High Sierra and Big trees - some notes and photos

In October 2016 I spent nearly three weeks meandering through the Sierras. Here are some photos and words from that marvelous backpacking trip.

By Jörgen Johansson

This giant's foot is not really a big tree... not if you compare to the Giant Sequoias.


I started along the PCT/JMT at Reds Meadow on an overcast day, and reached Purple Lake at nightfall, pitching my tarp and innertent by the light of my headlamp. The following morning more than made up for the overcast first day.

Southbound on the JMT/PCT you find that Tully's Hole is really a hole. The trail goes down and down and you realise that all your hard-earned altitude will be lost. But it really does not matter, this is why you are on the trail and the view down the hole, where Fish Creek meanders through the October rusty meadow, is lovely.


This time I took the trail past the Lake of the Lone Indian to Goodale Pass, instead of the JMT across Silver Pass. Coming down from Goodale in the late afternoon, I stepped off the trail for a couple of hundred yards and found a stream. There I pitched my homemade "Drytent" (so named because I have never had any condensation in it) and sat down to an evening meal of noodles and sausage. It was one of those meals where the ambience made up for the less-than-cordon-bleu menu.
As the year before I used the Bear Creek Cutoff and Bear Creek Trail to reconnect with the JMT/PCT, after my resupply at Vermillion. It is truly the loveliest of trails, going upstream through old forest and along countless restful pools with water joyfully rushing into them
Late in the day I looked back north from Selden Pass. Long shadows were reaching out for beautiful Marie Lake, but the distant peaks still shimmered, like they only do in the Sierras. Earlier that day I had met a couple of Sobos doing the PCT, Spice Rack and Crusher. We had chatted by a stream where they had stopped for lunch and I for a snack. They probably hiked past me later, when I stopped by Marie Lake for afternoon coffee (a Swedish 'religious' practice). I never saw them again. Late in the evening I had decended to Sallie Keyes Lakes where I camped for the night.
Evolution Valley in the morning is a glorious walk. Especially since it was dark when I found a place to pitch my tent. In the first light it turned out I had spent the night surrounded by horse shit in the stock camp. Walking along the river towards the next stair in this series of hanging valleys more than made up for it.


 This is work in progress. New photos and captions will be added as they are published at Smarter Backpacking on Facebook. Join that group if you not already have.

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