Day 51 Rae Lakes to South Fork Kings River

Another pass up and down. After hiking over Glens Pass yesterday, and with the cool temperatures of being in a valley, we were reluctant to get out of our sleeping bags. Mustering out, we quickly packed up camp and started moving. Continuing to descend into the valley, we initially walked by a ranger station. Further on, the trail began to meander past waterlogged meadows, deep rich green in color. After some careful rock hopping and balancing on log bridges, we navigated our way through the valley. Only one crossing led to our feet getting wet, and if we had tried harder we could have avoided it. A long downhill section dropped us below 9,000 feet, which is fine when you don’t have to climb back over a 12,000 foot pass in the afternoon. Along the way we spotted a wild fowl, which looked particular tasty and didn’t seem too perturbed by our presence. At the bottom was the first swing bridge we had come across. Similar in style to the New Zealand ones, with the exception that the floor was made of hundreds of wooden slats. Once across the climb began, and would not stop until after 3 pm. A short way up the hill, we had morning tea by the river cascading over large flat rocks. From here, we began the long grind, stepping up over large step like rocks with a high frequency. It actually made us wish for the contours of the desert. Lunch was in a shady spot under some trees, although a cool wind made jackets necessary. Full of calories, we still had over three miles to the top. Once again we put our head down and soldiered on. More deer were spotted, one just off the trail who didn’t even bother to move until we were right next to it. Then all it did was stand up and look at us. More wild fowl also graced us with their immediate presence, with this one having a clutch of babies hiding under the nearby rocks. Higher up we moved above the tree line, and into patches of snow. With the pass in sight, we didn’t stop all the way to the top. Once there we sheltered behind some rocks again, and appreciated another pass climbed. With camp six miles away, we didn’t tarry, and steadily hiked into the next smaller valley. After dropping down some switchbacks, we spent the next several miles crossing streams and meandering through rocky meadows. While this was pleasant, we had our sights set on dinner and a sleeping bag. Some larger river crossings just before camp required some more skill to cross, with some small leaps of faith. The last mile was a pleasant climb up towards our next pass for tomorrow. Finishing on an easy note, we scrounged around for campsites and gratefully fell into bed.

Miles hiked – 20

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