Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My Rae Lakes Story


 Ok so here it is.  This is my Rae Lakes Story.  
You might think the story would be about the HIKE, 
 
or the SCENERY 
or some such nonsense as that but Nooooo it's about this:
 
It's all about the CAMERA and the pictures that come out of it!

You see, all spring and summer we've been taking "practice hikes" with our "pretend friends"
(that's SARCASM meaning every step of every hike so far has been very real and quite HARD and our hiking buddies are as Real and Genuine of a friend as you could ever have.  
Ever.
more on that later...)

so it's all been in anticipation and training for this, our Rae Lakes Loop Hike RLL which just took place in
 Julagust 2014
 49.3 miles
Can we just say FIFTY?!?!
 6,943 feet of elevation Gain (and Loss) 
over 8 days 
(which turned out to be 7) 
and 7 nights (which turned out to be 6).

And ALL of that for me is about the photos that can come out of this Canon 5D MkII camera that TJ let me buy used from some really cool hip young photographers who were upgrading and I'm never cleaning this camera because I need their cool hipness to linger on it!!
I even got this nifty tri-pod that mounts to my trekking poles which is fantastic because it only weighs ONE pound which lightened my load by Four Pounds!!
 
Or should I say lightened TJ’s load cause before we got this nifty little contraption he was the one carrying the whole Heavy Tri-Pod whilst I gladly carry my big-heavy 4 lb 5D MII.

I've learned to do nighttime photography you know, so on our "practice hikes" my camera captures shots like this:
at Graveyard Lake which is a very appropriately named because the last MILE of switchbacks go straight uphill at about 10,000' elevation and just about puts you in the grave!

and like this:
 
overlooking Silver Lake which I have no idea why it's called Silver Lake.  In fact, I have no idea why Any of the lakes are called what they are, and I'd Sure Like To.  If I've asked it once, I've asked at Every Lake, "Who gets to name these lakes anyway?!?"

Anyway, all of that in anticipation of the Rae Lakes Loop which finally arrived!!
We drove up to Roads End at Cedar Grove in the Kings Canyon National Forrest which is in the backyard of where I grew up at Hume Lake and we camped there in the campground Friday night.
Saturday morning we Packed Our Backpacks, Double checked we had everything and headed to the Ranger Station to snag our permit.
Packing our backpacks is part of refining our systems that we've done throughout our "practice hikes".  Everything has it's place and goes back in it's place.  We'd become completely familiar with exactly what went where which is all the more reason why I was so shocked at the end of our first day!
You see, we hiked the Loop COUNTER Clockwise which means we did the steep hard part in the first 3 days going UP to the pass and then spent the rest of the days of the Loop hiking gradually down. Yea RIGHT!

So we Cinched down, Strapped on, Snappped a photo on our phones which we use during the day on the trail, saving our 'big' camera for the night shots
 
and off we went, 
following Bubbs Creek over a few neat bridges
 
 and UP the Steep Hard Hot Grueling Switchbacks to a nice clearing just off the trail where we stopped and had lunch!
Did I say it was HOT? 
So I made sure I sat under a nice shady Pine tree which later I found gave me a big patch of sap on my leg as I made my notes about the hike in my little book.  We ate our hard sausage and cheese the first day because it's heavy and after lunch we loaded our packs, cinched, strapped and carried on.  
More uphill.
Temp was 80+.  Felt like 90+. Cloudy.
More uphill.
Granite Stair steps are Brutal but all this is better by far than the crumbly sandy shale trail from the Big Margaret Lake trail a few weeks ago which was Not my friend.
We knew the RLL would be hard - and it was!  
 
FINALLY, we made it to our Day One Destination: Junction Meadow - 10 Miles UPHILL the whole way!! 
I know the sign says 8.6, but it took 2 Miles to GET to the sign!
A wonderful first day
 
 
As we're setting up camp TJ notices I Have A Rash All Over My Legs - Oh Dear!!!
Heat Rash? 
Never had anything like this before.  Maybe it's from the Deet?
Fortunately it doesn’t hurt me or itch at all!!
And then.

After supper as the sun is setting and we’re winding down our first day on the trail, 

I go to my pack and look in.

Empty.

What?!?!?!

“TJ?”
“You don't have my Camera, 
do you????”

 

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