Sunday, January 08, 2017

Hot Springs Trail ~ Part 9 ~ Cedar Grove to Muir Pass in Kings Canyon National Park

Refreshed and Renewed,
Stacey and I boarded Amtrak from the Greater Bay Area to Fresno.
It turns out there is a new bus-line that ferries hikers up to the national parks coming out of Fresno.

Can you believe it.. it's only $7.50 one way to Grant's Grove. So after couch-surfing in Fresno for the night we took the morning shuttle to the Park.  It turns out there is a gas station that is just outside the Park for those of you who want to resupply nearby with the basics instead of paying the little store prices at Cedar Grove or Grant's Grove.  Also, it turns out that there is a post office at Grant's Grove that will hold hiker packages sent by General Delivery. After visiting the giant Sequoia's, we managed to hitch to Roads End near Cedar Grove for our return to the Hot Springs Trail.

After securing permits from rangers who knew nothing of the trails in the park and yet vocalized their opinions established by the status quo, we ascended towards Granite Pass.

We had fun playing hide and seek with the trail through some denser patches of remaining winter snow.

It was approximately 100 guidebook miles to Mono Hot Springs and then another 50 miles to walk in directly to Mammoth Lakes with additional resupply options at Florence Lake and Vermilion Valley Resort.

Our next biggest concern was the ability to cross the King's River as the route intended at Simpson Meadow.

We figured with all of the snow melting and from what we experienced earlier that this was not an option.

Therefore, when we arrived at the King River crossing point.. instead of heading west down river... we ended up going East up towards the Pacific Crest Trail.

Apparently, Zoner also felt that this was the best option for himself as well. Instead of being behind us, he was now one day ahead of us.

Water was apparently coming out of our ears and all other appendages.

Our next concern was being able to cross over to the Pacific Crest Trail at Palisade Creek.

The map shows that there is a bridge there, but for some reason I knew that was no longer the case.

When we got to Palisade Creek at the junction of the Middle fork of the Kings River... there was no way were going to be able to cross such a swift current.  Nobody could.  We could even see a PCT hiker walking on our trail on the other side of the creek and yet our bridge no longer existed.

We felt defeated.

However, looking at the topo maps on the smartphone... i could see that there was a loosening of the contour lines about a mile or so up creek to the south of us.

From my previous experiences and my understanding of maps... we should be able to cross there since the water should not include any rapids.  It would be deeper, but slow flowing.

Therefore, we bushwhacked until dusk and setup a camp and decided to cross the creek in the morning.

The water was cold and invigorating and numbed our spirits clean. The water definitely was over our waists. I carried our packs above my head. Further up the trail on the PCT and the John Muir Trail, the crossing of the King River was very doable. Apparently there is less opposing forces the higher you go or feel.  

That morning we passed five PCT hikers and 12 JMT hikers passed us going southbound descending down from Muir Pass.

Now we were really on top of the World having successfully maneuvered around our blockages and obstacles.


Tap Here for Part 10



  1. Yeah man, that peak melt-off was crazy! I've named that option over Muir Pass the "Muir Piggy Back" (it's in the guide now)and early season hikers should expect to go that way. (Although it's a real bummer to miss Tehipite Dome and Devils Punchbowl Lake.) When I got to Palisades Creek, I went upstream about .6 and crossed on a massive log and didn't even get my feet wet! But that's the nature of wilderness adventure, no two people will have the same experience on this trail.

    1. I just love being up and within those mountains at this time of the year. It seems to embrace such vitality with all of the water melting and roaring through the region while flowers birth forth into the scene and while the birds are so active as they begin their nesting season. It's life bursting forward on all fronts.


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