Kings Canyon National Park

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February 19-

Been pretty busy today and I didn’t get a chance to log on this afternoon, so hopefully this “Photo of the Day” post can be enjoyed by the late night crowd.

This is a shot from the High Sierra in the backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park, California. This place is absolutely amazing, definitely some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever witnessed, and obviously some world class hiking as well.

For those who caught last Sunday’s post of Heart Lake, this shot was taken just a few miles from there, on the other side of Kearsarge Pass. The prior photo was from 2014 however, while this one is from my Pacific Crest Trail hike in 2007.

A kind of funny thing just occurred to me (and this might not make as much sense to the non-hikers) but when I revisited in ’14 I took that long day hike partially for the sentimental or at least symbolic opportunity to retrace some of my steps along the Pacific Crest Trail. That was hands down one of the greatest experiences in my life, and I longed for the opportunity, even if for a mile, to walk that famous tread again. However, there’s a pretty extensive trail network in this area, and I just remembered that when I got off and crossed Kearsarge Pass to resupply in 2007, I exited at a different point than where I rejoined. Essentially, there were two spur trails that accessed the Pass, and each connected to the PCT about a mile apart. When returning (on the day seen here) with a pack weighed down with a weeks worth of food, I made the practical choice to take the north spur, while when I had exited prior, anxious to get to town, I’d traveled on the south.*

Fast forward to 2014, and like I say, I wanted to set foot on the PCT again. I wanted to pay my respects by retracing some of those same steps as before. To do so, I devised a loop hike that would lead me over Kearsarge Pass and allow a brief, but presumably reminiscent, time on the Pacific Crest Trail. See where this is going?

Sitting here a year and a half later, it just dawned on me that I didn’t rewalk that section of the PCT -because I bypassed that mile between the two spurs the first time! And honestly, for good reason. It turned out to be a bitch of a climb! The only common tread I walked both years was on the two different trails leading in and out. No wonder I didn’t remember that hill being so steep!

Oh well, you can’t be too upset with views like these. And how lucky have I been to have now crisscrossed this area twice? I’m not sure when the chance will come, but I definitely can’t wait to do it again!

*For those wondering, hikers out west aren’t as high strung about sticking to the “official tread” as some are on the Appalachian Trail back east. Taking alternates and spurs is pretty typical, and in many cases, like this one, it’s more logical and more scenic.

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