Jennie Lakes Wilderness backpacking and hiking
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park Travel Blog› entry 9 of 10 › view all entries
I wanted to visit Kings Canyon national park for the first time, and one of the things I wanted to do was go backpacking and camping on one of the trails there away from the crowds. Well Kings Canyon doesn’t draw the crowds like its bigger sibling Yosemite national park does, which is a shame because Kings Canyons (I’ll refer to this park as Kings from now on) is just overwhelmingly beautiful. Of course I only had at the most 2-3 days to do it, and I had to pick a wilderness trail that I can do within that time span. One of the trails, perhaps the most famous wilderness trail in Kings is the Rae Lakes Loop, which is 45 miles long, but I wanted to save that until I had a warm up for backpacking and hiking out in the wilderness.
So the trail that I decided to do was the Jennie Lakes wilderness trail, located in the Sequoia National forest, bordering Kings and Sequoia national park. This was going to be my precursor to wilderness backpacking. I left Saturday morning at 6 am, and managed to arrive at the Grant Grove village just after 730 am, the information center didn’t open until 8, so I decided to do a short drive and visit General Grant, which is a giant sequoia tree located close to Grant Grove. Well it wasn’t as spectacular as the trees in Sequoia National park, and you couldn’t touch it like the ones in Sequoia, but it was still worth the time to kill. I came back to the information center to get my permit, and was told I didn’t need a permit.
I drove for another 20 minutes south to the Big Meadow trailhead and parked my car at the lot, of course it took me a while to figure out where the trail started, so I decided to roam the surround area and explore the meadow. 3 hours later I found the trailhead, I feel really stupid, but it was just 100 feet from where I parked my car, and it had a sign that it was the trailhead.
It was 1130 am before I started my hike with my backpack up a long moderately steep climb. The trail was really easy to follow, though it wasn’t well maintained for the most part, and what I mean by that is it’s really easy to lose track of the trail itself if you’re not paying attention. I passed by a lot of really nice pine trees which provided shade under the midday sun, and had views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range as I kept walking.
After about 45 minutes of following the trail, there was a sign that leads to Weaver lake, to the left, and Jennie lake to the right. Nearby was a stream of water, and filled my water bottle. I wasn’t sure if the stream was safe to drink, I plan on boiling the water later. I headed right to Jennie Lake, and my progress up the trail became slower, it was practically uphill from there. One of pass I had to go through was called “Poop out pass.” Well now I see why they call it that, because by the time I got to the top of the pass which was just over 9000 feet, I was just wasted and trying to catch my breath.
I came out on a clearing and the trail became a little more difficult to follow. Jagged granite rocks everywhere, I saw some people down the slope of the hill; I thought to myself maybe they were going to Jennie Lakes.
But it just disappeared again. I knew I was only about 2-3 miles maybe less from the lake, but without the trail, I got a little disoriented, and the compass didn’t seem to help. The sun was almost setting, so I decided to find a clearing to set up my tent. It had a nice view of the surrounding Sierra Nevada ranges, but I was exhausted by then, and a bit anxious if I’ll ever make to Jennie Lakes. I must have went inside the tent by 8pm and doze on and off until after 6 am. Didn’t even bother to go and look outside the tent to look at the stars.