High Sierra Trail - Day 2
9 mile creek to Hamilton Lake
Points of interest
Buck Creek - 7,200 feet, ~2 miles from 9 mile creek
Bearpaw meadow - 7850 feet, ~3 miles from 9 mile creek
Hamilton lake - 8,234 feet, ~7 miles from 9 mile creek
On day 2, as we were waking up, I saw a baby bear cub going down the other bank of a stream we were sleeping next to. Turns out the mama bear was ahead of it. A few tense moments passed by where we whistled frantically to wade them away. That was the last time we encountered bears but it woke us up properly.
As we hike, we get to see stunning views of the river valley. Sweeping vistas.
We started the hike towards Bearpaw meadow, where we would get our first clear view of the great western divide. Bearpaw meadow high sierra camps were under construction in 2019 and were not open. There were no factilities nor was there water available.
We start to see red Kaweah and black Kaweah peaks. We knew that we would have to go past these mountains the next day and the reality starts to sink in.
s you look towards the East from Bearpaw meadow, you can see the Great Western Divide looming before you, but before you can cross it, you need to cross river valley. That is roughly a 800 feet climb down and a climb back up. It is only a 800 feet down because of this bridge that is high above Lone Pine creek.
We start going down the river valley before we climb up to Hamilton lake, but near the bottom of the valley, we have to cross Lone Pine Creek. The original bridge to cross the creek was knocked out in an avalanche. The bridge is still precariously hanging in thin air. Quite a sight. When we reach lone pine creek, we are near the bottom of the valley and the steep climb to Hamilton lake begins here.
Another ten or so minutes of climbing leads you to Upper Hamilton lake where we camped for the night. We got here around 2:30 pm, so there was plenty of time to rest, take a dip, wash our clothes, dry them, fix dinner and see a very pretty sunset. Oh BTW, the location of the blowout is slightly to the left of the brown patch you see in this photo in the upper left.
Clouds started to move in over Mt. Stewart as the evening went by. Little did I know that we would be hiking directly underneath Mt. Stewart to get to Kaweah Gap and Precipice lake the next day. Precipice lake and Kaweah Gap are at about 1'o clock in this photo.
Different moods of Lake Hamilton as the sun sets and moon rises.
The moon makes an appearance.
As the sun sets and when you think the show is over, moon lights up Mt. Stewart for a perfect evening.
A park ranger checked our permits on the evening of day 2. I asked her where the blowout was in the trail. "Right below the brown patch" she said. I did not have a peaceful night's sleep that night.