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Steve, Katherine, and Norah | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Sierra Nevada Backpack July 2020: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Sierra Nevada Backpack July 2020: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Our Sierra Nevada backpacking trip in brief: We traipsed around the mountains for seven days. We hiked close to 70 miles with 11,200+ feet elevation gain. We saw some awesome scenery, gorgeous lakes, abundant wildflowers, and cute marmots (and pikas!). Several times we were mosquito buffets. We didnít like that. Nor were we fond of off trail passes that were essentially rock treadmills. We learned that a sixteen mile day can precipitate a breakdown of the family unit. But we survived and overall it was a great trip in the mountains (although the pre-teen might have different thoughts on that! lol).

This was our final itinerary, in and out of Crescent Meadow in Sequoia NP.

Day 1: Crescent Meadow to Bearpaw Meadow (11.3 miles, 940 feet elevation gain)
Day 2: Bearpaw Meadow to Nine Lake Basin (8.0 miles, 3300 feet elevation gain)
Day 3: Off trail over Pants Pass (5-6 miles, 1500 feet elevation gain/loss)
Day 4: Kaweah Basin to Roaring River via Colby Pass (16 miles, 1570/4570 feet elevation gain/loss)
Day 5: Roaring River to Elizabeth Pass basin (7 miles, 1920 feet elevation gain)
Day 6: Elizabeth Pass to Buck Canyon (10 miles, 2000/4090 feet elevation gain/loss)
Day 7: Buck Canyon to Crescent Meadow (10 miles, 550 feet elevation loss)

This is our route on CalTopo - the off trail sections are approximate.

Other:

- The majority of the pictures here were taken on a Canon 5D with a 24-105 mm lens (f/4). The remaining pictures were taken with a Google Pixel 3 phone.

- Steve and I both carried bear cans (we both have Hyperlite packs) and Norah decided she had to carry three large books (you can guess who ended up carrying these by the end of the trip). Our estimates of pack weights at the beginning were Steve: 40 lbs, Kathy: 30 lbs, and Norah: 20 lbs.

- Normally we would do a trip like this in late August/early September, so early July was different for us. Luckily it was a low snowpack year so we had no issues with snow or water crossings. We loved all the wildflowers. Didnít love the mosquitoes at times (it was hit or miss with them - we had days where they werenít an issue at all).

- Weather was 100% clear this trip. We never had to use our rain gear or rain fly, but also the lack of clouds and the direct light wasnít the best for pictures. It felt pretty hot at times, even at higher elevations.

- Wildlife was pretty standard: Steve saw two bears (on the trail, they ran away), we saw several deer, one large rattlesnake, multiple marmots and pikas, and while we never saw one, we frequently heard the low huffs of a grouse. Established camps were all clean and we had no problems with bears or smaller critters.

- Iím guessing it was a combination of Corona and the trails we were on, but overall we saw very few people on this trip. Some days we saw more marmots than people (especially the days where we saw zero people). The most people we saw were on the first/last days in and out of Crescent Meadow.

- We still had plenty of leftover almonds. When will we ever learn?!
Day 1: Crescent Meadow to Bearpaw Meadow
:: Day 1: Crescent Meadow to Bearpaw Meadow ::
Day 2: Bearpaw Meadow to Nine Lake Basin
:: Day 2: Bearpaw Meadow to Nine Lake Basin ::
Day 3: Off trail over Pants Pass
:: Day 3: Off trail over Pants Pass ::
Day 4: Kaweah Basin to Roaring River via Colby Pass
:: Day 4: Kaweah Basin to Roaring River via Colby Pass ::
Day 5: Roaring Meadow to Elizabeth Pass Basin
:: Day 5: Roaring Meadow to Elizabeth Pass Basin ::
Day 6: Elizabeth Pass to Buck Canyon
:: Day 6: Elizabeth Pass to Buck Canyon ::
Day 7: Buck Canyon to Crescent Meadow
:: Day 7: Buck Canyon to Crescent Meadow ::
Sequoia National Park: The Groves
:: Sequoia National Park: The Groves ::