Day 1: Bear Ridge to Bear Creek
Bear Ridge trailhead at the beginning of a six-day loop over Gabbot Pass. After a chilly night (35-degrees at 7800 feet), we get started at 8:30 am.
We spend the morning hiking up a quiet trail through a serene pine forest.
By mid-morning we have a view across Lake Edison at the 11,000-foot peaks of the Silver Divide.
By early afternoon, we reach the John Muir Trail (same as the Pacific Crest Trail in this part of the Sierra).
From 9900 feet at the trail intersection, we begin our descent to Bear Creek.
Fantastic views of 13,000-foot Seven Gables.
The JMT drops 900 feet over two miles with plentiful views along the way.
At 3:30 we reach the Bear Creek trail intersection. Excellent campsites are located a short distance down the Bear Creek trail.
Thanks to abundant rains last winter, campfires are permitted for the first time in years. (We don't have to roam far to find firewood!)
Day 2: Bear Creek to Hilgard Branch
Next morning finds us heading up Bear Creek towards Selden Pass.
Mike is enjoying the trail so much he continues past the sign to Lake Italy (okay, so I may have been blocking his view of the sign).
At the Lake Italy cutoff, we leave the JMT/PCT.
By 11:30 we are above the valley with views across Bear Creek.
Before long, the scenery opens up.
Lunch stop across from a 11,700-foot peak.
Barren 12,000-foot peaks of the High Sierra offer a spectacular backdrop to our afternoon hike.
Hilgard Branch of Bear Creek is a classic High Sierra stream.
Outstanding campsite on a quiet trail, another reason we tend to avoid the JMT/PCT during our backpacking trips.
A little rest and meditation before dinner.
With tents set up, mattress pads inflated and gear organized, it's time to cook some dinner.
After dinner, time to light up another campfire. We are just below 10,000 feet, the upper limit of permitted campfires.
Rest and conversation around a campfire is a perfect way to end a day of backpacking.