Leaders: Leon Tokatlian, Helen Gingras
Team members: Bette Robo, Pete Crane, Carol Lielasus, Dan Lamore, Luis Pena, Tom Renaud, Mitch Manseau.
On August 25 we departed from Manchester NH to Las Vegas where we met the rest of the group arriving from different locations, we picked our rental cars and headed towards “Death Valley” N.P. In CA, while driving through the park we stopped at the lowest point in North America 282’ below sea level “Badwater” where temperature was 119 degrees, we also visited other attractions in the valley on the way to our campground. We arrived late in the afternoon at the “Mahogany Flats” Campground 8200’ where it was relief to be at 60 degrees temperature, the campground is in a beautiful location overlooking the “Death Valley”, we set-up camp and enjoyed our gourmet dinner prepared by Helen and retired after a long day to our quarters in this peaceful environment.
Next morning after breakfast we hiked “Telescope Peak” 11,040’ to start acclimatize, it was a 7 mile hike one way we spent over an hour on the summit to adjust for high altitude, returned to camp had dinner and socialized around the campfire and retired. Following morning after breakfast we left “Mahogany Flats” Campground and drove to “Lone Pine” CA 110 miles away, after checking into our hotel we obtained our permits and bear canisters from the Ranger Station, did food shopping for our 7 day breakfast and snacks than we drove to “Horseshoe Meadows” 10,000” spent some time there to acclimatize further, later in the afternoon we returned to our hotel cleaned up and had dinner at a local restaurant, afterwards at our hotel divided the group food among 9 for equal weight and prepared our packs for our next days adventure.
Morning of August 28 after spotting one car at “Whitney Portal” we drove to “Onion Valley” Inyo National Forest and started our backpacking adventure from “Kearsage Pass” Trailhead 9000” the weather was clear but warm, with heavy packs our progress was at comfortable pace we arrived “Kearsage Pass” 11,850 late afternoon very tired, we stayed for a while to enjoy the magnificent scenery the Pass had to offer, since we were all tired decided to shorten the day and camp near “Kearsage Lakes” instead of our scheduled destination of “Vidette Meadows”, we had a very peaceful night at 10,500”. Next morning we started at 8:30 AM within an hour we were on the John Muir Trail in Kings Canyon National Park, continued our hike gently stopping frequently to enjoy the scenery and for photo opportunities, around noon time we stopped at “Vidette Meadows” to have lunch then continued our hike and arrived at “Center Peak” Campsite 11,500” late afternoon we shared the small campsite with another Californian group that were Backpacking entire John Muir Trail, as a good gesture we invited them to join us for dinner which day appreciated a good meal, topic of conversation that night was the bad storm we heard coming our way, after securing our bear canisters we retired to recover after a long day hoping improvement of the weather next day.
It was joy to wake up at a clear sky, we started our longest day and reached “Forester Pass” 13,200” around noon we spend an hour enjoying the magnificent views of Kings Canyon N.P. on one side and Sequoia N.Park on the other, at this point we could see the stormy clouds in the distance therefore we had to move and reach our next destination before the storm which we did, arriving at “Tyndall Creek” campsite as we just finished setting camp it started to rain.
Next morning we left “Tyndall Creek” destination “Guitar Lake”, on the way we stopped at “Grandview” where the most spectacular scenery in the Sierras is located, we spend one hour enjoying the views and to take pictures, we arrived at “Guitar Lake” 11,000” before Sundown, after setting camp we enjoyed taking a dip in the icy lake followed by a gourmet dinner, before going to bed we witnessed the spectacular Sunset from our high elevation.
September 2 morning after breakfast we started our last and final section of John Muir Trail leading to Mt. “Whitney” 14,498” some of us having summited the mountain several times decided it’s best hike down to “Outpost Camp” in Inyo N.F. and set camp while the rest of the group summated Mt. “Whitney” and joined us at the campsite, we spend our last night on the mountain and exited next day, on the way we visited the famous “Alabama Hills” where majority of Western movies have taken place, we celebrated the night in our luxury hotel while listening the speech of Sarah Palin at the Convention.
September 4 last day: On our way back to Las Vegas we visited “Bristlecone Pine Forest” where the oldest trees in the World are located, next we stopped in the “Death Valley” to visit other attractions before catching our late flight back home. This was Summit Sensations first backpacking trip, although not a climbing expeditions it was enjoyed and appreciated immensely with all participants as the pictures indicate.