Monday, January 18, 2010

Sequoia National Park - Pear and Moose Lake, Sept. 5- 7, 2009

For Labor Day Curtis, Andrew and I headed to Sequoia National Park to do the hike over to Pear Lake from Lodgepole. I had always wanted to do this hike and just needed to find a good 3 or 4 days to do it. The plan was to hike into Pear Lake if we could get a permit, setup camp and then do a day hike over to Moose Lake. My original plan was to stay one night at Pear Lake and one at Moose or head straight to Moose and stay there for two nights. I figured this may be a bit ambitious for the group so we stuck to 2 nights at Pear.

The hike is a little over 6 miles and a 2200 foot climb. The hike out to Pear Lake is really nice of course the first hurdle was to find the trail. The trip organizer (aka Renee) wasn’t so organized when it came to identifying the trailhead. We ended up finding a trail to link to the trail we wanted and we were off. For future reference you need to drive out of Lodgepole back onto the highway and head south. The trail starts out forested and gently climbs upward. At about the halfway point there was a junction to either take the Hump Trail or The Watchtower. Both take you to the same destination but the Watchtower is definitely the way to go unless you are doing this trip in snow. The view from the Watchtower is really great and the trail east looks adventurous from the Watchtower…those with vertigo may not do so well. We arrived at the lake with plenty of time to setup and unwind. The campsites are all marked and if you have to stay in a marked site….that was a first for me.

On day 2 we headed over to Moose Lake. Looking at the map the x-country route looked pretty easy. Leaving from the lake was actually the most challenging part of the navigation. There were some differences of opinion on how we should be climbing initially but after some healthy debate we steered ourselves to the right course. After about an 800-foot climb we were definitely above tree line and the landscape changed. Unfortunately we ended up navigating ourselves a bit too far to the south when we should have kept a bit more east to get to Moose. In any case we climbed up to the ledge into Moose and had a really great view. We debated amongst ourselves about getting down – scrambling from where we were or going down a little and navigating east and back down a gentler ramp. Given the time of day we decided to just hang out for awhile, have something to eat and then head down to give the boys some time to go swimming.

The guys got their swim and I had a laugh watching all of the crazy people get into the crazy cold water. We had our grub and settled in for some stargazing…which was great. The next day we headed out around 9 with the usual thoughts of cold beer helping to speed our pace. The walk out was really nice and uneventful. This was a really nice hike with great weather and I would love to go back and explore the Tablelands at some point.

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