drove straight to South Lake
trailhead and crashed out at one in the
morning, waking up to scenic views that were just a taste of what was
The group consensus was to plan for four nights,
Minutes into the hike I was nauseous and throwing up. Several days
before on the Middle Fork San Joaquin I had the same problem, either
from food poisoning or bad water, and it was striking again in the
worst of places. Chris had opted out due to his back pains, so I knew
there wasn’t a car to hike back to, and it was just time to
in mosquito hell.
The trail gets steeper as the pass approaches.
If the hike is a little to mellow for you, just give it a try in
October! Rush Sturges having a great
One last little flat section before the final switchbacks to Bishop
Pass. Jason Stingl.
Now for the steep part.
initial climb has moderate
gradient, but the final climb to Bishop
Pass is steep, and I was amazed at how out of breath I was until I saw
the sign that reminded me of the elevation. We took a nice long break
at the pass, enjoying Emergen-C slushies while waiting for the rest of
Next was the mellow push through Dusy Basin to the
trail drops nearly two thousand feet into Le Conte Canyon. Fast moving
clouds helped the gorgeous scenery stand out even more.
the moderate gradient of
Camping at the brink is a popular choice, because
final down climb
is a true “knee buster”. We took a break and
discussed our options, deciding to push all the way to the river.
Although it makes for a long day, we figured it was better than hiking
all day, going to bed only to wake up to more hiking in the morning.
Plus it helped us stay on schedule if we wanted to get through the run
in four days.
Edgeworth makes the final push
into Le Conte Canyon on the Middle
Halfway through the down climb we took a major break. It’s
amazing how hiking downhill with a loaded boat is more exhausting than
climbing, and we were all relieved to finally see water.
crew finally gets a glimpse of the
There was mediocre camping where the trail met the
recommended pushing on to escape the thick mosquitoes. A relatively
unknown fact about the Middle Kings is that for the first few miles,
it’s actually pretty manky. The river was initially very
mellow but with a few log jam portages, and one of the most beautiful
meadows I have ever seen. Unfortunately the light had already faded, so
no pictures were taken. As it turned to dark we knew we
wouldn’t get to Palisade Creek, so we camped out right above
the first real gradient. At the end of our first day, we were awestruck
by the epic scenery, looking forward to all the rewards but perhaps
most of all simply glad to have the hike behind us. There is very nice
camping near the end of the meadow, and it's not nearly as mosquito
infested as you'd imagine.
views of deer from the meadow