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Ambition Meets Granite:
the 1999 Sierra Expedition


the Plan: cross Taboose Pass, descend the South Fork Kings, climb to lakes below Cartridge Pass

We awoke to clear skies and departing neighbors. After breakfast we continued up to the Rapids Bench, then the Grey Bench. A hiker who had started from the trailhead at 6AM passed us here, obviously making very good time! We finally passed the Green Bench and reached the pass late in the morning. After photos and rest we continued down, veering north to reach the Muir Trail near the crossing of the South Fork Kings. We took a long lunch break along the way, then continued down to the junction. Apparently our campmates left us a note in the dust to help locate the Cartridge trail, but at the junction we met others and talked as we walked and missed the clue. At the crossing of the South Fork we turned downstream, and within five minutes hit the clear path we had hoped for. It disappeared after some blowdown and a patch of talus, then reappeared again. In the second talus I met my first bear, who was examining the shrubs on the river's south bank! I spoke to him and pulled out my video camera; he shifted nervously, which made me far more comfortable, then he shuffled out of sight into the shrubs. After that talus we had hints on recovering the trail from DW Donehoo's web pages, but it was late and the trail was subtle. We finally decided to camp at the South Fork, and we found a nice camp. The young bear did not visit us, nor did any of his relatives. Another cloud popped up and hit us with late-day drips, but not enough to get anything wet.

bear on South Fork Kings (video)


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