After finally arriving at Sequoia National Park and dealing with the logistics of planning a through Hike, we had our permits in hand and were ready to hike!
Unfortunately we did not start hiking till 1:30pm so it was a late start. We woke up a little later then planned in Alabama Hills, met some nice climbers the night before and stayed up talking about, bears, marmots and self arresting technique. We also stopped for lunch/breakfast a little longer then planned at Chick Fil A in Bakersfield…..
The plan for day 1 was to hike 11.4 miles from Crescent Meadows to Bearpaw Meadow:
Day 1 of the hike starts in beautiful Crescent Meadow surrounded by Sequoia trees. The trail immediately starts to climb slightly as you rise above the meadow and out of the trees and onto the beautiful mountain ridge on the High Sierra Trail. As you rise out of the trees you are almost immediately overtaken by beautiful views of the valley below and snow capped mountain foreshadowing whats to come.
Being the first day of the hike our legs were fresh and we were happy to finally be on the trail. Most of the day follows the ridge line presenting magnificent views. Once out of the meadow, there were no crazy steep climbs that I remember laboring over, but it was an 11 mile day so we were feeling toward the end of the day.
The trail travels in and out of the forest, ranging form shaded pathway to un-shaded throughout the day. Since we went early in the season, the heat was not bad but you may be drinking a lot of water during the summer, but there are enough streams to not worry to much about water.
One trend for our trip that was not too bad on day one, but signs were showing, was the strength and height of stream crossings. A week or so before the Sierras were slammed with wintry conditions and luckily for us the weather this week was fantastically warm. As a result you will see the streams were high and flowing, and we more often then not had to cross at locations off the trail to try and stay dry. Some times this led to a little more work on our end like climbing.
The last mile or two of the hike I was getting tired, and was ready to make it into camp for the night. Our late start did not help, and I was pretty hungry at this point. When we arrived at Bearpaw Meadow, there were multiple ready made camp sites, that included fire rings, and big green bear lockers. It was getting dark when we arrived, and this was the most crowded camping location of the trip. During the more popular summer months, I would recommend getting an early start and staking out a campsite early. Despite my use of the phrase “most crowded” there were probably only 4 or 5 other groups ranging from 1-3 people. It was really still a quite nights sleep, and we really still felt solitude. There was also a faucet for water and pit toilets here. The faucet water came out white, but our water purification system easily turned the water clear and it tasted fine. The first days, rest was well deserved.