Paradise Valley

18 October 2020 Upper Paradise Valley to Roads End (10 miles, +500/-2,000 feet). The name of this part of the Rae Lakes Loop always raises my expectations too much.  “Paradise” is mostly below treeline, so not exactly what someone who loves the Sierra is looking for.  Nonetheless, it *is* a pretty walk past the South…

The Good Stuff

17 October 2020 Junction Meadow to Upper Paradise Valley (21 miles, +4,000/-5,000 feet). Whee!!! Today is exactly the kind of day that I live for.  I started hiking before daybreak, was above treeline by sunrise, and spent most of the day gawking at barren rocky passes, gorgeous alpine lakes, massive granite domes, and intensely yellow…

Bubbs Creek

16 October 2020 Roads End to Junction Meadow (10.3 miles, +3,000/-500 feet). I had several trips planned to the Sierra this August and September.  But then California caught on fire, and I had to seek several alternatives in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.  Those trips have been great, but I was feeling really sad that I…

Day 3: Fifteen Miles!

21 July 2020 Evolution Lake to Florence Lake Trail (14.6 miles, +800/-3,900 feet). Today was another monsoon day in the Sierra, but we were far from any peaks and our only job was down, down, down, so we stayed dry.  We made great time (Bee’s Knees loves “bonus miles!”) and set ourselves up nicely to get our…

Day 2: Storm on Muir Pass

20 July 2020 JMT Bishop Pass Trail to Evolution Lake (12.1 miles, +3,500/-1,400 feet). Even though we were at lower elevation and in a nice campsite last night, most of us had trouble sleeping.  I was especially worried about this because today was quite possibly the most challenging day of the trip.  With monsoon conditions promising thunderstorms…

Day 1: Bishop Pass

19 July 2020 Long Lake to LeConte Canyon (9.9 miles, +1,600/-3,600 feet). Today we spent the whole day just getting to the John Muir Trail.  But the trail we were on over Bishop Pass was itself extremely beautiful in ways I did not expect—even though I’ve been here before! Sunrise on Long Lake was amazing.  I was…

Taboose Pass Trail

Taboose Pass to a mile past the Taboose Pass Trailhead (9 miles, +100/-7,000 feet). Today was down, down, down.  From my icy perch to the baking Owens Valley, it was a quick morning of extremes. I slept so hard last night!  I briefly woke up to see the sunset, the moonset, and the Milky Way,…

Pinchot Pass (Plus Three!)

Bull Lake to Taboose Pass(14 miles, +4,600/-2,900 feet). Today is a day I will never forget. It was really hard. It was maybe even harder than my solo trip over Forester Pass in the Spring of 2017. But it was way less scary. I knew what I was doing this time. Even so, it was…

Thunderbolt and Knapsack Pass

Dusy Basin to Thunderbolt Pass to Knapsack Pass to Bishop Pass Trailhead (15 miles, +3,300/-4,800 feet). We awoke this morning to a phenomenon I have never experienced.  One half of our tent had severe condensation and one half did not!  As it turns out, we had a heavy dew overnight, and the half of the…

Dusy Basin

Bishop Lakes Trailhead to Dusy Basin via Chocolate Lakes (13 miles, +3,600 feet, -2,000 feet). The weather yesterday looked just like the day before, so we decided to take a zero day in Bishop and wait for some sunshine.  It was an eerie day because the valley filled up with smoke from the Ferguson and Lions…

Day 4: A Peaceful Return

John Muir Trail campsite to Onion Valley Trailhead (7.8 miles, +1,600/-2,600 feet). We woke up early (as usual!) and hit the trail way before sunrise.  We did the short last bit of the Pacific Crest Trail before turning off towards Bullfrog Lake. The alpenglow was just settling in as we arrived at Bullfrog Lake, lighting up East…

Day 3: A Ridge with a View

Middle Paradise Valley to John Muir Trail campsite (17.1 miles, +5,200/-1,500 feet).   Today was the least enjoyable day of the trip, but I’m happy to report that it ended on a high note. We started from camp early, hoping to beat the heat and the bugs.  We beat neither!  By 8am it was buggy and steamy….