PCT 2007 – Day 80 – South Fork Kings River – Helen Lake

Day 80 6-13-07 CB 10,800′
South Fork Kings River ford – Unnamed lake NE of Helen Lake
20.5 miles; 835.6 (45.6) total miles; 2723.2 trip miles
70’s partly cloudy

Marmot count is 40
Deer count is 36
Pika count is 2
Bear count is 0

I got up at 5:20 AM to a slightly damp bag and tarp. We got going just after 6 and it was an easy approach to the switchbacks going up Mather Pass. The climb itself wasn’t too bad either. It was nothing like Pinchot the day before.

Approaching Mather Pass

That saddle in the middle is Mather Pass

The descent was a bit sketchy since the sun hadn’t hit the snow fields on the north slope. The snow was frozen and the boot tracks were icy. I managed to make it across all of them fine. Only the last one was scary. Ed used his ice axe to ensure he didn’t fall and Wounded Knee avoided the snow all together by hiking down the rocks.
We passed a couple just south of Upper Palisade Lake who gave us a good scoop on where to camp. Our original choice was too rocky and covered with snow, so they informed us. We then passed Lower Palisade Lake and then descended from 10,600′ to 8820′ along Palisade Creek to Deer Meadow. We took a short break there then moved on to lunch.

We lunched a mile or so before the junction of the Middle Fork Kings River and the Palisade Creek. Wounded Knee and I dried our gear, while all of us soaked our feet in the cold creek. As we ate Vortex and Blue Sky passed us.

Water Falls

After lunch it was a short downhill to the junction of the two rivers where we saw a beautiful waterfall (one of many today). At the junction it was all uphill to camp. We passed through Grouse Meadow, Little Pete and Big Pete Meadows. I saw three bachelor deer just after Big Pete. The three of us saw a mother deer and two young just after starting the climb. The climb was super easy at first, and we were so low in elevation, we flew up the first part. Finally the elevation and grade got the best of us and we all slowed way down. We took a break just under 2 miles from camp and after the break I felt dead. I was super tired but so was Ed. The climb just keeps on going. I stopped at a creek crossing to let the others catch up and we thought we had another half mile to go but luckily it was only a few tenths.

Once to camp I met a father/son pair who are camping here tonight. The son has been walking bare foot. I cooked and took a bath of sort in the creek. My belly got really gaseous after I ate, but is better now. It happened last night too. Tonight it’s Ed, Wounded Knee, Vortex, Blue Sky, the father/son and I. I’m sleeping just mere feet from the creek exiting the unnamed lake.

Ed and Wounded Knee

My bed for the night. The river is 4' to the left and 3' down.

Today ended tough; but, it was a wonderful day with great trail and breathtaking scenery. The mountains are so big around you and they are so incredibly formed by the glaciers, it’s just amazing. The power to make them how they are is just mind boggling.

Scatman 2011- This day was as I said hard but so rewarding.  At no point did I not have something amazing to look at.  At times the climb at the end wore me down and I stopped appreciating my surroundings and then I would stop and it only took a faction of a second for me to smile and remember where I was.  It didn’t matter what I had to do to enjoy it, the mere fact I was there was enough to make me smile and forget the effort needed.

———-

Scatman

Get out there!

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