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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

 

Lower Paradise Valley, Kings Canyon, California

*
A Walk from Roads End, Kings Canyon, to Lower Paradise Valley


"Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
  A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse, and --Thou 
  Beside me, singing in the Wilderness --
  And Wilderness is Paradise enow." 

-- The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward Fitzgerald

Quite different than the wilderness that Persian poet Omar Khyyam wrote of.  But the trail from Roads End in Kings Canyon to the Lower Paradise Valley offers great vistas -- from towering cliffs to the awesome force of Woods Creek flowing alongside.  

On July 3rd, Sarbajit Ghosal and I hiked the approx. 13-mile out and back trail.  It was a good day, cool at 6:oo in the morning when we began.  Even at mid day, when it turned warm and we could feel the rocky parts of the trail radiating heat, it was not punishingly hot.
   
The trail is not very demanding, first two miles mostly flat with a few rocky segments.   Many hikers go only as far as Mist Falls, about halfway to Lower Paradise Valley campground.  After Mist Falls, the trail becomes rocky.  We met backpackers who were returning from doing the Rae Lake Loop, about 46 miles.  One group said it took them 3 days -- hardy souls.

A few pictures follow.  Encountered three rattle snakes, the first one in the morning soon after we began our walk at Roads End.  After I took a picture of the snake, my Canon Powershot S3 stopped working.  Error message read "Lens error. Restart camera."   Tried restarting but it did not fix the problem.  It was SG's Nikon Coolpix P500 that was used for the rest of the trip.

SG at Roads End Trailhead
© Musafir (Canon Powershot S3)

The first rattle snake, ugh
                       © Musafir (Canon Powershot S3)

We forded a number of such gullies soon after Roads End
©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

Morning sun on the cliff face 

©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

Lupines alongside the trail
 © Musafir (Canon Powershot S3)

A waterlogged stretch of the trail.  We had to detour by clambering on rocks

©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

Near the junction of Bubbs Creek and Woods Creek

©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

Mist Falls.  The Gardiner Creek Meets Woods Creek at this point
©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

The Sphinx Peak at distant background

©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

Past and above Mist Falls
 


©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

SG on the trail beyond Mist Falls

© Musafir (Nikon Cool Pix P500)

A peak that reminded us of Half Dome

©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

Slogging up the rocky, switchback trail to Lower Paradise Valley

©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

Near Lower Paradise Valley Campground, the flow of the creek noticeably slow 

©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

End of the trail. Father and son fishing for trout

©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

This is where we took a lunch break.  Quiet and serene.
©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

"Butterfiles are free"

©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

11:15 AM.  Time to head back to Roads End

© Musafir (Nikon Cool Pix P500)


The trail narrows between the rock face and the creek below
©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

A view of Mist Falls on the way down
©Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

Looking downstream from the bridge at Bubbs Creek, 2 miles from Roads End
Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)

Felt good to dip sore feet in icy cold Bubbs Creek

Sarbajit Ghosal (Nikon Coolpix P500)
*

Hiking along the trail I thought of Gary Snyder and his wonderful poems about mountains, rivers,  and lakes of California.  From his "Bubbs Creek Hair Cut", Mountains and Rivers  Without End.


“Hiking up Bubbs Creek saw the trail crew tent
In a scraglly grove of creekside lodgepole pine
              talked to the guy, he says

‘If you see McCool on the other trail crew over there
tell him Moorehead says to go to hell.’
Late snow that summer.  Crossing the scarred bare shed
              of Forrester Pass
     The winding rock-braced switchbacks
Dive in snowbanks.  We climb in where
              packtrains have to dig or wait.”

*****

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