Saturday, September 3, 2016

California Smoke? Showers? Sunshine!

Kings Canyon 2016

It was a long awaited trip two years in the making. We were supposed to make this trek last year but got sidetracked in the Winds for another fishing adventure. It did not disappoint. This year we saw our plans through and got the permit to hike again in Kings Canyon National Park. We had a grueling trek of over 7000ft of elevation gain and 7000ft elevation loss and around 50 miles. Every last bit was worth it. Hands down one of the most scenic places I have ever been. We were immediately greeted by the deep canyon as we traveled in from Sequoia National Forest to Cedar Lodge. Unimaginable and indescribable are two words that come mind. We began our hike with towering granite walls on either side of us forming a perimeter we would not grow tired of. The first day of hiking took us over 2000ft up into a nice valley on the South Fork of the Kings River. It was a beautiful stretch of river ranging from cascading falls to gentle meadow stream. As soon as I got to camp I strung up the rod and went at it. A number of rainbows were to be had instantly. Native to this drainage, the bows were some of the most beautiful I have ever caught in my life. I find such joy in be able to appreciate the biggest of catches in the mountains of Montana and the smallest of catches in the high alpine meadows of the Sierras. Both different in their own right and both incredible fun and thrilling. The next day we made the trek up another 3000-4000ft to our next campsite. This day greeted us with huge rainshowers. We tried at first to hunker down and wait it out; besides this is California, it never rains here right? WRONG!! We had already received a shower the evening before. But this turned out to be much more than a shower. Thunder, lightning, rain, hail, the works...After a while of trying to wait it out we decided to pack up and hike on through. It was a grueling day of travel soaking our gear to some extent, but we finally found a campsite and made the most of it. The next day would lead us up to some beautiful Alpine Lakes. We were to spend two days there, so this was our destination in the hike so to say. Climbing over the ridge we were not disappointed shortly after crossing the 10000ft elevation barrier. HUGE peaks towered over the lake valleys in every direction you could see. Beautiful streams caught your eye with occasional deer prancing by. As we made it to our campsite we sat in awe of the scenery for some time. This place was a paradise. The rain held off for the most part, although it threatened all day long. We strung up the rods and fished around one of the lakes for some fast action Brook Trout fishing. Fun as expected. When we made it to the far end of the lake I found 6 deer all grazing together. Three large bucks, 2 does, and an infant. I sat and watched them for probably 10-15 yards away for a good while. It added something to scene I am not quite sure how to describe. Passing the deer we climbed a large rock and fished for alittle more finally sitting down and just soaking in the scene ahead of us. We would turn and question each other, is this the most incredible view we have ever seen? We thought back of past trips and tried to compare. Each beautiful in their own right. This one right up there at the top somewhere. The next days would be a free day that we used to hike into an adjacent basin. It was around a 700ft climb but well worth it for the views we got. We debated whether to do this or not, but looking back I am so thankful we did. It was probably that most scenic spot of the trip. As far as you could see mountain in every direction! The next day would be our toughest day. We had to climb 2000ft in just under 2 miles up Glen Pass and then drop another 4000ft over 8 miles to our destination. The rest day really helped us out and getting up the pass was not too overly difficult. The downhill climb took its toll on our bodies but we made it tired and worn out. We still had enough energy to explore the meadow stream near by. Browns and rainbows rose eagerly to our flies - some drastically bigger than the other drainage we were in. The fishing was incredibly fun and reminded me a lot of the fishing I do back at home in the Smoky Mountains. As we made it back to camp I decided to take one last fishing trip up into the meadows above our campsite. It was the surreal meadow fishing experience you always imagine. Beautiful mountain scenery towering on each side and willing trout hiding in every crevasse of the stream! The last day we hiked our way out leaving plenty of time to explore the giant sequoia trees. It is an amazing site to take in. We laughed at ourselves for thinking some of the lodgepole pine trees on the trail were really big. These sequoias made those look like tiny twigs!!! It was the conclusion of another trip. Another beautiful site in God's creation to check off the list! A time and a place I certainly will never forget. Enjoy some of the pics. More to come....


Cool scene climbing into the lake basin

David packing hard

Danny slaying some fish with Finn Dome in the background

Small brook trout from the lake

David casting with "Painted Lady" looming in the background

Morning scene from our tent

Into sixty lake basin

Incredible views

Middle and Upper Rae Lakes

Our campsite was in between the two lakes

On top of Glen Pass 

Made it!

Nothing but mountains as far as you can see

Same thing the other direction!

Danny climbing through an old sequoia that a group of people lived in for awhile back in the logging days


Those are big!


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