We were barely unpacked from Alaska and had just started school but we couldn’t pass up a three day weekend backpack for Labor Day. We decided to go to Jennie Lakes Wilderness, which is in the Sequoia National Forest, between Sequoia and King’s Canyon Nat’l Parks. Because it wasn’t in a Nat’l Park we were allowed to have campfires using the dead wood found around our campsite. Also we would be camping next to lakes where we could fish…backpacking, campfires, and fishing sounds like an amazing weekend!!! Katharine as usual planned the entire trip mapping out each day, researching permits and calculating our travel times.
We left early Saturday morning and drove through King’s Canyon National Park, to gain access to the Jennie Lakes area. The park was full of confused campers that were forced to “dispersion camp” along side the road because all the campsites were taken. One good thing about backpacking is it filters out a lot of people- even on a 3 day weekend you might only see a few other parties on the trail.
The plan was to do a 3 day loop: first day to Weaver lake, second day to Jennie Lake, then last day back to the car. The first leg to Weaver lake was shorter which was appropriately chosen after spending almost 5 hours driving. It was a quick 3 mile hike to Weaver lake and we were able to find a nice camping spot along the lake.
We sterilized water with our new Adventurer Opti Steripen (3.6 oz) which uses UV light to kill viruses and bacteria rather than using a filter. It is much smaller and lighter than our Katadyn Hiker filter pump (11 oz) but the Steripen can only purify1/2 liter of water at a times and takes about 5 minutes each time. The Katadyn pump is much easier to filter 7-8 liters for hydration packs, cooking, and cleaning, but we’re looking at ways to keep our pack weight down so the Steripen was a nice option.
As soon as we finished dinner the sun was setting so we thought we would try our Tenkara fly rod and see if we couldn’t catch a few fish.
After a few casts we caught a fish but soon after the sunset behind the mountains and it was hard to see the fly on top of the water.
The blur is the fish, I swear
Weaver Lake Sunset
We probably could have had better luck by rolling up our pants and wadding out in the shallow, cold, mountain water but staying dry was also nice.
Of course with all campfires you have to have marshmallows so we packed 10 marshmallows which we throughly enjoyed. Eating marshmallows around a fire near a lake with the next campers over 100 yards away on a 3-day weekend…pretty awesome.
We also packed our iPad and tried to use the Star Walk app to identify constellations amongst the thousands of stars. As the fire dwindled we headed for bed knowing tomorrow we had to hike 9 miles with some elevation gain.
We hiked 9 miles with 1,000 feet of elevation gain in 6 hours which is unusually fast for us. Considering we were hiking uphill with our packs and stopped for lunch that would normally take us close to 8+ hours. We didn’t take as many photos which may have played a part in our quick pace.
Jo Pass 9,400 feet
We only saw one other couple on the entire 9 mile trail and they were headed the other direction. When we arrived at Jennie Lake it was apparent that most people just hike directly to Jennie Lake and don’t attempt the loop through Weaver Lake. Many of the campsites were taken from the previous day but we were still able to find a nice campsite with a rock fire ring. We spent the evening fishing and caught at least 4 fish, which probably frustrated the guy next to us who had brought complicated spinning rods and extensive tackle boxes but didn’t seem to be having much luck.
Fishing Off a Log in Jennie Lake
Although next time I should bring my Leatherman fishing instead of leaving it in my pack.
We ended the evening with another fire under the stars.
Sunrise at Jennie Lake
We packed up our camp and headed to “Poop Out Pass” which is a difficult up hill hike coming into Jennie Lake luckily we were headed out down hill.
Packing the Rainfly
There were some interesting flowers along the way but the vistas were not as amazing as Alaska which may have resulted in another day of very few photos and a quicker than average pace. We covered 6 miles in a couple hours allowing us some time to visit King’s Canyon.
We visited the General Grant sequoia tree, second largest tree in the world next to the General Sherman, which we’ve seen in Sequoia National Park. It stands at 267 feet tall and is estimated to be 1,650 years old. There was also an old fallen sequoia that you can walk through but beware of the active bee hive in the roots!
Katharine Walking Through a Fallen Sequoia
Overall it was a nice and relaxing trip with fishing, campfires and 18 miles of hard earned exercise.