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TR: Road's End to Dusy Basin, back down via Middle Fork

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:23 pm
by RodofJ
Drove up to Roads end last Friday morning and started hiking around 10:00. Following the sierra high route to Dusy Basin and then heading back down along the middle fork of the Kings. Made it to Grouse Lake which I loved - pretty, fun fishing, and all by myself. Little sleep + driving + a lot of uphill made for a long day. It was a bit windy and cloudy.
GrouseLake (Small).JPG
Looking back over Grouse Lake in the morning:
GrouseLake (2) (Small).JPG
I went real slowly the second day, stopping to fish at some places and eventually stopping around 4:00 at Horseshoe Lakes. Around the time I realized (I think) there were no fish in the lake I also realized someone else was camped there, but I was too lazy to pack up and head on. Pretty spot, though:
HorseshoeLakes (Small).JPG
Third day I tried to make up for the short previous day. Great view from Windy Ridge:
WindyRidge (Small).JPG
I thought the view from Red Pass was incredible. None of my pictures really came close to capturing it:(
Marion Lake was a beautiful color:
MarionLake (Small).JPG
Headed up towards frozen lake pass (I think this is looking up towards the pass). Coming at the end of the day that pass was pretty tedious and tiring. I was pretty exhausted by the time I got to down; I camped at the first reasonable spot I found down in upper basin.
LakeBasin (Small).JPG
Fourth day started out on the John Muir Trail. I ran into a ton of people who were coming up Mather Pass. Hiking along Palisades Lakes I was looking up towards Cirque Pass thinking, "I'm going up there?". Looking back towards Palisades:
Palisades (Small).JPG
From Potluck Pass:
FromPotluckPass (Small).JPG
Pretty "snaking" lake, as promised in the book:
PalisadeBasin (Small).JPG
Random pic:
PalisadeBasin(2) (Small).JPG
After a long day the end was in sight. As usual though, it took me a longer than I expected to make it all the way down and find a campsite.
DusyBasin (Small).JPG
Fifth day: I'm expecting a quick jaunt back to the start on trails. Not really with any basis, I just assumed it would be real quick, basically a trail in forest following the river south. Not exactly. The trail headed lost a ton of elevation, kind of a lot of steps that I don't really love. Pretty views but it took a while to get to the King's River. The beginning of that trail was kind of what I expected; pretty mellow with some nice campsites, just kind of following the river.
MiddleForkWaterfall (Small).JPG
Attachment limit? Continued...

Re: TR: Road's End to Dusy Basin, back down via Middle Fork

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:38 pm
by RodofJ
Then it gets to be more of a real canyon; the trail's sort of constantly going up and down along the canyon wall. Some parts were a bit overgrown; it wasn't bad but it was kind of close to being pretty annoying. Other parts were seriously-built trail along the canyon wall. Awesome views of the river along the way.
MiddleFork (Small).JPG
Devil's Washbowl, I presume:
DevilsWashbowl (Small).JPG
I camped where my map showed the trail splitting: heading southeast towards granite pass or southwest to stay along the river. Sort of strange, there was a sign that I presume showed that split, except it only pointed towards granite pass, and I really didn't see much of a trail heading in the other direction. Maybe it would have just taken a bit of looking... but I was glad the one I was following seemed very clear.

Sixth day I headed up towards Granite Pass. Nothing real spectacular. I didn't see anyone all day (last people I saw were a bit after I started down the middle fork). Made it over the pass and camped at Granite Lake.
GraniteLake (Small).JPG
GraniteLakeNight (Small).JPG
Thursday morning I woke up and headed back down to Road's end. Towards the end that trail got hot and boring! I passed a group of three girls heading up and thought they were in for a not-so-fun day, like it was getting really hot. Funny thing is once I got back I stopped at Cedar Grove. I'm guessing that a few weeks ago that place would have sucked: like it would be swarming with people, cars, etc... But now it was basically empty. I got a salad and sat by myself in a chair next to the river; it cooled off to some kind of perfect temperature and I took a nap listening to river; the whole scene was like the realization of a one of those relaxation tapes. It was a pretty nice way to sort of decompress or something, and prepare for the crappy drive home. I was killing time to try to miss LA traffic well. Which of course failed. So a few hours later I found myself at a dead stop at like 7:30 on the freeway in LA, staring at cars and like 100 billboards for personal injury lawyers and boob jobs, which feltlike some dystopian realization from Back to the Future III. Or something like that. Anyway, I like the hiking more than the driving:)

Re: TR: Road's End to Dusy Basin, back down via Middle Fork

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:56 pm
by ryanerb
Wow, true escape from the rat race of life, hard to imagine such extremes actually exist!

Great TR, thank you for taking the time to compile it. Some great river shots, etc.

Very happy to hear you had a good successful trip!!

Re: TR: Road's End to Dusy Basin, back down via Middle Fork

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:22 pm
by Flamingo
Thanks for sharing the TR, and the great photos.

On your return hike south, how was the ford of Palisade Creek?

Re: TR: Road's End to Dusy Basin, back down via Middle Fork

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:13 pm
by Space Cat
Fantastic report. Can’t wait to see the terain for myself!

Re: TR: Road's End to Dusy Basin, back down via Middle Fork

Posted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:07 pm
by sekihiker
Great report for a trip through country I love.

Re: TR: Road's End to Dusy Basin, back down via Middle Fork

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:06 am
by RodofJ
Flamingo wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:22 pm
Thanks for sharing the TR, and the great photos.

On your return hike south, how was the ford of Palisade Creek?
Everything was pretty dry (I'd assume that's pretty normal for this time of year). I don't remember that spot in particular, but none of the crossings were any kind of issue; I don't think I even took my boots off anywhere.

Re: TR: Road's End to Dusy Basin, back down via Middle Fork

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:16 pm
by cgundersen
Wow! Nice loop; it looks like you used Knapsack pass to get into Dusy basin, but I couldn't be sure. Also, was there any sign for the old, Cartridge Creek trail that leads up to Marion Lake? Old maps show the trail, but the rumors I've heard is that it's not a fun route. I've never mounted the mojo to give it a try..........Cameron

Re: TR: Road's End to Dusy Basin, back down via Middle Fork

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:28 am
by RodofJ
cgundersen wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:16 pm
Wow! Nice loop; it looks like you used Knapsack pass to get into Dusy basin, but I couldn't be sure. Also, was there any sign for the old, Cartridge Creek trail that leads up to Marion Lake? Old maps show the trail, but the rumors I've heard is that it's not a fun route. I've never mounted the mojo to give it a try..........Cameron
I pretty much followed Roper's route, so I went from Potluck pass, around Barrett lake, to Knapsack pass. I don't specifically recall the area around Marion, but in general there was lots of "trail" along the entire route. Some kind of previously-built but presumably not maintained, some places where tons of people had obviously been, others where there were just a few footprints here and there. Least fun for me was probably walking down from Dusy Basin to the JMT, and just the tail end back to Road's end. Frozen Lakes and Cirque Pass, I think, were a bit tedious. The rest was pretty nice, I though.