19 May 2022
Overholster Meadow to McConnel Meadow to Tunnel Meadow to Volcano Meadow to Little Whitney Meadow to Big Whitney Meadow
(20.1 miles, +3,600 / 2,900 feet).
Today was beautiful but lonely. I don’t know exactly why I’ve been struggling so much with solitude lately, but it is what it is.
I was originally planning to be out here for a week, but thoughts of home lured me off my planned route and back towards my starting point.
The day started out quite lovely with a stroll through Overholster Meadow
The terrain got complex again as I climbed a ridge to get over to McConnel Meadow, but I followed bear tracks over a small pass and soon I was in easy terrain.
Once I returned to the South Fork Kern I found a trail and signs of life.
It was nice to zone out on trail again after all the off trail travel I had been doing. It followed Tunnel Meadow which has some interesting rock outcroppings in it.
At the trail junction for the Whitney Meadows I found a large area called Tunnel Station with lots of infrastructure.
Shortly after I had to cross Golden Trout Creek where there were no rocks or logs to hop. But it was actually really nice to take off the shoes and lounge a bit after crossing.
I followed the trail to a cinder cone above Volcano Meadow and decided to climb it.
Walking the rim was a little tricky because it was steep and crumbly in places, but it was never worse than Class 2+/3-.
When I descended I needed to cross a lava field to return to the trail. Nothing like sharp pointy talus!
At Little Whitney Meadow I got a little turned around and ended crossing Golden Trout Creek twice more
It was a long 1500 foot climb to get up to the junction with the Rocky Basin Lakes Trail. I didn’t take any pictures and I felt pretty mopey. By the time I reached the junction, I decided to head home instead of continuing uphill to the lakes.
The trail turned east to head down to Big Whitney Meadow.
I decided to head for the eastern edge of the meadow and camp in the trees to get some protection from the cold wind, which had been getting stronger the last couple of hours.
My campsite actually worked out quite well, but I was so tired I didn’t get a shot of it.