Sep 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm #1279099
Well it started out with Jack Elliot wanting to do a trip into SEKI as he wanted to see Forester Pass. An email and a call later I am on the hunt to set up a Sept. trip that would include going over Forester and seeing some other sights. After some long and hard planning which included going over Milly, Lucys Footpath or Harrison Pass we settled on going into Center Basin via Kearsarge Pass, then over Junction Pass, Shepherds Pass, and then over Forester and back of Kearsarge. Yup we can do it said I….The word gets out that we would like some company and Bob Gross and Rick Horne jump at the chance! Well here is how the story goes. With all the planning and getting permits we thought we could do this. BUT the issue became apparent on the first day that 3 middle aged guys that are in ok shape sometimes need a little more oomph to get it done. The running joke of the trip was don't believe Kenny he lies….as Rick so often jokingly said..or to steal from Jack. So instead of tackling all of those magnificent passes we settled on Kearsarge and Forester….well two of the four settled on that one. You see we did not end up in Center Basin but at the trail junction to have an off day and let those that wanted to go up Forester the chance to do so. I just want to add that I enjoyed everyones comany and I had a ball!!! Thank you guys for allowing me to share such great company! Also thanks to Rick for driving. As much as it broke my heart and I am sure Bob's, we were not up to the challenge of what I had layed out. You see, I love The Sierras and I want to see it all, and sometimes my eyes get bigger than my stomach so to speak. Jack and Bob both climbed up to Forester Pass while Rick and I hung out at Bubb Creek and enjoyed a fantastic off day. Here is the pictures!
Pre hike dinner at Onion Valley. L-R Jack Elliot, Bob Gross, Ken Helwig
7:30 start time, shaking the cobwebs out and getting ready to climb Kearsarge Pass. Note Jack is already smelling his underarms…
On the way up Kearsarge Pass
Getting closer to the pass….Kearsarge is 11,700 feet and is described as one of the more easier passes to go over to get into Kings Canyon. Right……..
Me atop Kearsarge Pass
Jack playing musclman on the pass
Jack coming down Kearsarge Pass on the Eastern Side heading towards Kearsarge Lakes
Looking towards the headwaters of Bubbs Creek and Forester Pass
Camp for the first night. Bob had a Hyperlight Gear tarp, Rick with his MLD tarp, I had my Gossamergear SpinnTwinn, and Jack with his Z Packs Hexamid…Upper Viddette Meadows
Bubbs Creek….something tells me Cary Bertoncini would have loved fishing this!
Bear scratches in a tree
Looking up towards Forester Pass
Love on the trail
This balloon was found near Forester Pass. It was some kind of commercial balloon for advertising. Dunno where it came from though. Some people near our camp was cutting it up to carry it out
I found this while hiking up the headwaters of Bubbs Creek. I yelled out THANK YOU TRAIL ANGELS!!!!!!!!!!
lightweight water treatment on Bubbs Creek
Found three GG poles on the JMT….One was broken, the other was snapped and the third was damaged. We took them home with us…..strange. Why not CARRY out your garbage!
Rick Horne on the trail!
Heading into Kearsarge Lakes Basin
Things I came away with on this trip. Firstly, I can and will go lighter for a trip of this duration. I started this hike with 23 lbs and I know that I can go lighter. I am already taking things out of my pack. I should and will carry less food as I came home with way more than I thought I would. All in all, this was a fantastic trip.Sep 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm #1777544
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Great pictures Ken. Sounds like you had a excellent time with your crew! I am finally a working stiff and jealous of your trip.
–J.W.–Sep 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm #1777546
@davidpcvsamoaLocale: East Bay, CA
Glad you had a great time and came back safe. I wish I could have joined you guys for this one. Thanks for sharing the pictures and report. I now think of Cary too when I see a good fishing spot. I look forward to more pictures and commentary!!Sep 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm #1777551
Thanks Jay, it was fun. The last week of my vacation for the year!
Dave, yeah too bad you could not make it. It was fun! I hear ya on Cary and fishing spots!Sep 8, 2011 at 7:15 pm #1777575
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
I'm glad you guys had a good time, Ken. Even the shortened version took you through some beautiful country. It made me a little nostalgic to see the Bubbs Creek drainage again. Haven't been there in many years and it's as beautiful as ever. Thanks for sharing your pics.Sep 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm #1777577
Your welcome Tom, I was really sad that we were a bit ambitious. Though I will be back next year with a tour of the Great Western Divide or a tour of The Kaweahs. I really wanted to check out the lake you suggested! Thank you for your suggestions as it did not go unwarranted.
