Backpacking the High Sierra - lots of photos

Rnasty

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While animal keeping is one of my great loves, so is backpacking. The High Sierra in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks has a very special place in my heart. They're not only in my backyard (I live east of Fresno), but backpacking in these mountains has been in my family for a long time. Here are some of my favorite pictures I've taken, hopefully you'll enjoy them. Descriptions will be under each picture.


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A view of Aster lake on the Lakes Trail in Sequoia NP, beyond the lake is Tokopah valley. This trail has four incredible alpine lakes along it.


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This was taken from the top of Sawtooth Pass (about 12,000ft) in the Mineral King are of Sequoia NP. In the picture you can see Columbine Lake, Lost Canyon beyond that, and Big Arroyo Canyon running perpendicular way back there. Sawtooth Peak lays just out of frame to the right extending several hundred more feet upward in dramatic fashion.
We were getting chased off the pass by quick approaching thunderstorms so unfortunately I only got a few pictures from this location.


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Looking down Big Arroyo from Kaweah Gap. If I'm not mistaken, that's Sawtooth peak sticking it's nose out in the distance center frame.


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This is a picture from the High Sierra Trail between Kaweah Gap and Hamilton Lake - a grueling steep stretch of trail in an area know as "Valhalla" - a valley full of stunning granite formations. This picture shows the scale of the environment, I'm on the left third in case you missed it. I'm an ant in this place.


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Looking Down from Precipice Lake (truly, one of the most beautiful lakes in the entire Sierra Nevada. I encourage you to google it. It was storming when we reached it so the pictures I took didn't do any justice.) This view is looking down into the Kaweah Valley. In the center of the picture you can see Valhalla. It looks small here but it incredibly large and dramatic when you get down below it. On the far right of the picture is Big Bird Peak, and just off frame is Elizabeth Pass way in the distance.


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Another view of Valhalla, this time from the north, on the west side of Elizabeth Pass. In this picture you can see the back side of the structure in the pervious picture in the center. Opposite that lies the angel wings.

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From the top of Elizabeth pass at 11,375ft, which straddles the border between Sequoia and Kings Canyon (or rather the Kings/Kaweah Divide). This is the headwall of Deadman Canyon, one of the most special places to me as it was a favorite of my grandfathers. Unfortunately he passed before I took up an interest in backpacking. Putting my body and mind through hell and back to get to these places is my way of honoring him and our relationship. Even better is that I've been able to convince my wife she actually enjoys hiking 15 miles a day at high elevation, so she experiences these places with me :)

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The top is my grandfather in the 60's, obviously I'm on the bottom. I'm facing a different way because the lighting was more forgiving, but both are in the same spot, Elizabeth Pass.


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Looking down from Elizabeth Pass into Deadman Canyon.

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From the floor of Deadman Canyon, this is on the other side of that curve seen in the previous picture. Beautiful pockets of meadows and lodgepole pine are spattered along the canyon. A river runs down from the headwall springs and snakes through the length of the canyon.


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To the left of of Triple Peaks is another peak called the Horn Col. To the right is the steep granite slabs that lead up to massive Big Bird lake and Big Bird peak. We decided to skip hiking to Big Bird lake, as much as I hoped we could see it. We were about 30 miles into this hike when this photo was taken and didn't have the energy. It'll be there in the future.

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I added this last picture because it's just a great example of the moonscape terrain the High Sierra is known for. In the distance you can see Moose Lake, also massive, and much of the Tablelands. Alta Peak also sits in the distance. Below it sits the Lakes trail, where the first picture was taken.
 

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Toddrickfl1

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While animal keeping is one of my great loves, so is backpacking. The High Sierra in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks has a very special place in my heart. They're not only in my backyard (I live east of Fresno), but backpacking in these mountains has been in my family for a long time. Here are some of my favorite pictures I've taken, hopefully you'll enjoy them. Descriptions will be under each picture.


View attachment 333752

A view of Aster lake on the Lakes Trail in Sequoia NP, beyond the lake is Tokopah valley. This trail has four incredible alpine lakes along it.


View attachment 333754

This was taken from the top of Sawtooth Pass (about 12,000ft) in the Mineral King are of Sequoia NP. In the picture you can see Columbine Lake, Lost Canyon beyond that, and Big Arroyo Canyon running perpendicular way back there. Sawtooth Peak lays just out of frame to the right extending several hundred more feet upward in dramatic fashion.
We were getting chased off the pass by quick approaching thunderstorms so unfortunately I only got a few pictures from this location.


View attachment 333757

Looking down Big Arroyo from Kaweah Gap. If I'm not mistaken, that's Sawtooth peak sticking it's nose out in the distance center frame.


View attachment 333758

This is a picture from the High Sierra Trail between Kaweah Gap and Hamilton Lake - a grueling steep stretch of trail in an area know as "Valhalla" - a valley full of stunning granite formations. This picture shows the scale of the environment, I'm on the left third in case you missed it. I'm an ant in this place.


