Kings Canyon Backpacking Trip
September 19 - 26, 2022

Bob and Alan: 7 Nights, 8 Days, 43 Miles Backpacking

Highlights/Memorable Events, Diary, Maps/Routes/Elevations

Favorite Photos/Videos

For any photos, click on the image to bring up the full size, full resolution version. Day by day photos and narrative follow these.

Wildlife we saw:

Here is a video of a bear taken by Alan.

First we saw a lizard, then shortly down the path one bear below us, who came up to the path and walked away from us, and near the end of the trip a baby rattlesnake:

Deer at beginning and end of trip

Three different marmots:

Highlights/Memorable Events


Day 1, Monday, September 19

Alan flies from Phoenix, AZ, to San Francisco, where Bob meets him at the airport just before 3 PM (while Bob is waiting inside airport a sign shows Alan's plane has touched down. Bob texts Shirley and Shirley calls Bob to say that David within 1 minute of that text had texted he just landed in Birmingham).

Bob and Alan get together, get luggage, get to car and begin drive to Kings Canyon. All goes well and the reserved tent cabin in Grant Grove Village provides a pleasant night's stay.

Day 2, Tuesday, September 20

Backpack about 3.8 miles, climb about 1,200'

Early in the morning Bob and Alan get up, load car, get breakfast and check out. We then drive to Grants Grove and admire and walk among the massive trees (and walk through one). While in the park there's a loud, loud crashing noise. A tree has fallen nearby (we did not see the fall). We find the tree, after avoiding a ranger who told us not to do so.

We head back to the car and drive to Roads End parking lot (along the way getting nice views of the Sierras), hike to trailhead and go up and up with 32 lb and 40 lb backpacks. We get past Sphinx Creek, then Avalanche Pass Trail trail junction and then find an excellent camping spot.

Day 3, Wednesday, September 21

Backpack about 9 miles, climb about 3,350'

Get up around 6:30 AM, Alan makes enough oatmeal with raisins for both of us. Alan also, as he will throughout the trip, makes bags of snacks for both of us to carry in our pockets and munch on as we hike. We take down tents, pack bags and head out. We backpack about 9 miles to a campsite right near the trail junction with the John Muir Trail (also called the PCT or Pacific Crest Trail). It is a rough backpack, mostly uphill, climbing well over 3,000 feet. We meet several people - individuals, couples, groups - because this is part of the popular Rae Lakes Loop.

Although a tough backpack, the scenery, including Bubb's Creek waterfalls, is spectacular and the weather continues to be perfect.

After setting up camp we're worried about lack of water. We walk about 1/4 miles further up the trail and find plenty, so no problem.

Day 4, Thursday, September 22

Backpack about 8 more miles, climb about 3,500'

Wake up at 6:30 AM, out of camp before 8 AM. We backpack uphill 7.4 miles to Forester Pass, which at 13,117' is the highest point of the entire PCT Trail (according to Wikipedia). So we climbed up 3,500' to get there. Getting up there was hard.

Along the way we saw a couple of marmots, had to cross streams and as always saw lots of spectacular scenery including many lakes.

Coming down the other side was easy, although night fell, so Alan used his headlamp and Bob his flashlight for last half of downward hike.

Today Alan left his small water bottle at a stopping point - "gone forever". Bob must have dropped one of his red gloves - also "gone forever". Bob, who is a professional at falling down, fell down twice, cutting himself a tiny bit once on a branch. Later, Bob used Alan's knife to cut open a salmon pack and sliced himself once and poked himself once, drawing a tiny bit of blood again. No serious injuries at all. [Bob commented on his vampire background as he sucked blood]

Day 5, Friday, September 23

Backpack about 4 miles, climb about 600'

Overnight Alan has difficult time sleeping because of cold weather and when Bob gets out of tent at night, fully dressed, he is shivering when getting back in tent, and Bob's water bottle frezes overnight, as does Alan's scarf.

So in morning Bob and Alan agree that between the cold weather and tough uphill climbing, they will cut the trip short and immediately begin backpacking back the way they had just come (the original plan had been to backpack to Guitar Lake below Mt. Whitney, day hike up Mt. Whitney, and return via Avalanche Pass).

