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  1. #1

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    CA > Kings Canyon > Sept - Any advice welcome!

    I'm planning a trip to Kings Canyon in early Sept and would appreciate any advice offered.

    This first night I will be staying in Lodgepole Campground.
    After that I'm looking to do about 30-40 miles and ending back at Lodgepole (or anywhere the shuttle services will take me back to Lodgepole).

    1. Does anyone have any recommended trails (or highlights/must see) that are suitable for hanging?
    2. Twin Lakes trail seems to offer a lot of opportunities for a lollipop - anyone done it?
    3. Is food hanging good enough or should I carry a bear can as they seem to very strongly recommend?
    4. I'm from relatively flat land and a much lower altitude. How much impact does this typically play in daily distance?

    Again, this will be my first time out to CA and into any kind of actual mountains so any help would be appreciated!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member bghiker's Avatar
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    I don't know about that particular trail, but I am leaving for the JMT in a couple weeks and canisters ARE required all along that trail, including the part that runs through Kings Canyon. While I was researching the JMT specifically, in general, it seems that bear canisters were required everywhere in the Sierras. There were several places to rent them at FS facilities and elsewhere easily found on google.

    The altitude and terrain will play a huge role in your daily mile count. The weather can also change very quickly and from my research, it can be in the upper 80's during the day and then freeze that night, especially as Fall starts.

    Enjoy...

  3. #3
    Senior Member AaronMB's Avatar
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    I'm not familiar with the Twin Lakes trail, though I do backpack other parts of Kings Canyon regularly.

    Temperatures can/will swing. Definitely be prepared for changing weather. It really can change from sunny and hot, to rainy/hailing in a short time; often times, it changes right back just as quickly. Be prepared for wet weather and cold nights. Layers are good.

    The sun can be quite strong especially if your trail is south facing. The last trail report for Twin Lakes suggested water was OK. But that was a month ago and it's very, very dry here this year. Check your mileage on the map and consider how much water you can/want to carry, and be prepared to augment when you check-in for your permit - and ask the ranger/clerk how the water sources are flowing.

    Some areas don't require a bear canister and some don't require one if you you camp at designated sites that have bear lockers. But if you have one, I recommend it; both for peace of mind and real security. I've seen a few bears this year in KC where I usually don't and have encountered them east of Lodgepole and Crescent Meadow in prior years. To boot, some of the big trees out there can be quite problematic for hanging a bag: too tall, with few low branches that don't extend very far.

    In the long run, elevation gain/loss plays a big role in energy used. Sleeping at Lodgepole the first night will help with acclimatizing to the elevation.

    FYI: Technically you're supposed to have a Camp-Fire Permit for campfires and/or stove use. The NPS website has an online video and quiz thing you can watch and then print out the "permit." Also check fire level restrictions if you're an alcohol stove user. Level 3 restrictions say that stoves must have an on/off switch. I've never heard of an alchy stove user being fined but you don't want to be the first. Current fire restrictions are Level 2 (click on the Red Banner for Alerts/details).

    If you're serious about trying to hang, bring long straps, or be ready to add length to them.
    Last edited by AaronMB; 08-03-2014 at 19:32.

  4. #4

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    Thanks so much for the input!

    Sounds like I should try to be ready for anything!
    I'll make sure to get that fire permit and keep an eye on those alerts for the fire restrictions.

    I've decided that I will suffer the 2 extra pounds and carry the bear can
    Also think that I will take a casual pace the first day at least to see how the elevation works out.

    AaronMB, how long are long straps? I'm not really setup to head to ground - that would make for a very unpleasant night!

  5. #5
    Senior Member AaronMB's Avatar
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    They all won't be huge trees. But if you run into a group of Sequoias and are determined to hang (that'd make for some great pictures), 12-15' wouldn't be out of the question. If your current straps are 6-8', I'd say have another set in the pack to add to them if needed.

    Have you decided on a trail, or the specific lollipop for Twin Lakes?

    For a sense of elevation, here's a lollipop route of Twin Lakes, more or less. One is a screenshot, then I realized I could save a JPG from the program.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by AaronMB; 08-04-2014 at 20:36.

  6. #6

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    I just got my map today and started looking into an exact route. I'm going to look into that topo program - that looks really slick!

    Surprisingly, that route looks pretty darn close to what I was thinking... except I was going to shoot out to sugarloaf hopefully.

    Looking at that handy elevation chart, should I be worried about finding trees at those heights? I would try to end the days in lower sections.

    Thanks again for all the advice!

  7. #7
    New Member Seigfried's Avatar
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    You'll need really big tree straps for the sequoias

  8. #8
    Oms's Avatar
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    Looks like a nice trip. That first map has got some elevation gain. California is one state that continues to elude me. Have to do something about that

  9. #9
    Senior Member AaronMB's Avatar
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    Tree line is roughly 9k-11k', all depending. Up to 9k' or so (give or take) and you'll have trees, above that the trees will change as you get into the alpine zone.

    Heavy, if you can identify the legs of the trail you'd take for Sugar Loaf and back, I'll try and route the distance and elevation for you. If you want a nice(r) JPG to work with, PM me with an email address that you're willing to share and I'll send you some more-detailed JPGs.

  10. #10

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    I'll take you up on that!

    Let me spend some time with the paper map I have and get back to you. Thanks again.

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