Forum Index > Trip Reports > Rae Lakes Loop, Kings Canyon Nat'l Park, CA, Aug 10-15, 2015
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bobbi
stillaGUAMish



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stillaGUAMish
PostMon Aug 17, 2015 1:33 pm 
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summer of 2014...
Carol (silly_traveler), Joe, Jackie, and i hiked the Maroon Bells 4 Pass Loop (plus a side trip to Geneva Lake), Colorado.  we barely landed back in Seattle and Carol was already planning our next hiking adventure, Rae Lakes Loop!

Joe, our logistics and IT leader, started on our itinerary! Permit, lodging, and flights-check.  we (no Jackie on this trip  frown.gif  ) are going to the Sierras! up.gif

before the Rae Lakes Loop ...
i headed to Europe to run a 30k in Davos, Switzerland, hike in Vaduz, Liechtenstein and Innsbruck, Austria.  oh, and hike the southern half of the Dolomites, Italy trip reportcool.gif   Joe decided to drive south and hike around Crater Lake, Lassen, and other places before meeting Carol and i at the Fresno Airport the day before our we head to Kings Canyon.  Perfect!

in the meantime ...
Carol, the younger, decides to continue hiking despite having an achilles issue.  kids shakehead.gif 

then ...
Carol canceled!  kids  shakehead.gif  tongue.gif

BUT ...
despite being jet-lagged, i returned back to Seattle from Europe, and the very next day, got back on a flight to Fresno, where Joe met me, and after stopping to get a Subway sandwich for lunch, we were off to Kings Canyon to get our hiking permit!  did i mention it was HOT! 

driving along the winding road, i noticed this huge and beautiful 'cloud'.  ha!  here's a photo of the cloud further down the road!  we wondered why the park was still allowing visitors with such a huge fire.  logic was that the Rough Fire was across the way!  hhhmmmm hmmm.gif
Rough Fire
Rough Fire

we got the permit, and then set up camp at Moraine Campground.  we later had a hamburger/fries at Cedar Grove Village for dinner.  yum!  the fire did provide a beautiful pink setting sun!
pink sun
pink sun

DAY 1 - Roads End, 5035 ft., hike about 6.8 miles to Middle Paradise Valley, 6,619 ft.
a bit hazy because of the smoke from the Rough Fire, but we were too busy breathing and taking the environment around us all in up.gif
we're ready!
we're ready!
mist falls
mist falls

DAY 2 - MPV, 6,619 ft., hike about 8.9 miles to Woods Creek Crossing, 8,492 ft.
hiking along not far from MPV, Joe hears a noise and then nonchalantly says
"There's a bear..." 
i said to Joe that we can go back home now!
BEAR!
BEAR!

views were incredible!  did i mention it was HOT!  it sure was fun watching the JMT hikers crossing the suspension bridge, setting camp, and BSing about the trail. 
Joe and i noticed that we were practically naked in comparison to the JMT hikers all wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants, and sahara looking hats!
suspension bridge
suspension bridge
my tent view
my tent view
JMT camp
JMT camp

DAY 3 - WCC, 8,492 ft., hike about 7 miles to Middle Rae Lake, 10,538 ft.
the heat, elevation, and rocky steps were not to Joe's liking, and my jet lagged finally settled down ... clear and awesome views of peaks to the west, east, north, and south at least made it worthwhile! up.gif
Dollar Lake
Dollar Lake
Arrowhead Lake
Arrowhead Lake
the Fin
the Fin
Rae lake
Rae lake
tent view
tent view
deer at camp
deer at camp

we rested awhile and without our heavy pack, we day hiked to Dragon Lake.  the 'primitive' trail was an icky up up up to about 11,100 ft.  the lake is in a cirque high about the 3 Rae Lakes. 

Dragon Lake ... quite beautiful!

DAY 4 - day hike to 60 Lakes Basin, 6.2 miles, 11,000+ feet
oh my....what a beautiful place!  seriously!  Joe and i could have just explored the basin, but instead, after viewing several lakes, we just plopped ourselves down at one of the incredible lakes, and just ate in the views and our lunch!  smile.gif

a couple of wildflowers

DAY 5 - MRL, 10,538 ft., hike about 8.4 miles via Glen Pass, 11,978 ft. to Junction Meadow, 8,130 ft.
i've been known to 'drop' or have my camera fall due to unforeseen circumstances so why would i think it wouldn't happen 'again'?  yep, as i was setting the timer on my camera to take this photo of Joe and i ready to tackle Glen Pass, my camera decided to do a nose dive.  good news is that it still works but i have to manually close the lens cover...such a hassle rant.gif
bye bye Rae Lakes
bye bye Rae Lakes

