Monday, July 6, 2009

Mineral King Loop #2

Atop Sawtooth Pass

For the second year in a row, we've done a 2 1/2 day backpacking trip in Mineral King over the 4th of July weekend. This area of Sequoia National Park is accessible by a narrow, windy, dead-end road that takes you to what we refer to as "Backpacker's Paradise."

Mineral King Valley

Last year, we did the southern 30 mile loop of Franklin Pass, Soda Creek, Lost Canyon and returning over Sawtooth Pass (trip report and photos). This year, we hiked the northern loop including Timber Gap, Black Rock Pass, Little Five Lakes, and repeating the section with Lost Canyon and Sawtooth Pass.

Mineral King Loops

As usual, it's intoxicating to get away and reflect, cut loose from all responsibility and soak in the magnificence of the Sierra. Our photos, of course, do no justice.

Relaxing at Camp

Lauren Crosses the Snowfield

But our trip wasn't without challenge as well. This year, our loop was similar in mileage, although a bit more rugged, with significantly more elevation gain and loss. Lauren's new insulin also took some getting used to, which slowed our progress down when her blood sugars were too low to hike. Hiking can take a lot of effort, but we love it, and love experiencing these spectacular wild places.

Sean with Ray-Way Pack

We met a few interesting folks, one of them being Sean, while on our way into the Little Five Lakes Basin. When we passed, I said "Nice pack," and we stopped to chat about sewing gear. He's showing off the Ray-Way pack that he sewed with additional zipper and ice axe loops of his own design.

Our Camp by Columbine Lake

Our lightweight packs and gear that we sewed for the A.T. are still going strong. Even though we carry a shelter, the weather was mild so we didn't use it either night — but we don't regret carrying it since it's only one pound. This time we also carried an ice axe, which wasn't entirely necessary, but it was nice to have for a couple of the snowfields.

Adam and Jasmine Take in the Alpenglow

Although our weekend was exciting, it might not compare to our friends Matt & Kim who stayed here in town to deliver their healthy baby, Noah. Congratulations guys! Can't wait to meet him.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

4th of July Trip


We're headed out in less than an hour for some fresh air, adventure and refreshment in the Sierra. Looks like the weather is going to be 70s high /30s low. Alrght!

Here's a interactive map from NOAA where you can click on the exact spot you'll be for a local forecast;