Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 23, 2011

Start: 819
End: 834

Water, water everywhere.

After last night sleeping (kinda) on the snow for the first (and hopefully only time) this trip, we dropped quite a bit of elevation out of the wintry wonderland and walked into spring, just at the peak of the thaw. Water was flowing down sheer granite faces, cascading over waterfalls, and charging down the river channel in full force white water. At one point water even flowed over the river's bank and onto the trail. That wasn't the only place where the trail was flooded however. There were many "seasonal" streams that seemingly came from nowhere and ran down the trail at many locations. At one such place, I was walking along in the foot deep water of the trail and almost stepped on a 6" trout. Welcome to water world.

I don't mean to make it sound like the water is a bad thing though, the waterfalls and bank-full rivers are breathtaking and awe inspiring in their beauty and raw power. And it's great to be able to only carry one liter of water for drinking instead of five.

As we followed the Palisades River down to its confluence with the Middle Fork of the Kings River, we got to the point where the ground was more bare than snow covered and it seemed like we walked into an entirely different place. Everything was green, there is grass on the ground, ferns, other ground cover, and even quaking aspen. There were also a few meadows and some wildflowers including paintbrush.

Where the two rivers came together, we turned North and headed up the Middle Fork of the Kings River. It was some of the most beautiful scenery I've yet seen. It's basically how I would have pictured the Sierras in summer would look. We continued up the river until getting to the point where snow started overtaking the ground again and found a dry place to camp with Blister, Top Shelf, Wired, Pine, and Eggman. We are set up 5 miles from Muir Pass which we will do in the morning and then hike another 10 miles to camp just before the Evolution Creek crossing which is supposed to be one of the most challenging of the entire trail.

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