Giant Sequoias &
High Country Lakes

July 26-31, 2006
I have been planning on doing this backpacking trip for several months now...  I wanted to
explore a portion of the Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia National Park where I
hadn't been before including several high country lakes and the Garfield Grove of giant
sequoias.  So on Wednesday Candace, a gal whom I'd met through an online backpackers
group who would be joining me on this trip, drove to Springville from Sacramento and we
headed up to the Hidden Falls Trailhead in Mountain Home State Forest.  Originally we
were going to leave from the Summit Trailhead in Sequoia National Forest and hike out
to Maggie Lakes.  But there is currently a fire burning in that area.  It was started by
lightning a couple of weeks ago and is being carefully monitored but basically being left
to burn to restore natural ecological processes.  The trails are not closed but hikers
are being discouraged from camping in the immediate area.  So we decided to hike up
from Mountain Home to Summit Lake instead.  The rest of the trip would then go on as
planned.

Day 1: Hidden Falls to Upper Tule River Crossing, 4 miles, 1,800’ elevation gain
Day 2: Summit Lake, 2.5 miles, 1,600’ elevation gain
Day 3: Lower Blossom Lake, 7 miles, 500’ elevation gain
Day 4: Blossom Lakes Layover Day, ~2 miles, 600’ elevation gain then loss
Day 5: Tuohy Creek, 8 miles, 1,400’ elevation loss
Day 6: South Fork Campground, 8 miles, 4,600’ elevation loss

From Hidden Falls Campground in Mountain Home State Forest a trail goes up the Tule
River tying in with the Long Meadow Trail that leaves from the Shake Camp Trailhead at
a place called Redwood Crossing.  Here there is a giant sequoia that has fallen across
the river providing a natural bridge.  We stayed on the east side of the river, however,
and climbed ever higher crossing over into Sequoia National Forest and the Golden
Trout Wilderness.  I've done the lower part of this trail twice before, see
here and
here.  We hiked through Long Meadow then crossed the Tule River again.  After about 4
miles of steady uphill trail we crossed the river one last time then found a campsite on
its east side.  It was 7:00 pm and we set up camp and made dinner.   We had agreed to
alternate cooking dinner and Candace cooked this first night.  She made curry chicken
with rice and carrots and it was yummy :)  We then had to don head nets as it got darker
and the mosquitoes came out to bug us.  The last light of day was pink and reflected
onto high clouds in the sky.
One of the 15 Blossom Lakes
On to Day 2
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Candace hiking through Long Meadow
Redwood Crossing
White-veined Pyrola
Pyrola picta
Unknown beetle on a flower called Ranger's Buttons
Sphenosciadium capitellum
Candace crosses the Tule River for the last time