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High Sierra Geography and Geology | High Sierra Backpacker

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Belding Ground Squirrels; AKA Meadow Dogs

We have a small mammal that's adapted pretty well to the flat expanses of High Sierra meadows by focusing on observation, communication, speed and cover. These are the Belding Ground Squirrels.

Belden Ground Squirrels in Cold Canyon, Yosemite National Park.

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Kennedy Meadows Pack Station

Matt Bloom and family and friends provide long distance High Sierra backpackers the best of Western Hospitality, food, supplies, laundry and showers along the classic route of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail where it crosses Highway 108.

Kennedy Meadows is a standard resupply spot for Pacific Crest Trail hikers.

For visitors driving up on Highway 108, the Sonora Pass Highway Kennedy Meadows offers outstanding food, lodging, horses and horsepacking into the Emigrant Wilderness South of Kennedy Meadows Pack Station or North into the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.

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Ice Crystals grow out of High Sierra Soils

A common event is cold night time temps causing crystal formation in soils.

 Ice crystals grow out of Sierra soils.

This effect "scrubs" the trail of tracks. Tracks on the trail are dated from the last crystal-freeze or rain in that area. Wind ages and obliterates tracks. The crystals above formed during early May of 2002 in the open flat of Meiss Meadow.

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Meiss Family Cabin, Meiss Meadow, Meiss Country Roadless Area

Forest Service Sign at Meiss Cabin in the Meiss Country Roadless Area in the Southernmost part of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

 Meiss Cabin historical marker, Forest Service.


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Brown Bear Pass to Grizzly Peak trail junction

Brown Bear Pass marks our exit from Summit Creek's awesome valley into the High Emigrant Meadow.

Brown Bear Pass to Bond Pass and Yosemite

On the far side of Emigrant Meadow a 200 foot low ridge divides Emigrant Meadow and Emigrant Meadow Lake from Grizzly Peak surrounded by Grizzly Meadow on its East side. 

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Sheep Camp to Upper Lunch Meadow

Hiking South of Sheep Camp's exceptional campsites we travel through some unique shaped and colored golden granites of Emigrant Wilderness.

Trail Guide

We enjoy the shade of the light forest cover alternating with sections of dry sage meadow. A bit short of the lower edge of Lunch Meadow, the North end, we come upon a fine group site.

We will leave this behind in favor of one of the sites either on the North or South end of upcoming Lunch Meadow.

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Green, Beetle-Like, flying High Sierra Bug, Emigrant Wilderness

Chased this little green bug around the trail junction at Emigrant Meadow Lake for quite some time before getting this shot.

Little green High Sierra Bug at 9400 feet in Emigrant Meadow.

Date: Sept 3, 2010

This little guy was really really unhappy that I spotted it, and did everything in its power to get me off its tail. Well, that's not going to work with me. I persisted, eventually getting the sad shot above.

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Eastern Thunderstorm Hits Sierra Nevada from Gulf of Mexico

Thunderstorms born far to the Southeast of the Sierra Crestline in the Gulf of Mexico are rare and beautiful weather phenomena. Well, they've been rare in our traditional weather patterns.
As the new pattern that is emerging is much more influenced by tropical heat, I expect Summertime tropical storms to become more common in the High Sierra. Nonetheless, I consider backpackers along the Sierra Crest trails between Tahoe and Whitney experiencing these rare storms as lucky.

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High Sierra Thunderstorm, Tuolumne Meadows

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High Sierra Thunderstorms

A regular feature of High Sierra weather during Summertime are local thunderstorms.

These thunderstorms are the most powerful expression of the relationship between the Valley and the Sierra Nevada. During most of the year the weather in the Sierra is a product of a vast system of energy distribution operating on a planetary scale.

Typically, the storms that bring our Winter snows begin thousands of miles away in the Bearing Straight.

This is not the case for Summer thunderstorms in the Sierra.

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Grizzly Meadow: High Sierra, Millipede, Backpacking Emigrant Wilderness

Centipede at Grizzly Lake, Emigrant Wilderness. 

Millipede marches through camp after backpacking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route from Kennedy Meadows Pack Station to Grizzly Meadow near Grizzly Lake. Emigrant Wilderness, Stanislaus National Forest.

9620 feet. August 26, 2012.

Trail Guide: Brown Bear Pass to Bond Pass, High Emigrant Wilderness

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Kennedy Meadows Pack Station Kids & Adult Horse Camps, Summer 2013 & 2014

Kennedy Meadows Pack Station has a Kid's Horse Camp?

2014 brings Kid and Adult horsepacking Schools

I can't think of a better way to show kids the balance of responsibility, fun, trail skills, camp skills, horses, and mules than Kennedy Meadows Pack Station putting on a Kid's Horse Camp. Apparently science agrees too...

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Clampers at Kennedy Meadows: Emigrants of 1852-53 and Jewels of the High Country

I found these two Historical Monuments at Kennedy Meadows Pack Station by the Clampers quite interesting.

The first tells the story of the Clark Skidmore party of 1852, which was the first to successfully cross the High Sierra with a wagon.

(Full Text)

The theme of this monument was the sixty days of work required to blaze a road between the Walker River and Sonora, which exhausted the emigrants, according to this monument. 

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Tadpole, High Emigrant Lake

Tadpole, Backpacking Emigrant Wilderness, High Emigrant Lake, 9706 feet.  

Tadpole below High Emigrant Lake check dam, Backpacking Emigrant Wilderness.

Trail Guide Page: Kennedy Canyon to Bond Pass

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Kings Canyon National Park: Early Tree Blazes in Evolution Meadow

Thurs, August 20. Evolution Valley, Kings Canyon National Park. Echo Davenport, an archeologist from Yosemite, and her assistant, Mary Lee were surveying early tree blazes in Evolution Meadow carved by sheep and cattle grazers in the 19th Century. 

Mary Lee and Echo Davenport point out early tree blaze

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Video IIa: Spring Snow Backpacking trip, Round Lake to Showers Lake, June 6, 2010

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Spring in the Sierras 

Rifts great and small are opening up in the snow cover. Intense streams have cut fantastic shapes through their snow covers as they hurry down the mountain, while the meadow snows are suffering a different fate.

Run off from the mountains surrounding Meiss Meadow is flowing under the great sheets of snow covering the meadow, first undercutting, then collapsing the snow on the meadow.

Showers_Lake_Frozen_Spring 2010
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Backpacking Showers Lake to the Meiss Cabin, Meiss Country Roadless Area

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This page is for your comments, questions, and experiences backpacking Showers Lake to the Meiss Cabin, Meiss Country Roadless Area.

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