Kings Canyon Pt. 3 – To the Top

Closing out the hike up woods canyon in Kings Canyon National Park here. If you remember, I had just finished going through the flat valley and turned up the trail towards mist falls.

As we (the ranger, two young european ladies and myself) made our way up the canyon, we found a bench with this lovely, very old Ponderosa Pine with a few living limbs on the ground

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This incense cedar next to a boulder had been burned many times, but still lives

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Getting close to the falls

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There she is! The trail just opened up onto the very tiny falls. The drought had reduced it to an echo of its natural self

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In normal years, the water flows several feet deep in the center, spreads out over al the rocks and sprays a large mist stream across the entire area

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It was still a very nice waterfall for september

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At the top of the falls, where I ate lunch, all this should be wet

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The washing machine, where the water swirls and slowly etches away the rocks

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A look back at the valley from the top of the falls, this is a little more than 3 miles out from the end of the road, but didn’t feel like it at all, so I kept going to my ultimate destination, the bottom of paradise valley, another 1000 feet and 4 miles up the trail

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When I got further up, our friend the sphinx was so close (elevation-wise) that I got a really great head-on shot

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And another from the side

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Kept on hiking up, up, up

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Granite walls on one side, steep cliff on the other

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Nah, the trail was well made and very safe, this was a giant boulder to the side

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Pack animals come up here, and many hikers over the last century on the way to the high country

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The stained granite was like an earthly rainbow

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Ooh, what is that very different mountain? Gotta make it up to the valley

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But a look back, the falls are a long ways down

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Oh, almost there! Just have to make it up there. Wait, then I have to hike back, with little water or food left…it’s not too far, I’ve driven several hundred miles to get there

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Last set of steps up?

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Now it is getting narrow, and still steep, more steps

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Paradise valley is just on the other side of the ridge and over the trees there. But I’m tired, and need to be able to make it back, and every time I keep going it gets longer. So I make the smart-hiker decision and turn around

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A look back at my hike, I started two miles to the right at the bottom of that valley. On my way back I took a different and very photogenic route, but the last half mile was very, very hard with many breaks on the way down. I could not have made it back had I gone any further, even a quarter mile. I’ll be back one day, probably on an animal, but badly injured my knees and am still trying to get better

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Next up – Giant Boulders, Cliff Falls and Avalanches

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