Sequoia: Pear Lake and Moose Lake 09/29-09/31

Saturday

Andy and I hiked about 6 miles from the Lodgepole parking lot to Pear Lake. Clear skies were forecast. I guess that was true at 12000 feet, unfortunately we were at 10000.


After wending through forest for a while the trail breaks out into a deep granite canyon near the watchtower. The sky condition was hard to discern in the forest but now it became "clear".


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Looking west down the valley toward Lodgepole.


Sections of this trail were blasted out during the 1930s.


The watchtower.


You can walk up the canyon as well, along that trail.


After an abrupt face, where the canyon trail ends in despair, the canyon becomes this glacier slope which rises to meet us. Some people use it for skiing apparently.


The lakes go: Heather, Emerald, Aster, Pear. Not sure which this is.


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Clear skies indeed.


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Zen meditation?


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Camp at Pear Lake. I was beat, even though our packs were only 30 pounds.


Luxury restrooms!


Fog billowed up the canyon and sometimes retreated. As night fell the fog won and temps dropped to upper 20s. I was deep in my sleeping bag in the tent by that point. During a bathroom trip in the wee hours, the fog had cleared and the mountains around us were lit beautifully by the moon.

Sunday


Pear Lake, looking east. We could not find a way around the lake to that far shore.


Probably not the way to go.


Setting off cross-country to Moose Lake.


Fog looms in the distance again. We had no idea what it would do. Another group had come this way yesterday, reporting fog and some trouble routefinding in it.


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Gaining a ridge above Pear Lake. The notch to Andy's left is a shortcut to Emerald lake.


Wile E Coyote was here. This huge boulder would raise hell at the campsite if someone could lift that lever.


Andy is thirsty. This is better than some of the watering holes that tempted him.


The use trail squeezes through a notch to this flat sheltered area, marked on the map as marshy, but it was mostly dry this time.


Unnamed lake.


Natural chairs are good to find.


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Serpentine waters and a meadow of soft bear grass.


Is that a puddle at our feet or a lake half a mile away with condors dogfighting in the vast spaces? This camera keeps it a secret.


What's that fog up to?


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This lone tree stood at the top of one ridge. Aren't we well above treeline?


Fires are illegal here but looks like someone wanted to try.


Lots of this terrain.


Reaching the final ridge at 11000', Moose Lake comes into view at last. I was impressed by that mountain range beyond it, which we found out later was the great western divide. South of the lake, another valley is having fog issues as well.


There is a cliff at the far side of the lake. The lake looks ready to spill over it.


Down at Moose Lake a drama was playing out between a backpacker and a pesky pair of bear cubs and their mother. After hiking in he was chased out and returned to Pear Lake in the evening. What a pain.

To the north somewhere is Black Kaweah, which Mujtaba suggested for a challenging excursion. It might be visible in one of these shots.


Andy is wondering where the flat trail from Moose to Pear is.


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Wish we had bagged Winter Alta, if it's this close.


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The lone tree.


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Back to camp, and no fog. I carried two jackets in my hand the whole way.

Monday


We hung out by the lake awhile before starting back. Andy lusted after the fish that swarmed in all the lakes.


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Hiking out, we saw a ski cabin.


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Aster Lake.


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A distinctive notch on the ridge separating Pear and Emerald lakes. It's about 800 feet up I think. Would be an interesting view from up there.


Lunch at Emerald Lake.


Haze in the canyon from a controlled burn at Giant Forest.


How far from the floor...


to this peak? I'd guess a mile.


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We got back in late afternoon with enough time to check out the Sherman tree, which was on the spur from Lodgepole to the main road anyway.


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Nice tree.


Cattle crossing the general's highway.


An artistic view of the sunset.