most scenic and strenuous I’ve been on.
Our first stop was Mist Falls, where I had been the last time I was in Kings Canyon with Melody. I can’t believe I was finally going to go on my backpacking trip I had been planning for almost 3 years.
Luke and I bathing in the sun and mists.
And off we went, toward Paradise Valley. It was a quick ascent and relatively mild hike up the valley. The views are spectacular, and a place I would love to camp out next time and discover.
It was getting hot, our water was getting a little low so we ended up stopping for a dip and a sip.
With our first day being the longest, roughly 25 miles, we had a little too much for us to chew on. Our original plan was to make it to Woods Lake for sunset and sunrise. We really didn’t know that this trip was going to take a little too long for that ambitious goal. But we slowly trudge up Paradise Valley.
A view of the Kings Canyon Pinnacles, where I thought we were going to make it to.
The sun began to set, and we still had roughly 5 miles to go. I made an executive decision, after we attempted to hike unmarked territory in the dark, to just make it to Twins lake, which was less than a mile away, for some shuteye and sunrise shots.
The altitude and fatigue from, most likely lactic acid build up, were getting to us. We began to slow and I could feel my legs aching. We ended up hiking the rest in the dusk hours and the blue hour ended up turning black. I was glad to carry my GPS this day.
Luke making some dinner before our much needed rest.
The next morning, I woke up before sunrise to get some shots of Twins Lake. We were facing the wrong direction at our campsite, so I decided to traverse the lake and get a good shot of the rising sun. Here are a few shots as I made my rounds.
After I made it back to our campsite, I found Luke still sound asleep. But we ate our breakfast and made our 15 mile hike towards Rae Lakes, the destination of our trip.
We had to hike back to the junction, and as we go down on the Pacific Crest Trail towards Rae Lakes
Finally we were able to admire the landscape during our hike, we weren’t able to see anything the night before.
And a great view walking down the trail towards the junction of Woods Creek and the Pacific Crest Trail.
You know you’ve made the junction where Woods Creek touches the Pacific Crest Trail when you reach this neat suspension bridge.
I decided to get a photo of Luke walking down the bridge, even though he went ahead. This was our break before headed toward Rae Lakes.
The suspension bridge.
And then it was a steady uphill climb towards Rae Lakes.
After a little hike, we had to get some water again, so another photo of Luke enjoying the wilderness.
Finally the lush landscape was back.
Luke crossing the creek.
Gorgeous view of our hike.
And we finally made it close to the Rae Lakes. I believe this is a shot of the lakes just before the Rae Lakes, but equally as beautiful.
I forgot to mention that the day before, there was a group of girls hiking from Yosemite on the John Muir Trail, JMT, and one of them was pretty hurt. She had just twisted her ankle and was asking for some help. We left them with a block of cheese and some Special Dark chocolate to help nourish them. But when we arrived at Rae Lakes, the first thing we saw was the Rangers Station. Here is a shot of the Ranger as we were informing him of the others.
And we ended up settling in on the little land bridge between the lakes. It was hot, and we were sweaty so Luke decided to skinny dip, I opted for a little less disclosure. The water was freezing, and the sun was setting so we had to get out and dry off. We were also hungry now..
But I wanted to get a overview of the Lake so we ended up hiking up toward the pass for the view. We brought up our dinner so we could make it while enjoying the view. Here is a panoramic shot of Rae Lakes. I have a few others, but really this place is just so beautiful that I couldn’t really capture the whole thing.
Luke wanted to get some start shots as well, so I got a few of the Milky Way before bed.
And back we went, up towards Glen Pass at roughly 12,000 ft. But I got a shot just before the sun was about to rise. I didn’t think the light was going to be good here so we had an early start to get home early.
Hiking up to Glen Pass.
The alpine lakes below, as we made our quick ascent up.
Me and Luke at the top.
Our hike down Bubbs Creek Trail was a lot more exposed, but the gradual downhill made for some quick hiking. We saw a few more falls, but a little further away for photographing.
The end of the trip wasn’t as picturesque, or I had just gotten a little tired from our quick hike, but I leave you with our last water break at Bubbs Creek.