Monday, September 3, 2012

Kersage Pass to Bishop Pass Trip.

 Well I decided back in February that I wanted to hike the next section of the PCT after the Horseshoe Meadows to Kersage pass trip in 2010. I tried to get a couple of friends to hike with me but was unsuccessful in my attempt. So Here I go solo trip a total 60+ miles in 6 days. Not bad 10 miles a day. I figured I could hike the 10 miles no problem. So I packed my food of course it had to be all baked food for the 6 days.
Baked  food for the 6 days.

 So I worked on getting my truck to Bishop pass and a ride back to Onion Valley. It's only an hour and 15 minuet drive but how was I going to do that I searched for rides on line but could not find any at the right time or day. So I talked my son into following me up in his car and giving me a ride back to Onion Valley for the start of my hike. I was trying to start around 10am or so. But it turned out I did not get to the trail head until 12:45pm on Saturday. That meant I had to hike over the Kersage pass in the afternoon heat. Not too bad it was overcast and cloudy with a chance of thunder showers. I talked to a couple of hikers coming off the pass in the parking lot and they said it was pretty dicey due to the thunder storms and I might not be able to make it over the pass today.
This is Me starting out

Gregory Lake
So I headed out for the pass, It was a hike that I had done many times up to Gregory Lake at about halfway up the mountain. We had taken the grand kids up to this lake many times and baked pizza in the Bemco Backpacker Oven. It was nice and quiet only a few other persons hiking down the trail. Many of the day hikers going up to the lakes in the area. Hiking past Flower lake, Heart lake, Pothole lake almost to the top of the pass. Just my luck the clouds cleared and the sun was hot all the way up the trail. I finally made it to the top . It took only about 2 1/2 hours to hike this pass. I met a couple of guys at the top one was hiking from Walker pass to I think it was Yosemite the other was hiking from Bishop pass and out at Kersage pass. We talked about our pack weight a bit and it came up he was from New Zeland and he had seen the videos on YouTube about the Bemco Backpacker Oven. I was amazed! what a small would we live in.
Looking west from Kersage pass, Kersage lakes and Bullfrog lake.
  I rested drank some water and watched the clouds start to build on the mountains to the north. After about 5 min or so a couple of guys showed up with day packs. They whipped out a couple of beers and began drinking them and checking out the mountains and clouds. I had thought I should have brought one with me. But then I would have to carry that can for the whole trip, no I did not want that.
Camp at Glenn pass
 I started down the other side heading for the junction of the PCT-JMT trails. It should only be about 3 or 4 miles around that mountain to the right side of the picture above. Then I would head north on the PCT towards Glenn pass. First camp would be near the lakes at the bottom of Glenn pass. The clouds were building bigger and it was starting to rain a bit. I was able to stay in front of the rain for awhile. but as I started up the trail to Glenn pass I was moving closer to the clouds again. I hiked until around 4 pm or maybe it was 5pm not sure now. My phone was off by 3 hours when I finally looked at it. Not sure what happened with that. So I set up camp near a small pond and it began to rain lightly.
Glenn pass
My wet self portrait.

Chicken Enchiladas
 I made Chicken Enchiladas that night. It was kinda hard to keep them dry in the rain but I managed. It was kinda cool the rain hitting the top of the oven a sizzling off like putting water on a hot griddle.That night it rained on and off for about 3 or 4 hours.
Sunset at Glenn Pass
By morning it had cleared but the tent was still pretty wet on the outside. But I had to pack it up and move on I thought "I need to get to my next camp by 2 or 3 pm." That was to be at Woods Creek crossing about 10 to 12 miles down the trail. I set out after baking some banana nut bread and a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
It must have been around 7 am and it was quit cool out but I wanted to beat the sun to the top. Hiked for about an hour and found myself at the crest of Glenn pass. I could see Ray Lakes to the north from hear. It was a great feeling to be on the trail again.

