BackgroundThis trek mirrored the same trek that I took in 2004 with Boy Scouts. We called this trek "Silver Moccasin", which is a hike designated by the Los Angeles Council. It consists of at least five nights backpacking caring all your food and it needs to be a certain lenght(which I don't know). When I did this hike in 2004, it was me and my older brother Matt and of course, those in our Boy Scout troop. I had no idea about backpacking then, and I really never gave a thought to it. As you can see, I have changed a little over the years. Only this time, it was me, my older brother Matt, and then my little brother Travis. Again, it is with Boy Scouts.
The PlanThe plan was to hike out of Sunset Meadows (Sequioa National Forest) to Rowell Meadow. However, we decided to hike all the way to Weaver Lake (Jennie Lake Wilderness) that day in order to get one more night at a lake. From Weaver Lake we were going to hike over to Jennie Lake (Jennie Lake Wilderness). From Jennie Lake we were going to hike to Twin Lakes (Sequioa National Park) and spend two days there (on the extra day I wanted to do Mt. Silliman). From Twin Lakes we were going to hike all the way to Seville Lake, however, since we decided to pass up Rowell Meadow, we decided to stay at Ranger Lake (Kings Canyon National Park). From Ranger Lake we then hiked to Seville Lake (Kings Canyon National Park). Then from Seville we hiked on out to Sunset meadows.
What Really HappenedDay 1- We left Temecula at around 8:30 and our drive up. We stopped in the town of Pixley for lunch, and then proceeded onwards. We arive in Grants drove and got our permits and then headed to Dorst Campground where we spent our first night. So the first day was pretty boring, oh well though.
Day 2- We packed up real early the next morning and headed to Sunset Meadows Trailhead. In this period, every time I saw a bathroom a decided to use it, knowing that we would be without one for a week. We began our hike probably around 9:00 that day. The weather was perfect. This day was originally going to be short, but since we decided to go to Weaver Lake instead of Rowell Meadow, it made it a roughly 7.5 mile day. On our way there we began noticing what would become our worst enemies; Mesquitos, lots and lots of them. We arived at Weaver Lake at around 4:00pm that day. I figured this would give me plenty of time to hike Shell Mountain, but, the leaders said I couldn't. There were tons of mesquitos at this lake.
Day 3- We left Weaver Lake at around 7:45 the next morning, the hike was uneventful. The trail winded all the way around Shell Mountain and was long. We could have easily cut off alot of miles that day if bushwacked along the ridge to Jennie Lake, oh well... This day was around 5.5 miles. When we got to Jennie Lake we all went swimming and then just hung around. I wanted to climb the unamed peak overlooking Jennie Lake, but the leaders said no. The mesquitos weren't as bad at this lake.
Day 4- We around 8:00 the next morning and began our march towards Twin Lakes. There were a ton of mesquitos on the trail. Everyone was getting eaten alive. One of the guys in our group was struggeling some, so we split up some of his stuff among some of the older scouts. We arive at Twin Lakes later that day and everyone took a swim in the lake. I then begin wandering around looking for something to do, and saw some waterfalls dumping into the Twin Lake. So I decided to climb up to them-bad idea, the leaders weren't happy with me. But it was alot of fun. That day, everyone in our trek went fishing. They caught about 25 fish total, so later that night we had a fish fry. The mesquitos were horrible at this lake as well.
Day-5 This day was to spent all at Twin Lakes. I wanted to hike Mt. Silliman via Silliman Pass, but after one look at Silliman, the leaders said no. I was crushed, I spent hours and hours of reaserch to climb Silliman from this way, it was my goal for the year. Then I asked to climb Kettle Peak, but they said no. For lunch that day, the majority of the people hiked to an overlook that overlooks Twin Lakes. I finally persuaded the leaders to let me do a little "side hike". So I took my Boy Scout hiking partners and went off to an unamed moutain between Twin Lakes and Mt. Silliman. I was blown away at the sheer size of Silliman, it stoop masively before just begging to be climbed. We hiked down to Little Lakes to get some water from some of the lingering snow and to take pictures of the route that I wanted to take to climb Silliman. Tim and Connor wanted to do the peak almost as much as me. Then we hiked out again to Silliman Crest and took in all the amazing views. Then we hiked back down to Silliman Pass into Twin Lakes. We arived at camp to find Tim and Connor's tent in the tree. I showed the leaders the route and that it wasn't too danerous. However, they still said no. But I did present them with the idea for everyone to wake up early the next morning and see the sunrise from Twin Peaks, which they suprisingly consented to. I was a bit happier now.
Day 6- At 4:50am, which is too early for me, everyone in our trek woke up to begin our climb up Silliman Pass. I knew that we would be rewarded with amazing views, so I wasn't upset. But everyone else (except Tim and Connor)hated my guts for bringing up this idea. We arive at Twin Peaks with plenty of time to spare. Sunrise was supposed to be at 5:45 according to the GPS. I was in heaven up on top of the peak. We saw the sunrise of Mt. Brewer, North Guard and Mt. Farquhar. Last time they said we could see Mount Whitney, but I wasn't quite sure after that. It turned out it was Blakc Kaweah we saw. But the leaders then told scouts that Thunder Mountain was Whitney, oh well... We spent about two hours atop Twin Peaks, but most people hiked down to the pass. I stayed up top and wandered around made sure I hit each Twin Peak. We then hiked to Ranger Lake. Which is now my favorite lake out of the ones we camped at. The drop dead views of Silliman are amazing. Also, we had incredible views of the Great Western Divide and many other mountains. So I was still in heaven. I didn't want to leave this lake, but I had too. The mesquitos here weren't that bad, they mostly came out at sunset, which wasn't bad. The hike this day was less then 3.5 miles.
Day 7- We packed up and left at around 9:30 (we were tired) to Seville Lake. On the hike to Seville, the mesquitos were relentless. We weren't looking forward to Seville. We arived at Seville at around 12:00. We all went swimming and the just hung around camp for awhile. I wasn't even going to ask to do a hike to Ball Dome or Kettle Peak. I gave up hope of that along time ago. This day was wholley devoted to eating the rest of everyones food. It was at this time when our First Need Water Purifier was on its last leg. The mesquitos weren't that bad in the afternoon but they soon came back with relentless fury after a bit.
Day 8- We broke camp and left at around 7:00 that day. The mesquitos guided us out every step of the way. We usually had hiked in two groups; a slow and fast group. Today we hiked as one, so it was a little slower. The only reason I wanted to leave was becuase of the mesquitos, otherwise I would have been sad to leave. We got back to the cars at around 10:30 that day. We were all really happy, especially since there wasn't any mesquitos. We then drove out and stopped at Grant's Grove and freshed up a little and then drove to the Sizzler in Visalia, where we pigged out (on the troop!) I could hardly stand after that. After that we headed home. The hike this day was around seven miles.
AfterthoughtsWhen we wen't on this same hike in 2004, there were no mesquitos. Also, there was hardly any creeks or running springs due to low amounts of snow that season (thats my guess). This time there was tons of running creeks and springs all over, therefore there was alot more mesquitos. I had at least 50 bites if not more, but I was one of the more fortunate ones in the group.
The whole trek was planned really well by the leaders and everything ran as planned. I was happy with the trip except for the mesquitos (so was everyone else) and the fact that they wouldn't let me do my sidehikes. But I am over that, I see their wisdom in not letting me go. I will just have to come back and do more hiking.
Hope you enjoy this trip report!