June, 2003

Devon, Derek and Daryl went on a 6-day, 60-mile backpacking trip in the Sierras (mainly in Kings Canyon). We started at Onion Valley, near Independence, CA. This is a little north of Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the 48 contiguous states. Here are some pictures of that trip.

This shows our route. The red numbers show where we camped each night.

Ready to go, loaded for bear, at Onion Valley. The kids are still able to smile.

The first night, in the tent. Note the snow on the mountains and the lake in the background. We considered not bringing a tent, because of a good weather forecast. It turned out to be priceless because of mosquitos. They weren't bad here, but on later nights they almost drove us crazy while we were outside. (Our DEET was about 10 years old and not too effective anymore.)

Here's where I would have put the picture I should have taken of the bears that invaded our camp on the second morning. I had the camera in my pocket when I came back to camp and saw them, but the only thing I could think about was yelling and chasing them away. All of our food and trash was in bear-proof containers, so nothing was lost.

Crossing creeks by balancing on logs got to be pretty common...

... as did jumping from rock to rock.

This was our own private waterfall deep in the wilderness. As spectacular as many in Yosemite, but unadvertised and unattended. We were alone there for the half-hour or so that we paused.

This suspension bridge took a little away from the pure wilderness experience, but the river would have been very difficult to cross otherwise so we didn't complain. The kids felt like they were in an Indiana Jones movie, looking down through the widely spaced slats as they were swaying over 50 feet above the river.

This was on the 5th day, when we hiked 15 miles over a 12,000 foot pass. This was taken before we even hit the pass. It was a grueling day.

Hiking up towards Glen Pass. The lake below was still partly frozen over, but we were comfortable in short sleeves.

Getting close to Glen Pass, on the 5th day. This was perhaps even more dangerous than it looked – one slip and we would have slid several hundred feet onto rocks below.

Here we are at the top of Glen Pass at 12,000 feet, and this is the last picture in the camera. The Sierras extend into the distance behind us. We're very tired, but at least it's mostly downhill from here.

The next day we hiked out to the car, drove into town and had a shower and hamburger. They were both welcome pleasures, but there remained (and remains) a little wistful longing for the simple life of the trail, where goals are simple, clear and important.