Last Little Bit

Cora Lakes to Isberg Pass Trailhead (5 miles, +200/-1,700 feet). Today was pretty simple: a downhill hike back to the car.  But it still had its moments. Here’s a map of the whole trip:  

Isberg Pass

Switchbacks above Lyell Fork to Cora Lakes (15 miles, +1,900/-3,100 feet). We awoke to beautiful light on the Clark Range in the distance. And below we could hear the Lyell Fork rushing down to the Merced over steep, vast, and impossibly smooth granite slabs. Soon we packed up and headed into the woods.  Today we…

Lyell Fork

Lake 10217 to Lake 11311 and back then downstream to Isberg Pass Trail (10 miles, +2,300/-2,700 feet). Today we started with a day hike to explore the upper Lyell Fork.  I’ve mapped it on caltopo, along with our trip yesterday through Bench Canyon: For the most part route finding was straightforward, except the path from…

Bench Canyon

Hemlock Crossing to Lyell Fork of the Merced (10 miles, +4400/-1800 feet). I was hoping a cold morning would reduce the bug pressure, but we didn’t really have one.  The temperatures only dropped into the high 50s so the little bloodsuckers were more than happy to greet us as we exited our tents. We had…

Hemlock Crossing

Isberg Pass Trailhead to Hemlock Crossing (9 miles +2400/-1900 feet). Ever since we had to alter our Sierra High Route section hike last year, MixMaster and I have wanted to go to Bench Canyon and Lyell Fork.  It is supposed to be one of the most remote and beautiful parts of the Sierra. This summer,…

The Gallatin Crest

Gallatin Crest to Cliff Creek Trail (13 miles, +1,700/-5,200 feet). Today was a tale of two trails.  It was the best of trails, it was the worst of trails…. Last night we did not get as much rain as I expected.  It was enough to make it cozy sleeping in the tent but not so…

Hyalite Creek Trail

Hyalite Creek Trail to Crater Lake (12 miles, +4,500/-2,000 feet). My buddy UltraShuffle called me a few months ago saying he had a wedding in Bozeman, Montana coming up, and could we please go hiking in Glacier National Park? Sure, no problem! So I designed a trip, we went back and forth on the details,…

Sand Point Loop

West Ridge Trail to Aptos Creek Fire Road (12 miles, +2400/-2400 feet). My buddy MixMaster recently moved to NorCal, so I went up to see him and his family after they got settled in.  And of course we had to hike!  He showed me a nice loop in Nisene Marks State Park.  It was so…

Slip Slidin’ Away

Red Cones to Horseshoe Lake (6 miles, +1,500/-1,200 feet). Today was super chill.  We rented a place in Mammoth for tonight, but check in was not until 4pm, so we took our time getting up.  We had a long breakfast, and then Geo, Bee’s Knees, Ultrashuffle, and I climbed up to the top of Red…

Red Cones

Fox Meadow to Red Cones (12 miles, +3,400 feet/-1,100 feet). Today we thought we might only make it to Rainbow Falls to camp.  But that area is very close to the developed areas around Reds Meadow, and it is dusty and mostly in a burn zone.  I was hopeful we would have enough energy to…

Fox Meadow

Marsh Lake to Fox Meadow (10 miles, +900/-3,500 feet). I finally slept well last night.  I was still having flashbacks to my nearly-fatal river crossing, but it only took about an hour to mellow out and drift away. I was up before dawn with Ultrashuffle, sitting by the fire and making coffee. Finder found a…

Long Canyon

Marsh Lake Trail to Long Canyon and return (9 miles, +1,800/-1,100 feet). I had a really tough time falling asleep last night. I kept replaying the nearly-fatal river crossing in my head, over and over.  My worst memory was me just holding onto the trunk, falling around on the surface of the water, watching my…