Joe and i have been eyeing where the heck the pass is from Rae Lakes and this was the day!  i must applaud the trail crew and how they manage to figure out where to put a trail, anywhere!  after a few ups and switchbacks, there it was...the trail to Glen Pass.  zig zag and more along the ridge face.  no problem...one step at a time.  finally, we made the pass and the views from there are totally amazing!  Joe took photos of the trail to the pass and from the pass, and i'm sure when he returns back from his ongoing trip, he'll write about the trip and add his photos ...
looking north (i think)
looking north (i think)
looking south (i think)
looking south (i think)

from Glen Pass, it was down down down to Junction Meadow.  after this section, Joe and i were for sure so very happy to have done the loop clockwise!  the elevation gain would be okay but add in the heat of the day, and no way would we recommend doing this loop counter clock-wise!  so, there, you've been given notice  rolleyes.gif
looking back to the pass
looking back to the pass
Joe on the swithbacks heading down from the pass
Joe on the swithbacks heading down from the pass
Joe heading down down down
1 label
Joe heading down down down
i think the switchbacks trail is on an avalanche chute!
2 labels
i think the switchbacks trail is on an avalanche chute!

finally, we made it to JM, but the first area was full so, another quarter mile and Joe and i set up camp at what may be the stock camp.  oh well...

DAY 6 - JM, 8,130 ft., hike about 11 miles via Bubbs Creek Trail, to Roads End, 5,035 ft. 
an early start, still a bit dark when Joe decided he was going to 'do his business'.  making his way to his 'spot', his headlamp shined on two eyes...yep, a BEAR! dang, no camera.  needless to say, Joe made a U-turn and did his business elsewhere embarassedlaugh.gif
once again, we were very happy to have done this loop clockwise...the trail out is a gradual downhill.  this means it's a gradual+ uphill for those who choose to do the loop counter clock-wise!  when the sun managed to come over the ridge/peaks, it was darn hot!  the saving grace was the sun was at our backs as we made it back to Roads End!
am i in washington?
am i in washington?
what?  ferns at 8,000 ft?
what?  ferns at 8,000 ft?
sequoia?
sequoia?

about 4 miles before the end, we encountered the switchbacks...lots!  no problem, we're heading downhill!
start of second set of switchbacks
start of second set of switchbacks
Joe enjoying a shaded section
Joe enjoying a shaded section
final bridge across Bubbs Creek!
final bridge across Bubbs Creek!

the final two miles (the same first two miles at the start of the loop) will be mostly in the open along a sandy and flat path ....HOT HOT HOT!
Joe to the finish!
Joe to the finish!

YAHOO!  Joe and i finished the Rae Lakes Loop, about 50+ miles chickenleg.gif  party.gif  rockband.gif

surprise!  the Rough Fire is still burning!
firefighters pondering the Rough Fire
firefighters pondering the Rough Fire

NOTE:  later that evening around 10pm, highway 180 into the Park was closed to incoming traffic.  no evacuations at that time for those already in the park, especially for those on the trails.  Joe and i lucked out...it's all about the timing!

Joe and i returned back to Fresno after another stop at Cedar Grove Village for hamburgers/fries.  later that evening, we headed to the Fresno airport to get Joe's wife, Barb, who will join him on their road trip back to Washington.  a delicious post hike dinner at Lety's to celebrate!

YUM
YUM
cheers!
cheers!

thank you, Joe, for another fabulous hiking adventure!  thank you Carol for suggesting this beautiful trail loop.  so sorry you missed out, but there's always another trail to discover and explore!

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bobbi ૐ

"Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So…get on your way!" - Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss
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silly_traveler
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PostMon Aug 17, 2015 2:24 pm 
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YAY!!!  smile.gif  up.gif  glad you guys had a good time!!  You know you only saw bears because I wasn't there, right?  And what's with all the blue sky and sunshine?  huh.gif

Dragon Lake  up.gif  up.gif

I have an idea for summer of 2016 already  agree.gif  you know it!

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♫ You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  And you're the one who will decide where you'll go.  Oh the places you'll go. - Dr. Seuss
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harrymalamute
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PostMon Aug 17, 2015 3:09 pm 
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Quote:
Joe and i noticed that we were practically naked in comparison to the JMT hikers all wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants, and sahara looking hats!

In June I had the great opportunity to hike the JMT and observed the same phenomenon of hikers looking like they stepped out of an REI store with all the khaki clothes. way to arid and hot in the Sierra's for that.

Rae lakes & Glen pass are over the top cool places to visit.

