Sunday, January 27, 2013

Evolution Basin Loop- Sequoia/ Kings Canyon

September 26- October 3, 2012

What a wonderful place to spend a week backpacking! I spent the whole week aw-struck, every bend in the trail revealed new and beautiful scenery and every pass we made it over rewarded us with magnificent views of the Evolution Basin area.

Starting at South Lake and ending at North Lake, we spent part of the first day hiking to Bishop Lake at the base of Bishop Pass where we camped the first night. The next day we left Bishop Lake and slowly made our way to the top of Bishop Pass, (11,972) along the way I kept getting flash backs from Mt. Whitney's 97 switchbacks section. After making it to top we took a short lunch break before continuing down to Dusy Basin, if you ever find yourself hiking along this section of the trail keep an eye out for jumping fish! That night we set up camp near the trail just before it drops off down to Le Conte and enjoyed dinner with the most amazing view!

Almost to the drop off where we camped the second night.
On the third day we hiked down to Le Conte, passing two deer eating horse poop along the way?? After finally making it down to the John Muir Trail junction we headed up the JMT toward Muir Pass. After hiking about half way up Muir Pass we found a tiny camp site just before a  "no campfires past this point" sign. The tiny campsite was big enough for one tent and included a small fire pit. We were lucky to find it, it was tucked away off the trail behind some trees, there was no way we were going to be able to make it to the top of Muir Pass that day so finding this campsite was an amazing find! The fourth day we hiked to the top of Muir Pass (11,955) then headed down into Evolution Basin  where we camped next to Wanda Lake.

The fifth day we hiked past McClure Meadow ranger station to Evolution Meadow and camped for the night. The next day we watched a mother deer and her three babies graze in Evolution Meadow as we packed up camp, then set off toward the San Joaquin River then continued on up Goddard Canyon to the Piute Canyon trail and camped just before Hutchison Meadow. The seventh day we hiked up Piute Canyon through Humphreys Basin and camped at Summit Lake (11,423). The eighth and final day we hiked over Piute Pass and down to North Lake Trailhead where we got a ride back to our car from a very... interesting.. couple.

Eight Days of Fun:
Day 1: South Lake to Bishop Lake
Day 2: Bishop lake to Dusy Basin
Day 3: Dusy Basin to Muir Pass
Day 4: Muir Pass to Wanda Lake
Day 5: Wanda Lake to Evolution Meadow
Day 6: Evolution Meadow to Piute Canyon Trail
Day 7: Piute Canyon Trail to Summit Lake
Day 8: Summit Lake to North Lake

What I Learned Hiking the Evolution Basin Loop

Where did the trees go?!- If you plan on hiking this loop make sure you bring a hat. There are long stretches where there are no trees to shade you from the sun, wear plenty of sunscreen and drink lots of water.
Have I been here before?- While hiking to the top of bishop Pass I kept getting this feeling like I have done this trail before, then about half way up it dawned on me, Mt. Whitney's 97 switchbacks section looks a lot like the trail over Bishop Pass. Even includes the foot high rock steps the trail crews were so kind to build for us... who do I send my doctor's bill to for my knee pain?

It's more fun when you bring a map- While taking a short break on a rock overlooking a lake we spotted a backpacker in the distance headed toward us. This section of the trail has no trees, its just rocks and mountains as far as the eye can see. Watching him for a few minutes I noticed him stop, look around, then head back the way he came, a few minutes later he stopped, turned around, and started hiking toward us again. Eventually he made it over to where we were sitting, didn't see us, stopped, turned, looked around confused and started hiking back the way he came! Finally he spotted us and asked where is the trail. When hiking in areas where the trail isn't always clearly marked or visible make sure to pay extra attention to where you are going.
Summit Lake


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