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Rae Lakes Loop

We recently hiked the Rae Lakes Loop in King’s Canyon National Park. This area is known for its stunning scenery, and it didn’t disappoint. What we saw looked a lot like Yosemite, but without the roads and people. Massive granite cliffs, lovely chilly glacial lakes, alpine meadows with wildflowers, sweet waterfalls, the whole deal. There’s nothing better than being immersed in these things for a few days.

Especially exciting for us, the 48-mile loop included a section of the PCT. It felt great to be walking on a piece of the trail we’ll be encountering in 2012 when we walk the full PCT — although when we walk this section as thru hikers in June, snow will blanket most if not all of the trail. Then, instead of walking down the trail, we’ll glissade (slide on our butts) to the bottom!

From Glen Pass

On this five-day trip we continued the process of fine-tuning our PCT gear. We learned that Hypafix tape works better than duct tape to cover hot spots on feet, because it stays in place. Half Mile’s printed maps and GPS waypoints were accurate and informative. And we debuted our 1 oz pocket kite! It was great fun to fly, and we intend to grace many mountain passes with its lovely colors in the future!

Chris flying the 1-ounce kite

On this trip, we used the Sawyer Squeeze water filter for the first time. It only weighs 4.75 oz., which is much lighter (smaller too) than our old Katadyn filter. Filtering water using the Sawyer Squeeze is a two-step process. First, fill up the dirty water pouch and screw onto the filter. Then, squeeze the pouch to force the water through the filter and into your clean drinking container. The surprising hiccup was the time and effort needed to fill the dirty water pouch, especially if you’re in slow-moving water such as a lake. The pouch has a small opening and is made out of a thick material that doesn’t expand easily so we found that most of our time “filtering” was spent trying to fill up the pouch, rather than actually filtering. Overall, we think the Sawyer Squeeze is a pretty good lightweight filtering system, but we are still looking for a better solution. We might try Sawyer inline water filters for our next trip.

Speaking of water, this trip was full of beautiful water vistas.

Dollar Lake Inlet

Campsite overlooking Rae Lakes

Momma bear and cub at Middle Paradise Campground

And if the scenery wasn’t enough, one morning while eating breakfast, a mother bear and her cub suddenly walked out from behind a tree, a few feet away from us. The mother was a small black bear, and the cub was quite tiny and cute. We were able to scare them off by standing up, waving our arms, and yelling. The mother made some harrumphing noises and sauntered off with cub in tow. It was great the bears moved on so quickly, because bears who become habituated to humans and their food often become dangerous and must be relocated or put down. Later that day, we encountered the same pair happily munching on berries, a much healthier food gathering technique than stealing food from humans.

This was a wonderful trip in so many ways. Thanks Becky for joining us on another adventure. Can’t wait for the next trip!

More photos from the Rae Lakes loop are posted on Chris’ Flickr page.

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir

Moon Over Painted Lady and Rae Lakes

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Haha! “Glissade” is also a ballet term, French for “to glide.” (we just don’t do it on our butts) I wonder if they look anything alike! ;)
    Beautiful shots and beautiful campsite. I always see those pictures on the REI mailings with tents set up next to beautiful vistas and wonder where the heck that is, I want to go there! Then I realize I have to stop car camping. One of these days…

    October 5, 2011
    • Hehe, I’m going to do snow ballet while descending from mountain passes! Glad you like the pictures. You know that I’m happy to take you out backpacking anytime…just let me know when your dancing body is ready.

      October 6, 2011
  2. I love the pictures in this post; they make me anxious to return to the wilderness. This entire site has been full of useful information. Thanks!

    December 11, 2011
    • Thank you! Glad you found the site helpful. We enjoyed looking at the pictures on your blog as well. Good luck with your early start PCT hike.

      December 12, 2011
  3. I’ve added you two to my reader and look forward to following along. I’m loving the kite idea! It was cool to see what Glen Pass looks like without all that snow. I’m thinking of doing the JMT again at the end of the summer so I can experience it the way it’s meant to be experienced. Good luck! ~Wired

    January 13, 2012
    • Thanks, Erin! Have fun with the JMT. It will look like a completely new landscape without all the snow. It will be fun to celebrate high points on the trail with some kite flying. We were excited to find a light enough kite to bring along.

      January 16, 2012

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