The Sierra's will spoil you compared to the Cascades with the ability to strip down like Tarzan/Jane for the hike. Well unless you hit mosquitoes, then your flailing down the trail like Jerry Lewis. lol.gif
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostMon Aug 17, 2015 5:30 pm 
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I've definitely noticed the way most Sierra hikers are dressed.  I think the name of the game is to keep as much skin covered as possible so you don't get crispy fried and skin cancer.  The sun in the Sierras is INTENSE, just totally different than up here.  Visiting for a week or two is one thing, but if you hike down there all the time I can understand wearing more rather than less clothing.  Look at the way desert dwelling people dress.
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Malachai Constant
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PostMon Aug 17, 2015 6:06 pm 
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We just completed the JMT. Most of the JMT is above 10,000' with passes above 12k the sun is far more intense than here. We constantly wore hats with wide brims and usually lone sleeves and legs. Nights and mornings can be well below freezing, snow, and hail can occur any time. Our tent was briefly covered with a. Outlet inces of hail below Muir Pass. The only places we took our legs off was valleys below 8,000'.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Roly Poly
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PostTue Aug 18, 2015 4:42 pm 
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MC, did it freeze at night at the higher elevations?  I am heading back there and was wondering if I should throw in an extra layer for the mornings?
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Malachai Constant
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PostTue Aug 18, 2015 5:39 pm 
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Yes it froze above 12,000' often at night. One night we had frost inside the tent. We also had over an inch of hail on a couple occasions. Slept with Sawyer filter inside my sleeping bag. Down parka useful in morning.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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drm
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PostTue Aug 18, 2015 7:01 pm 
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Brings back a lot of memories. Back in the 80s I used to do a loop from Onion Valley up and over Dragon Pass to Dragon Lake, down to Rae Lakes, and over Glen and Kearsarge Passes and back to Onion Valley.
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GaliWalker
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Have camera will use
PostWed Aug 19, 2015 1:24 pm 
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Wow, beautiful scenery! Great to see another report from the two of you, though pity about silly_traveler not being able to join.

When it's really hot and I'm at high altitude where the sun becomes even harsher, I use a loose, long-sleeved shirt as my apparel of choice. I feel it helps in keeping the 'burn' off.

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani/albums
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bobbi
stillaGUAMish



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PostThu Aug 20, 2015 2:12 pm 
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thanks for the comments ...

i always compare the Sierras with the Olympics.  Mt. Olympus, the highest point in Olympic National Park is slightly under 8000 ft. and covered with glaciers and no trees and then, the Sierras, like the Rae Lakes Loop, has peaks over 12000 ft. and trails between 5000 - 12,000 ft. with lots of trees, lakes, and valleys are just awesome!

both places are beautiful in its own right!  to me, the Olympics feel wild...less hikers as if the backcountry is more difficult and challenging, whereas the Sierras is like the grand central station for hikers. anyway....

good to be home in the Olympics  up.gif

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bobbi ૐ

"Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So…get on your way!" - Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss
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Roly Poly
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PostFri Aug 21, 2015 12:40 pm 
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The Sierras are a massive range and its very easy to find solitude if you pick trails that are not the Rae Lakes loop which is of-course very busy.

The smoke from the Rough fire has filled Owens Valley and apparently a temperature inversion is keeping it trapped there.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostFri Aug 21, 2015 5:10 pm 
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Keep Calm wrote:
The Sierras are a massive range and its very easy to find solitude

Definitely.  Certain places you know are going to be a zoo (anywhere near Yosemite Valley; the JMT), but most of my wandering around in the Sierras has not been crowded.
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Malachai Constant
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PostFri Aug 21, 2015 6:35 pm 
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Even the JMT is not that crowded if you know where to camp. The resupply points are crowded but not outrageous. Lakes prior to passes can be somewhat thick, and low points sch as woods creel and Budd Creek can have other campers. We prefer alpine camps on sand near cliffs and they were seldom occupied. Most people were not adequately acclimatized for altitude, and avoided high camps.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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PostSat Aug 22, 2015 9:26 am 
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Bobbi, thanks for the informative trip report.  We have a trip in that area planned, so good to know about the fire and road stuff.

The Sierras are gorgeous.  I'd love to do Rae Lakes some time... the reports of crowds make me wary.  Nice to see your shots of them.

MC - I hope you put up a trip report!
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kpwelch
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PostSun Aug 23, 2015 10:56 am 
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Hey Bobbi, nice to have met you and Joe on the trail. We made it to the top of WHitney on Monday and hiked out the same day to Whitney Portal finally resting our bodies in Lancaster after some Mexican Food (Guacamole!) in Lone Pine.
We will look you up on our next trip to Seattle.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Rae Lakes Loop, Kings Canyon Nat'l Park, CA, Aug 10-15, 2015
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