I made a 4.5-hour drive to Sequoia National Park very early, filled out the self-issue wilderness permit form, and then discovered that the 2-mile access road to the Crescent Meadow trailhead was to be blocked for a paving project. So, I had to park out at the highway, load up, hike the 2 miles, and then start on the 11-mile trail to Bearpaw Meadow. This follows the High Sierra Trail, and it is a fairly well-graded trail. There may have had a thousand feet of elevation gain until the last mile, and there was an 800-foot hill before camp. To my surprise, there was nobody else in the campground nor was there any ranger at the ranger station. Also, the High Sierra Camp was closed for the season.
For a layover day, I decided to take a photo stroll further east along the trail to the footbridge over Lone Pine Creek (coming down from Elizabeth Pass). My reason was that this was the margin of where I had traveled once before about a dozen years ago, and I just wanted to connect the dots. If I had continued another couple of miles, the High Sierra Trail would have taken me to Hamilton Lakes on the way to Kaweah Gap.
Upon returning to the camp at Bearpaw that day, I found that there still weren’t any others around. I concluded that the late season scarcity of water might have scared most others away. However, 90% of the streams that I crossed were flowing. My only visitors that evening consisted of two doe deer. They came dangerously close to my camp and spooked only when I moved too quickly. Otherwise, the wildlife amounted to four grouse, some Hairy woodpeckers, many squirrels, and one rattlesnake sunning itself on the trail. To my amazement, the pre-dawn air temperature was 57 °F. That is about 25° warmer than what I planned for.
Edible berries were sampled all along the trail. I ate a bunch of thimbleberries, plus a few blue elderberries, Sierra currants, gooseberries, and huckleberries. I passed on all of the berry species that I could not identify.
The trip back out was only slightly quicker, and the day was heating up. The touristy section of the park was packed with people, so I quickly got in my car and drove home.
Ten pounds of base weight, eight pounds of consumables, and eleven pounds of camera gear.