High Sierra Trail, Day 1 – Crescent Meadow to Bearpaw Meadow Camp, June 17 2015

posted in: Photos, Trip Report | 1

Gil (GoHiker.com) and I hiked the High Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney, June 17-22. Here is Day 1 of our trip:

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The Plan

  • June 17 – travel to Sequoia, pick up permits, start hike
    • Shuttle
      • 6:00 AM – Sequoia Shuttle to Giants Forest Museum
      • 8:30 AM – Route 1 (Green) Shuttle Bus to Lodgepole Visitor Center
        • 25 min ride
        • pick up permits
      • 9:30-ish – Route 1 (Green) Shuttle bus to Giants Forest Museum
      • 10:00-ish – Route 2 (Gray) Shuttle bus to Crescent Meadows (36.554982,-118.749247)
        • 15 mins
    • Hike Crescent Meadows to 9 Mile Creek (36.571355,-118.645306)
      • 8.8 miles || + 1925, -1075 || 5 hrs
    • LEG 1 Total: 8.8 miles || + 1925, -1075 || 5 hrs

The Outcome

The morning started off as planned, with the exception of the shuttle within the park not running until 9:00 am. This actually worked in our favor – next to the ranger station is a general store. We were able to grab some extra food for breakfast. Unfortunately by the time we made it to Crescent Meadows and starting hiking, it was 11 am and very hot. When we originally planned this hike for early June, one thing that we weren’t too concerned with was heat. As it turned out, California had a little heat wave the week of our hike. This resulted in us hiking slower than expected, spending more time filtering water and taking more frequent breaks. Overall I’d say we spent about 20% more time hiking than expected. Due to getting a late start and the slower pace, we arrived at 9 Mile Creek after most of the campsites were claimed. We decided to continue onto Buck Creek, where we learned a trail crew was staying.  Rather than stay in a crowded area, we decided to continue onto Bearpaw Meadow Camp. During our planning stages, we were told that this place was often overcrowded and noisy. To our surprise, there was no one there when we arrived. We had our choice of campsites and we did not see anyone until I was crawling into my sleeping bag for the night.

Leg 1 Actual: Crescent Meadows to Bearpaw Meadow Camp || 11 miles || +3872, -2857 || +1015 net elevation gain || 9.5 hours

Water & Food

I drank 175+ ounces of water over the span of 9 hours and used about 1/3 of the NUUN electrolyte tablets I brought for the trip. I did bring some sodium & potassium capsules as a backup, and it’s likely I’ll need them by the end of the trip. Food wise, I am already thinking I should have brought more Triscuits. The taste and texture are a nice change from the other stuff I am carrying. For dinner I tried my first meal from PackItGourmet. It was amazing!


One of my goals for this hike was to carry no more than 35 lbs at any time. It seemed like an attainable goal, but with some last minute changes and underestimating how much some of my clothing would weigh, my pack weight was 42 lbs without water.

  • Farm to Feet Merino Wool Socks
    • High Points
      • Wore these from the hotel all the way to camp. I had worn these on several hikes, but nothing this hot. Considering they are heavy mountaineering socks, I was very happy with how they performed.
      • Nearly wore them to bed due to laziness -they dried quickly and had no smell, but I had brought along my…
    • Asheboro Camping Hiker
      • Brought these along to be used as my nighttime socks or for hiking as needed. Nothing like putting on a fresh pair of socks at bedtime.
  • Delorme InReach, provided by LowerGear.com’s Rental Service
    • One of the primary reasons my pack weighed more than expected:
      • Battery usage was an unknown. To reduce my weight, I decided to leave my dedicated GPS unit at home (Gil was carrying one). Unfortunately the battery packs I carried ( 2 x 10,000 mAh, 1 x 2600 mAh,  1 x 650 mAh solar charger) weighed much more.
      • Battery usage was something that I was interested in and decided to track it for the hike. When I left the hotel, my iPhone and Derlorme were both at 100%
        • End of Day 1:
          • Delorme – 92%, with sending 9 tracking points and 4 custom text messages. I did not use the Delorme for navigation.
          • iPhone – 81%, Earthmate was active, but I did not use it much. I plugged the iPhone into my solar battery before going bed.
  • Mountainsmith Boundary 75L Backpack
    • One of my last minute changes, that initially created some problems, but in the end was a good decision (more on this later, on the Day 2 & 3 trip reports).
    • Since I used this pack, rather than the SMD Fusion 65, I was able to leave my Ribz Front Pack at home.
    • I’ve owned this pack since 2007, but have only used it once or twice.
  • Oboz Beartooth BDry Hiking Boots
    • My legs felt pretty fatigued, partially due to the weight of these boots, but there was more than one instance where I felt they saved my ankles, especially with the heavy pack I was carrying.
    • For 11 miles with a 40+ lbs pack, the bottoms of my feet felt great, which was one of my primary concerns on this trip.
  • WoolX Merino Wool
    • Explorer 1/4 Zip Baselayer Top
      • Wore this to bed and around camp – I still can’t believe how soft this top is.
    • Outback TeeBoxers
      • Started and finished my hike wearing these. After a day of lots of sweating, they dried fast and no smell!

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  1. Rob

    How many streams or creeks where you can filter water from crescent meadow to bear paw meadow did you come across.