Ray Lakes from Glenn Pass
At the top of Glenn pass
Add caption
 After taking a break at the top of Glenn pass I started down the other side heading to Ray lakes. It was a long way down the trail. I passed about 8 or 9 people heading up the pass. They always ask how much farther it is to the top. It's kinda hard to answer that question. So I just tell them I have been coming down for about 30 min or so that seams to help them out. One guy said he left his camera at the first creek crossing. I told him I would look for it and if I saw it I would give it to the Ranger at Ray Lakes. But I watched for it and never saw it. Someone else must have picked it up. But the trail was great lots of great scenery all the way down. Found that lots of people were heading south on the JMT it seamed that I was the only one going north.
Ray Lakes
Ray Lakes
Arrowhead Lake
From the trail crossing at Arrowhead lake.
   These two pictures were taken from the trail. I continued on around Ray lakes towards the north heading to Woods creek crossing. Along the way I finaly did see some people heading the same way north. They said they were doing the Ray Lakes loop. It was a group of about 6 people I could tell they had not been on the trail long as they smelled of Perfume especially the ladies. I could smell them as I followed them down the trail. I could not see them but I knew they were ahead of me just be the smell in the air. After passing Ray lakes I came to Arrowhead lake and Dollar lake both beautiful areas.

Dollar lakes as you see it from the trail.
Looking north after passing Dollar Lake.
 As I head down the trail to Woods Creek. I find it to be a long trail down hill it must have been 5 or 6 miles it seam as though I would never get to the Crossing. As you can see in the photo to the right I had to hike to the bottom of the canyon where the mountains seam to meet in the center. This was a long way but the scenery was great. As I hiked every once and awhile I could still smell the perfume from the ladies in front of me.

 I hiked down the trail and about every 30 to 45 min I would run into someone hiking south. I would ask how much farther to Woods creek most of them would say "not far only a mile or so".

 Finally made it to Woods Creek the bridge was great and the camping spots were plentiful as you can see in the photos below.
My camp at Woods Creek.
Made two pizzas for dinner plus a loaf of bread for the next day.
The suspension bridge at Woods Creek
 Well woods Creek was a great second camp no rain and no mosquitoes. This was good because I forgot to bring replant.  That was not smart of me at all after checking all my supplies that was the one thing I forgot to bring.

 Well the next morning it was off to Pinchot Pass 7.7 miles all uphill. I was camped at about 8900 feet and the top of the pass was 12086 feet. As I climbed out of the canyon of Woods Creek the trail was passing by many water falls and rushing streams that ran across the rocks. The rocks looked like a larger water slide.
Water Slide rocks.

 After about 3 hours of hiking I figured I was getting close to the pass. I was just passing by Twin Lakes. I thought I could get water hear but the lakes must have been at least a quarter of a mile off the trail. So instead I found a small brook next to the trail and took a break here.

Lunch time on the trail to Pinchot Pass.
 As I sat and ate lunch, home made jerky, trail mix, and a protein bar or two. I could here the chipmunks and birds all around me. It was fantastic! After about 15 minuets the chipmunk starts in with a loud chirping. I look over in the direction it was facing and saw a guy walking down the trail. He did not see me yet so I said something and it startled him. I said the chipmunk told me you over there. We talked for a minuet or so. He asked if I had seen a guy that looked like Santa Claus. I replied " yes I did he and about 4 others were on the trail having lunch about a half hour down the trail. He went on his way and thank me for the info. I finished my lunch and was off again. Heading for the pass I thought it must only be another couple of miles and I wanted to make it to the top by at least 1pm.

On the way up to Pinchot pass
I made it to the top of Pinchot pass.
It was a long hike but I made it. I was greeted at the top by a couple of Marmots. They got pretty close as I stepped onto the crest and dropped my pack to take some photos.

The Marmot at the top of Pinchot pass.

Looking south from Pinchot pass.
Looking north towards Mather Pass
 So after taking a break and a few photos. I was off to the lakes in the photo to the right. I figured it would take me about an hour or so to get there. I should make it in time to set up camp and cook some chili and cornbread for dinner, wash the clothes and myself before sunset.

On the trail

 I was passing lakes and came to this one (photo on the left) It looked great a few trees and some flat ares to camp.

My camp making cornbread and chili for dinner.
 The sunset was great too. I met a guy doing the JMT he asked if he could camp with me as he was on the trail solo the same as I was. I said sure their is plenty of room. I offered some cornbread and he could not believe I had fresh cornbread. He said he did no know that you could even bake in the wilderness. So I showed him the Bemco Backpacker Oven. I asked him what type of food he brought for his trip. He replied Noodles and more noodles. I said " That's it just noodles" He replied yep that's it 32 packages of noodles.

Corn bread and chili.
The sun sets on another great day on the trail.
 The next morning I figured I would have biscuits and gravy for breakfast that sounded good. So I got everything mixed up heated the gravy on the stove, then set the oven over the stove and set the gravy on top to keep it warm as I baked the biscuits. They turned out perfect see photo below.

