Kaweah Basin and Beyond September 2017

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alpinemike
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Re: Kaweah Basin and Beyond September 2017

Post by alpinemike » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:05 pm

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Re: Kaweah Basin and Beyond September 2017

Post by alpinemike » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:12 pm

Alright Week 2

Day 8- Colby Lake to Roaring River Ranger Station
We woke up to a bitterly cold morning but it was beautifully sunny. The scenery was phenomenal and the hiking was all downhill all day! What a nice treat.. Also it was the first full day of trail since the 2nd day so that was nice. After all the loose and treacherous rock it was nice to be on a trail for a change. The snow coming down from Colby the previous day was not an issue so neither was the snow this morning. We soaked in all the glorious views in Cloud Canyon which Dan really enjoyed. It would be my 3rd time staying at the Roaring River Ranger Station. Of course no ranger was there. But we had a grand fire since it was cold and we finally could have one!
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Re: Kaweah Basin and Beyond September 2017

Post by alpinemike » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:20 pm

Day 9- Roaring River Ranger Station to Ranger Lake
Well we had to change our plans today because of the snow and cold. Our original plan was to head up Deadman Canyon from the Ranger Station and go up the Elizabeth Pass Trail to Horn Col and then out Pterodactyl to Moose Lake. From there it would be back to Crescent Meadow. With all the horror stories Rogue had told me of the snow on the Deadman Canyon head wall I decided it would be wiser to avoid that fresh snow that would not have melted out much in that day. Could we have made it? Oh yes I'm sure we could have considering we had spikes and axes and good gear, but I doubt we would have enjoyed it very much since it was very cold as it was and we would be heading up very high again. As much as I wanted to see that area again I knew we would have to wait... so we began the long march out to Ranger Lake via Sugarloaf. If you've been through Sugarloaf you know it's a trudge and there's nothing fun or pleasant about it. Especially in mid summer under the heat and bright sun with a sandy trail. Fortunately for us the trail was more damp with less dust and a lot less sun and it was downright cold! So a different experience but one that was fortunately more pleasant than my previous 2 times through it. Yes.. this was my third time trudging through there. It would be my 3rd night at Ranger Lake. We got there quite late and tired and very ready to get out of the cold. I was exceptionally thankful for no mosquitoes since my experiences here before were frightful. WE once again had a grand fire with a glorious feast for dinner since we'd be heading out early tomorrow.
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Re: Kaweah Basin and Beyond September 2017

Post by alpinemike » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:26 pm

Day 10- Ranger Lake to Lodgepole
Another hike I had done twice now. And this would be my third time. It was a very cold and damp night and we were itching in the morning for the sun to warm things up. We weren't in a rush today since we didn't want to drive out that day. Dan wanted to sight-see a little more the following day and I was perfectly happy being out here. So we took our time getting back to Lodgepole that day. An easy day with lots of elevation drop that day which made me realize the far more preferred method to get into the Cloud and Deadman Canyons would be via Rowell Meadow.. I have no idea why I never gave it much thought before. Hmmmm.. Anyways once back in Lodgepole we just needed to get to Dan's car which was parked at Wolverton since that's where we figured we'd come out at. We were able to secure a ride after a while from a family in a truck. They were very helpful. Lodgepole sure wasn't very busy this time of year and especially after the storm and cold spell hit. Once we got to Dan's car we drove to Crescent Meadow to get mine and then made full circle back to the Lodgepole campground where we would camp that night. Showers were taken and pizza was eaten! Oh how happy we were to be out of the cold and desolate areas. Dan is not a fan of cheese but he devoured the pizza! I slept on the camp bench while Dan set up his tent. I enjoyed the view up into the stars.
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Re: Kaweah Basin and Beyond September 2017

Post by alpinemike » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:31 pm

Day 11- Sightseeing and Back Home
Today we enjoyed some sightseeing around the Sequoia's and checked out Moro Rock. Dan hadn't been here in many years so it was practically new to him. I had wanted to climb Moro Rock as a kid years ago but that didn't happen so I was happy I finally got to do it. Beautiful up there no doubt! After that we headed out of the park and got some Quizno's in Fresno. Then it was back home for the both of us.. with fairly long drives back into NorCal.

And there you have it... An incredible trip into some extremely rugged country. It was a tough trip, one of the hardest I had done in a while with lots of consecutive days of challenging terrain and very cold weather at the end. We also pulled some long mileage days that made it that much harder but we saw so much and I wouldn't trade it for anything! Some areas I'm sure I'll be back to but who knows when! So till next time...
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Re: Kaweah Basin and Beyond September 2017

Post by Mike M. » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:26 am

Awesome report and photos. I spent two nights at Picket Guard Lake in late August 2017, just a few weeks before your visit. I pitched my tent exactly where you did. it's one of my favorite places in the Sierra. Your photos bring back a flood of memories from 2017 and earlier years. Thank you for posting.

Mike M.

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Re: Kaweah Basin and Beyond September 2017

Post by jhfowler » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:31 am

Nice TR! I see several lakes near Picket Guard Peak -- which lake is Picket Guard Lake? Thanks!

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Re: Kaweah Basin and Beyond September 2017

Post by davidsheridan » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:23 am

Awesome TR!!!! Thank you for sharing. An epic adventure that was exciting for me to even read about! Got the chills following along on my screen 😛

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Re: Kaweah Basin and Beyond September 2017

Post by alpinemike » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:34 am

Nice TR! I see several lakes near Picket Guard Peak -- which lake is Picket Guard Lake? Thanks!
It's the last lake on the creek before the creek plunges down into the Kern-Kaweah River.

Yes it was a very chilly trip!
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Re: Kaweah Basin and Beyond September 2017

Post by LMBSGV » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:12 pm

Having been to most of your route a couple of times, it was a fun to see it so late in the season. When there, I’ve always wondered what Picket Creek lake, Colby Pass, etc. looked like with fresh snow. Since I never made it to Red Spur, I enjoyed the vicarious visit. Thanks for sharing.

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