On a side note, I saw more ULA packs than I have ever seen. I love it!! Being one of the first ULA customers it made me proud to see so many out there!Sep 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm #1777579
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
Looks like a great time in a beautiful spot. Thanks.Sep 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm #1777592
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"I will be back next year with a tour of the Great Western Divide or a tour of The Kaweahs. I really wanted to check out the lake you suggested!"
Hey Ken, that's what "next times" are for. Shave that pack down, train up a little, and I'm betting you'll get there next time around. And appreciate it all the more.Sep 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm #1777595
I would have called it four days and three nights. Whatever.
Next year, start from Road's End and go over Avalanche Pass. That'll get your heart going. Then do Elizabeth Pass, Kaweah Gap, Kern Hot Spring, Colby Pass, and then Avalanche Pass again on the way out.
–B.G.–Sep 8, 2011 at 8:51 pm #1777609
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
You guys live in beautiful country, looks like a postcard setting at every turn. Thanks for sharing this Ken.Sep 8, 2011 at 9:42 pm #1777637
Still seeking a recipe for skewered squirrel.
How about a recipe for onion-fried butterfly?
–B.G.–Sep 9, 2011 at 10:19 am #1777790
I made it!
We are going where?
Jack working on our only campfire. (Only night sleeping below 10,000 feet)
Slept under the stars most nights. Setup and slept under the tarp the first night. Set it up the second night thinking it might rain, but slept under the stars.Sep 9, 2011 at 10:42 am #1777795
This was the kitchen setup I used. The others used small canister stoves.
Most nights I slept under the stars using my Nunatak quilt and Ti Goat bivy.
Three of us used Steripens. Bob used a gravity filter.
Sunrise on day two.
Looking towards Forester Pass.
Ken and Jack preparing dinner.
Jack dreaming of whats to come.
Looking down canyon with one of the Kearsarge Lakes in the foreground.
The last full day on the trail Bob, Ken and I explored back into the Kearsarge Lakes Basin.
Ken wouldn't stop until we reached the highest of the Kearsarge Lakes and with Bob as our leader I wasn't sure we would ever head back to camp!
A view of the Kearsarge Lakes area. We spent our last night here. Probably my favorite part of the trip exploring this area.Sep 9, 2011 at 10:47 am #1777799
Moon rise over the Kearsarge Lakes.
The only Marmot I saw the whole trip.Sep 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm #1778021
@jumpbackjackLocale: Armpit of California
I guess it's my turn. I'm still trying to recover.I started with the heaviest pack weight, which came in at 25 1/2 lbs, but when we got back it only weighed 17 1/2 lbs and that was including half of my food I didn't eat. I'm with Ken, next time less food, I never seem to eat when I hike, and I always bring back at least half the food I take.
Onion Valley camp site 1st night r-l Bob, Rick, Ken
Heart Lake on the way up to Kearsage Pass
I beat you to the top!, nanner, nanner, nanner, but wait Bob beat me, what a machine that Bob!
Bull Frog Lake.
There's a nice buck in this pic, can you find it?
We're headed waaaaayyy back there somewhere.
On the way up to Forrester Pass I saw this water fall. I called it " Wish Bone Falls" I don't know if it really has a name, just looked like a wish bone to me.
This trail looked like you would just walk off into space, those guys that build trails take their job serious.
I think I'm Hallucinating, is that whipp topping?, it's so hot, where's the top? oh it's just snow, how much further, am I there yet?
I made it. WHEWWWW!!! WHHOOOWW!! 13,200 FT with the sign to prove it.
Back to camp in time to catch the sun set and some Alpen glow.
More pic's coming.Sep 9, 2011 at 10:55 pm #1778023
"…but wait Bob beat me, what a machine that Bob!"
It's not how old you are that counts. It's how old you think you are!"
Just think how much weight I saved by not carrying any trekking poles to slow me down.
–B.G.–Sep 10, 2011 at 7:38 am #1778098
@aaronmbLocale: Central Valley California
Looks like a great time, gentlemen. Thanks very much for sharing.Sep 10, 2011 at 3:05 pm #1778206
Great photos guys!Sep 20, 2011 at 9:01 pm #1781449
@jumpbackjackLocale: Armpit of California
I thought I would add some more pics.
Kat, I took this one just for you. Looks good enough to eat.
Come on guy's were almost there, I can smell the cheese burgers from here!
Kearsage Pinnacales at sunrise.
Saw these deer as we were headed back over Kearsage to the trail head.
Now that'a what I call "Room with a view"
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