Get a late start (around 10 AM) - and are greeted by a pika which comes into our campsite (but does not give me a chance to take its picture). The climb up to Forester Pass is of course steep, but it goes well (we arrive before noon), and it is fun to see the sparkles as shown on the lake in the first picture below. The next two pictures show Alan climbing up to the Pass and arriving there. The fourth picture looks directly down from the pass to the sparkling lake. At Forester Pass Bob, shockingly, throws a cashew to a chipmunk who takes it and runs away with it so quickly Bob does not get a picture.

We then backpack down and down, almost to the forest far below.

Probably because it is Friday we meet lots of people from many places including a young woman from California who is the guide for three guys from Slovenia. Also meet people from the United Kingdom, Oregon, Florida, and North Carolina.

Views of course continue to be spectacular.

During the backpacking Alan finds Bob's red glove. So it was not lost forever!

Day 6, Saturday, September 24

Backpack about 6 miles, no significant climbing

Backpack 6 to 7 miles, almost all downhill. An easy day. Starts out with a view of our forest destination in the distance and within a few minutes see another marmot. Hiking along beside Bubb's Creek is as usual pretty.

Alan finds his lost bottle (so also not lost forever!) We spend some time on top of a waterfall, getting close to the edges, but staying safe. Later, find a very nice campsite next to Bubb's Creek - and Bob's tent has a protective animal, perhaps a dog, overlooking his tent.

And the night, as it is every night, is absolutely beautiful, with the Milky Way shining brightly.

Less than 12 miles left to go.

Day 7, Sunday, September 25

Backpack about 11 miles, No significant climbing

Get up, snack, pack up and backpack to Roads End. Mostly downhill, very scenic. We are watching a lizard climbing a rock when we look further down the path and see three guys with backpacks all together looking down below the path. We walk over to them and there is a bear that earlier had tried to take one of their backpacks. They had been down at the river bank, having left their packs further up the hill but below the path. They see the bear trying to take a backpack, scare the bear which drops the now torn backpack. As we stand beside them on the path, the bear below us walks away, gets up on the path and continues on its way. Near the end of the backpack, not too far from Roads End, we hear, then see, a small rattlesnake that slithers under a log beside the path.

The sky, with its clouds, is beautiful.

We get to the car, Bob takes his scale into the restroom and weighs himself (at 153.6 lbs about 6 lbs less than when he started - most of which as always he will quickly gain back). Some park rangers appear in the parking lot, so we tell them about our bear sighting. Then we get in the car and drive first to Cedar Grove, where we each have 1 1/2 of the fabulous trout sandwiches you can get there. They have no rooms/tent cabins available, but a very nice employee reserves us a tent cabin in Grant Grove - it is the last available. We drive to Grant Grove and get a tent cabin near the showers (and take wonderful, hot showers). On the way to Grant Grove we see an ice cream stand, so we stop and get vanilla ice cream (cone for Bob, bowl for Alan) and toast Alan's mother. Later at Grant Grove we each have another trout sandwich for dinner along with fruit bowls. We also meet the chef who tells us why the trout sandwich at Cedar Grove tastes a bit different from the one at Grant Grove - he is the chef for both.

Alan contacts his cousin and arranges to stay with her Monday and Tuesday night. Since Alan intends to go sailing along the east coast in a couple of weeks where another cousin lives, this means Alan will get to see two cousins whom he has not seen in some time.

Day 8, Monday, September 26

Bob weighs himself, managing to gain 3 lbs (to 156.6) in less than 24 hours. We get some breakfast and eat in the Grant Grove restaurant area. Then we pack up and load everything into a cart, which Bob then graciously allows Alan to pull down hill on a long dirt path all the way to the car, Bob taking a video from which the first pic below is lifted.

We then drive first to Campbell, where Alan's cousin lives just south of San Jose (stopping along the way in the central valley twice at fruit and vegetable stands). Fortunately for Bob, she writes detailed directions on how to get from her house to Hwy 280, which Bob then uses to get to San Francisco and then home. On the last leg of the trip traffic slows just a bit because of a burning vehicle, pictured below.

The backpacking adventure was wonderful. And even more wonderful to get back to Shirley!

Our Route

Photos, videos and narrative were contributed by both of us: Alan and Bob
Here are all of the adventures of Alan and Bob

Other Websites
By Bob:

Bob Phillips [phillips bob 27 at yahoo dot com - no spaces]
Santa Rosa, CA
June, 2022