Through a Wood, Darkly

Lodgepole Campground to Tokopah Falls and back (3.4 miles, +600/-600 feet).

Back in August I promised ZoZoZoom I would take her hiking for her birthday.  So this weekend we drove up to Sequoia.  It was cloudy and there were even some rumors of snow in the forecast, but we thought that would be part of the fun.

We arrived at Lodgepole Campground and we wanted a short acclimatization hike, so we decided to do this gentle walk up the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River.

Here we go

We got a late start around 5pm but we thought we’d have plenty of time since sunset was around 6:30pm and it usually takes an hour to get dark after that.  So we pressed on through the darkening woods.


The trail followed the river and was nicely graded with occasional steps.

Into the woods!
Mountain view
Nice steps

Soon we started going through these crazy beautiful sections with yellowed ferns.

Fields of yellowed ferns
These are beautiful!

I was really surprised by the color.

I have not hiked much in the Sierra in the fall, but I should definitely do more!

Towards the end of the trail we started coming out of the forest and up into a rocky granite cirque.

Between a rock and a hard place
Almost there

The waterfall was just a trickle but you could tell how grand the scene must be in the spring.

Tokopah panorama

The sun was setting, and as it did, something amazing happened—for the first time all day, it came out!  I can’t fully describe how vivid the colors were in that moment.

Just before
Here comes the sun
Just after

It was too beautiful to leave. I was worried about getting back but ZoZoZoom asked if we could stay just 5 minutes more. So we soaked it in before heading back down the trail.

Sunset came quickly.

A brilliant woody silhouette

And before we knew it we were hiking in the dark.  I had forgotten my headlamp back in San Diego, but the light on my iPhone worked just fine for the last half mile.

Where are the breadcrumbs?

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