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Hike Route Off Kaiser Pass Road
This is one of my annual “warm up” hikes and previous reports can be found here:
What is different this year is the much later date of the hike. July 16th is more than a month later than usual because of the heavy snowfall this past winter. Even as this is posted, this is the most snow I have seen on and along the trail.
I have mentioned previously that the hardest part of this hike (with a total gain of about 1,500’) is the 400’climb inbound back up to Potter Pass from below the meadow area. Your legs are not fresh and the climb is steep and exposed. The trail is well marked but keep an eye on the signage. The trail to George Lake from Upper Twin Lake, for those going further, is not as obvious.
We did this hike on a Saturday so the trail traffic was higher than a weekday. We actually met 8 folks along the way that we knew. It is a popular hike for those from Fresno, CA. We also passed several backpackers who had overnighted at Upper Twin Lake.
It has been hot with triple digit temperatures in Fresno. Our early start at the 8,300’ trailhead was about 50 degrees with a finish temperature of 80 degrees. The trailhead is across the highway from the parking area. There are toilets there also. This year, there were lots of mosquitos and we passed a couple of folks who had unfortunately turned around prematurely at Lower Twin Lake discouraged by the mosquitos. There is a seasonal pond between Lower and Upper Twin Lakes that serves as breeding habitat for the mosquitos. We found a nice location at Upper Twin Lake for morning snacks and Sharon’s annual swim that had few mosquitos.
I was traveling lighter this year and the photographs are with the Sony A6000 and Sony/Zeiss 16-70mm f4 lens. We had about the same total time out this year as last year of about 5.5 hours. My heart rate data confirms that the climb out inbound is the most strenuous. There are nice “sitting rocks” at Potter Pass where you can admire the view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Mammoth CA. It is also a trail junction with those taking the Potter Pass Cut Off Trail which begins lower on Kaiser Pass Road. There is also a section of the trail where you can see Mammoth Mountain above and behind the meadow area as you walk the trail.
This year, we also had the Detwiler Fire smoke to contend with. This wildfire that began near Mariposa is only 40 percent contained and has already destroyed 76, 000 acres as of this date. The U.S. Forest Service folks have already cleared the trail of winter deadfalls.
China Peak Ski Area
Sierra Nevada View At Potter Pass
Sample Meadow Is North East Of Kaiser Pass
Banner Peak And Mt. Ritter Center Left
Lower Twin Lake
Mosquito Breeding Area Between Lakes
Upper Twin Lake
Mammoth Mountain Center
Huntington Lake (Elevation 7,200')