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sequoia!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005 by

I went to Sequoia National Park from July 15-17 with Joe. We did the Tokopah Falls hike (second time, for me!) and then did an overnight to Twin Lakes and back.

flower

oh, flower, how do we love thee?

It was overall a pretty awesome trip, although the mosquitoes were definitely out in some force, but the scenery is hard to beat (although Yosemite does it). We left Friday morning and had a nice drive up to the park, coming from the west (well, you have to come in from the west, but still…)

You start out driving through chaparral, and then continue on up a roadside, that is incredibly steep and windy. It’s really rather cool.

road-up

Then you reach the ridgeline and BAM, you’re in forest. In giant sequoia forest, for that matter. We went on a bit, and got to our campground, and proceeded from there to take the dayhike that starts there, to Tokopah Falls. This is a nice 3.4 mi RT, mostly flat hike, that meanders up a river until you get to, shockingly, the falls. I’d been to them before, but when they were only a trickle, so it was pretty cool to see them now in much greater flow.

torrent

tokopah

We played there a bit, then went back to the campsite and made dinner. While we were there, a stag decided to come visit and nose around a bit, which was pretty awesome. We saw about a dozen deer total on this trip, but this was the only one that I managed to get a photo of.

stag

(dude, so close to our tent!)

The next morning, we got up and started out on our backpack. We were going to Twin Lakes, a 6.8 mile trail that had a trailhead that also started right at Lodgepole campground, which was pretty nice. The route is 2700′ of elevation gain, but there is some real downhill in it too, so it has a net climb of 3700′, which is a fair bit no matter how you look at it (or at least I think so. I may be weak).

The trail as you go up passed an alpine meadow (Cahoon Meadow), and then kept on uphill until hitting a local highpoint, Cahoon Gap, which is where we stopped for lunch and where we saw a bear! We didn’t get a photo of that either, because the bear was a bit too far away and was moving away from us. While a photo and a better shot would have been nice, I will have to say that in all fairness I am happier with a brief glimpse and no bear anywhere actually near me. Then downhill, and then starting up the steeper part, which definitely kicked my ass a fair bit.

cahoon-meadow
cahoon meadow

cahoon-gap

We got up there and I collapsed for a while, unfortunately in the sun , so I sweated like a pig while sleeping. When I woke up again, I still didn’t have the energy to make it further up the trail (climbing another 1000′) to make it to the next pass to see what we could see, so instead we just walked around the lake a bit. Gorgeous, of course. The lakes are at 9400′ or so, which made the highest point I had yet reached (on foot of course).

big-twin-lake
the big twin lake

smaller-twin-lake
the small twin lake

And then we cooked, and slept, and in the morning violently tried to evade mosquitoes. Started downhill, and I looked appalled at the trail, not at all sure that I had actually made it up that. It must have gotten steeper overnight. Oh man. But we did make it down, and one of the benefits of starting a hike near a giant ranger station and also concession store is that you can buy ice cream just about instantaneously. And as we all know, it’s all about the ice cream.

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