Day 4: Columbine Pass

Grizzly Creek to Needleton (15 miles, +3,500/-5,000 feet). Today was our biggest day yet and we needed to be done by 3pm when we expected the train to arrive in Needleton. And just to make things a little more exciting, the weather forecast called for several inches of snow and 50 mile an hour winds…

Day 3: Sunlight Lake

Sunlight Lake day hike then Sunlight Creek to Grizzly Creek (14 miles +4,800/-4,700 feet). It was calm and very warm last night in our beautiful little Vallecito camp site.  Since we  were just doing a day hike up to Sunlight Lake and back and then had easy miles along the river later on, we slept…

Day 2: Up on the Divide

Highland Mary Lakes to Sunlight Creek (13 miles, +1,700/-4,600 feet). Although we camped on a bit of a slope last night, it was okay.  I only had to scooch back up hill inside my tent a couple of times. The wind also was not as bad as I thought it might be.  I could hear…

Day 1: Highland Mary Lakes

Elk Park to Highland Mary Lakes (10 miles, +4,000/-500 feet). When Ultrashuffle and I finished our High Sierra Trail yo-yo last year we immediately started talking about the next trip.  I love the Sierra and proposed a sequel, but Ultrashuffle was really drawn to the idea of a hike in Colorado.  So we decided to…

Day 6: A Long Day Back

Big Arroyo Junction to Crescent Meadow Trailhead (22.5 miles, +2,200/-4,500 feet). Today was a tale of two hikes.  The first part of the morning was wonderful with a short climb up to Kaweah Gap and then back down to Hamilton Lake to take a lovely swim.  After that it was a long, muggy, and, for…

Day 5: Hot Tub Time Machine

Junction Meadow to Big Arroyo (19.5 miles, +4,000/-2,500 feet). We both slept really well after our big 24 mile day to Whitney and back.  The lower elevation and our lovely campsite on spongey duff by a singing stream also probably helped.  We awoke refreshed and ready to go. The Kern River runs along a massive fault…

Day 4: A Moonlight Climb

Guitar Lake to Mount Whitney to Junction Meadow (24.4  miles, +3,500/-7,000 feet). Neither one of us could sleep much in anticipation of our alarms going off at 2am for our night hike up to Whitney Summit.  We actually got up a few minutes before the alarms to start packing and grab a bite before we…

Day 3: First Whitney Glimpse

Unnamed Lake at 10,900 feet to Guitar Lake (21 miles, +4,000/-3,500 feet). We awoke about 5:40am this morning.  The predawn light on the eastern horizon reflected on our lake as we packed up, ate breakfast, and got ready to go. We started making our way down towards the Colby Pass Trail.  Vegetation became more common,…

Day 2: Pants Pass

Big Hamilton Lake to Unnamed Lake at 10,900 feet (11 miles, +4,000/-1,200 feet). Today was a really big day for me.  It was not only some of the most beautiful mileage on the High Sierra Trail, but it was also my first experience with cross country traveling in the Sierra.  Now I am hooked! UltraShuffle…

Day 1: Beat the Moon!

Crescent Meadow Trailhead to Big Hamilton Lake (16.6 miles, +2,000/-1,000 feet). The drive from San Diego to Sequoia is long.  We left this morning around 4am and arrived at the Backcountry Permit desk around 11am.  We originally were planning to camp overnight at Lodgepole Campground to acclimatize, but when we discovered there were two open…