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Steve, Katherine, and Norah | profile | all galleries >> Sierra Nevada Backpack July 2020: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks >> Day 1: Crescent Meadow to Bearpaw Meadow tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Day 1: Crescent Meadow to Bearpaw Meadow

Day 1: Crescent Meadow to Bearpaw Meadow

11.3 miles, 940 feet elevation gain

Day 1 of our trip was a pretty easy going day to ease us into our week. Even though it was eleven miles, there was little elevation gain and most of that came near the end from Buck Canyon to Bearpaw Meadow (610 feet). So most of the hike was a nice stroll. After leaving Crescent Meadow the trail opened up and the first part of the hike the trail traversed the mountainsides with open views. The scenery was nice, but it was so hazy from the air pollution and direct sun that it didnít photograph well. What was nice though was the abundant butterflies and flowers along the trail that we stopped often to admire. We typically take our backpacking vacations later in the season, so the explosion of flowers was a real treat (and on this day flowers >> mosquitoes, so it worked out). We also enjoyed the forests we hiked through, which are so different from what we are used to. Well, we live in the high desert now - so quite different from that. But even different from the forests in the Northeast we hiked for twenty years. We especially liked the large pine cones we frequently saw - the long and skinny ones from sugar pines and the shorter, chubby ones from either Jeffrey or ponderosa pines.

Bearpaw Meadow was fine - a sufficient but unremarkable campsite. No meadows to be seen (or any views for that matter), but good tent sites, water, and a bear box. Some fellow hikers had come through Little Bearpaw Meadow and spotted a bear, but luckily none came into camp. Steve would see two bears on our trip - both in this general area. One was above Bearpaw when we were coming down from the cutoff trail from Elizabeth Pass/Tamarack Lake - this one bolted as soon as it saw Steve on the trail and was long gone before Norah and I got there. The other was on our last day hiking back out on this same trail - it was on a mountainside foraging past Buck Canyon. Steve spotted him and waited for us, but by that time, the bear had ambled off.
Ready to hit the trail!
Ready to hit the trail!
Deerbrush
Deerbrush
Deerbrush
Deerbrush
Mountain misery
Mountain misery
Sugar pinecones
Sugar pinecones
Thimbleberry
Thimbleberry
Hydaspe fritillary
Hydaspe fritillary
Greenish blue butterfly
Greenish blue butterfly
Elderberry
Elderberry
Collomia grandiflora
Collomia grandiflora
Brodiaea elegans (elegant cluster lily)
Brodiaea elegans (elegant cluster lily)
Bearpaw Meadow campsite
Bearpaw Meadow campsite