View attachment 333759

Looking Down from Precipice Lake (truly, one of the most beautiful lakes in the entire Sierra Nevada. I encourage you to google it. It was storming when we reached it so the pictures I took didn't do any justice.) This view is looking down into the Kaweah Valley. In the center of the picture you can see Valhalla. It looks small here but it incredibly large and dramatic when you get down below it. On the far right of the picture is Big Bird Peak, and just off frame is Elizabeth Pass way in the distance.


View attachment 333760


Another view of Valhalla, this time from the north, on the west side of Elizabeth Pass. In this picture you can see the back side of the structure in the pervious picture in the center. Opposite that lies the angel wings.

View attachment 333762

From the top of Elizabeth pass at 11,375ft, which straddles the border between Sequoia and Kings Canyon (or rather the Kings/Kaweah Divide). This is the headwall of Deadman Canyon, one of the most special places to me as it was a favorite of my grandfathers. Unfortunately he passed before I took up an interest in backpacking. Putting my body and mind through hell and back to get to these places is my way of honoring him and our relationship. Even better is that I've been able to convince my wife she actually enjoys hiking 15 miles a day at high elevation, so she experiences these places with me :)

View attachment 333778 View attachment 333779

The top is my grandfather in the 60's, obviously I'm on the bottom. I'm facing a different way because the lighting was more forgiving, but both are in the same spot, Elizabeth Pass.


View attachment 333780

Looking down from Elizabeth Pass into Deadman Canyon.

View attachment 333781

From the floor of Deadman Canyon, this is on the other side of that curve seen in the previous picture. Beautiful pockets of meadows and lodgepole pine are spattered along the canyon. A river runs down from the headwall springs and snakes through the length of the canyon.


View attachment 333782

To the left of of Triple Peaks is another peak called the Horn Col. To the right is the steep granite slabs that lead up to massive Big Bird lake and Big Bird peak. We decided to skip hiking to Big Bird lake, as much as I hoped we could see it. We were about 30 miles into this hike when this photo was taken and didn't have the energy. It'll be there in the future.

View attachment 333783

I added this last picture because it's just a great example of the moonscape terrain the High Sierra is known for. In the distance you can see Moose Lake, also massive, and much of the Tablelands. Alta Peak also sits in the distance. Below it sits the Lakes trail, where the first picture was taken.
Awesome pictures! The picture in the same spot as your grandfather is really cool too. Thanks for sharing.
 

Yvonne G

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Almost makes me wish I could go back packing. You are a great tour guide!
 

KarenSoCal

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Just beautiful! I've always wished I could hike in locations like this, but now that I'm 70 there just isn't enough air up there.

I've done a very small bit of the Appalachian Trail (I'm from PA) but when I was young enough to hike I was always doing something else on weekends.

Do you and your wife use ultralight gear? I have the gear, but when I pack my backpack it's too heavy to lift! Whatever you do, don't get old!
 

JoFisch

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Thank you so much for sharing! I am like others where the will just isn’t strong enough to override the weak flesh and busy lifestyle. But I am envious of your ability.
 

Rnasty

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Just beautiful! I've always wished I could hike in locations like this, but now that I'm 70 there just isn't enough air up there.

I've done a very small bit of the Appalachian Trail (I'm from PA) but when I was young enough to hike I was always doing something else on weekends.

Do you and your wife use ultralight gear? I have the gear, but when I pack my backpack it's too heavy to lift! Whatever you do, don't get old!

Well if it's any help I've seen an 82 year old out on a multi night trip before! I don't even blink twice when I see people in their 70's up there.

I'd say we are closer to lightweight than ultralight. We just don't have the money for truly ultralight gear right now. I also bring luxuries like a camp chair, external battery, and camera setup. Usually we leave the house fully loaded at 20-25lbs with food and water. (depending on hoy many days we hike of course, an overnighter may be only 15lbs or so)

After we get our teaching careers started I hope to get those weights down much further, but for right now it's very manageable. I need a full hip replacement (at 29!) so the lighter we go the better.
 

Jan A

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Well if it's any help I've seen an 82 year old out on a multi night trip before! I don't even blink twice when I see people in their 70's up there.

I'd say we are closer to lightweight than ultralight. We just don't have the money for truly ultralight gear right now. I also bring luxuries like a camp chair, external battery, and camera setup. Usually we leave the house fully loaded at 20-25lbs with food and water. (depending on hoy many days we hike of course, an overnighter may be only 15lbs or so)

After we get our teaching careers started I hope to get those weights down much further, but for right now it's very manageable. I need a full hip replacement (at 29!) so the lighter we go the better.
Do it while you can & when you can & while you can see well. You not only lose strength but you lose being nimble as you get older. Have more hikes. You have miles to see!! I so enjoy the photos!
 
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