Kings Canyon Sequoia & Western Sierra - Sieren

Rae Lakes and Painted Lady in Kings Canyon National Park, Sierra Nevada Mountains

Went on a little adventure to capture this image, so if you're not into adventure read no further. I won't be talking about the technically boring parts of photography either. I had a friend mention he was heading out the highly popular Rae Lakes on the Pacific Crest / John Muir Trail. I've always wanted visit the area just to see the terrain and take a few photographs. I ended up in a small group of 5 backpackers spending the first night at Charlotte Lake past Kearsarge Pass. I enjoyed the changing light in the late afternoon and early morning.

The only reason I came out to this trip was to make it to Rae Lakes so when a couple of friends mentioned they would be staying at Charlotte Lake I was a little bummed but made a decision to leave the group and go to Rae Lakes. I knew of a little pass between Dragon Peak and Gould Peak, a class 2 and maybe class 3 travel. For me this was the adventurous way out of the area with lots of cross country travel and route finding. Seeing more of the mountains just adds fuel to my soul and it was a shorter trek to getting to the Onion Valley Trail Head where our cars were. After making it over Glen pass (12k) on the second day and photographing Rae Lakes we set Dragon Pass. The hike started on lightly used trail that faded quickly once we hit Dragon Lake. We took a ridge route up to the higher unnamed lakes just below the pass. Mostly all talus hopping and crossing some snow but there was a pretty steep snowfield with lots of lose scree on top of it to make it to the top of the pass. We didn't see a single person that day.

We made it to about the last 100 ft below the pass when someone in the group mentioned this was beyond their comfort level and wanted to turn around unless I could find an easier route that was much safer with out the far drops below. I took my pack off and left the poles and climbed out of view only to make it into a higher gully with a steeper scree slope only yards from the top of the pass. The pass where it was only 5 miles all down hill to the car on the other side. The other option was to climb over Mt Gould to make it to Kearsarge Pass but again this beyond some comfort level so I okay we'll turnaround knowing it was a 17-18 mile trip back to the car over 2 passes. We made it back down to Rae Lakes by 5pm but I kicked a tree root and agitated my knee. I wanted to make it over Glen Pass since I was down to my last bits of snacks and food since I had planned on getting out Sunday. The other guy I was with said he had extra meals and breakfast so we stayed at Rae Lakes for the night. Turns out he had no breakfast so I emptied less then ounce of oatmeal and a few dried banana slices into a pot of hot cocoa before we hiked the 12 miles overs over 2 passes the morning. The things we do to see something new and to keep others safe... .

Hiking long distances doesn't make a photo better then it is but there are some that enjoy a good adventure here and there!

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