Biscuits and gravy.
 As the biscuits baked in the oven I packed up my sleeping bag, tent, pad, and picked up all my thing and loaded them into my pack. the last ting to go in is my cook set and oven. By the time I was done packing my food was ready. I ate cleaned up and finished packing I was back on the trail by around 7:30. I said good by to my camp buddy and was off. Heading towards Mather Pass hoped to be over the pass by 1pm or 2pm. It was only about 6 miles to the pass so it should not be to hard.
On the way I saw Bambi
On the trail I came across some deer they stood and just looked at me. It was great they were so close. My kids would have loved this.

The trail to Mather Pass
Looking back towards Pinchort Pass from Mater Pass. I thought wow I hiked all that way in a half a day.
Looking north from Mather Pass.
  As I finished the hike over Mather Pass I started down into the Palisade lakes area. With the towering Palisade mountains to the right. The trail was steep and rocky all down hill for about 3 or 4 miles. It was tough on my knees and ankles.
Looking back up at Mather pass
Pizza at Palisade lakes
Trail bread
 I finally go to the palisade lakes but the camp sites were few and far between. So I found a spot between to large boulders. The ground was a bit rough but I figured I had my pad and that would help. That night the clouds started building in pretty strong and it looked like it might rain. I made pizza and trail bread agian it was perfect and filled me up completely. After dinner two pizzas and some jerky the storm was a brewing.
Storm clouds
 That night it was very stormy, rain lightning, thunder so close you could only count to five or ten. It was lighting the sky up like flash bulbs everywhere. The next morning it was the same drill. This time I made banana nut bread. and off to Dusy Basin it would be a long day with lots of photos along the way.
Heading down the Golden staircase as some called it.
Today I had to kie around the mountain to the right of the photo.
This is a shot from the top of the Golden staircase I had to hike around that mountain on the right.
On the trail to Dusy Basin
Deer meadow it actually had deer.
On the trail about two miles from the Bishop pass junction.
It was a long hike down from the Palisade lakes. Lots of large steps some of the had to be two feet tall. This made the hike down even harder. I passed lots of hikers heading to Mather pass and the Palisade lakes. Everything was wet with a heavy coating of water on all the leaves. Every time you took a step your pants got wet. After hiking for about 2 hours I decided it was a good time to take my wet tent out of my pack and dry it out. so I opened it up and laid it over a larger boulder as I sat and had lunch. It was beautiful in this area. I opened up my bear can and pulled out the loaf of trail bread some cheese and one of those Spam singles, cut the bread open and laid the spam on it and added some cheese. That it the spot and I was able to hike the rest of the day.
Almost to the trail junction.

 Lots of great photos in this area. But the clouds were getting thicker and thicker it looked like rain again tonight. As I got closer to the trail to Bishop pass it began to rain again. So I took shelter under some trees and in about 20 minuets it stopped. So I was off to Dusy Basin. On the map it looked like about 2 miles to the first lake. Now I knew it was all up hill. But I started up the hill it was around 3pm and I figured I had to get to the lake by 6pm but it was only 2 miles.

More water slides on the way up Bishop pass trail.
Dusy Basin
 Well it was a long way up and it started to rain again when I was about two thirds of the way up. So I got out my Poncho and trudged on. I think I hiked in the rain for about 1 hour I thought I would never get to the top. It was getting dark by now and I had to find a camp site. but it was not going to be easy setting up camp in the rain. I used all my water on the hike up. So I got my tent set up not too hard. It did not get too wet inside. Then I rolled out my pad and bag and laid down for awhile. It must have rained until at least 10pm and pretty hard too. But it stopped and I was thirsty so I put on my clothes and head lamp and went to the creek in the dark to get water. It was a crisp cool night. The next morning I got up and everything was wet again. I made some banana nut bread and blueberry muffins. Packed everything and was off again this time to the last pass of the trip Bishop pass.

I made it to the top of Bishop Pass it was 9:30 am
 I made it to the top of the last pass it felt good to heading for the truck at South lake. It would only be another three and a half more hours of hiking. But what a fun and challenging trip it was.
Looking towards South lake from Bishop Pass.
Long lake

 Thanks for reading my trip report hope the grammar was not too bad.

 Don't forget to bring your Bemco Backpacker Oven on your next backpacking trip.

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