So Kate and I took off for a week in the woods. Our plan was to hike up to Humphrey's Basin and bounce around the area lake to lake enjoying the solitude and beauty. When we got to Bishop to get our permits, the first person in line got the last of the walk up permits for the trailhead we wanted to enter in. When our name was called a ranger helped us put together a similar trip leaving from closest trailhead that still had room for us. It turns out the Pine Creek Pass we got brought us up to the other side of the basin we wanted, but it started from a lot lower elevation. So instead of having to climb 1500 feet of elevation gain the first day, we got to do 3500 instead. It certainly made us appreciate everything that we dragged up there.
The picture I took of the John Muir Wilderness sign was almost at the top of the climb as we enter the lakes just below the pass. Apparently my shockproof/waterproof camera is not wilderness proof because that was the last picture I took of our trip, only about 4 hours into it. For whatever reason the camera lense cover got stuck open and it refused to take another picture. Of course after we got home and I got out my screwdrivers to take the sucker apart it turns on with no problems. So sorry no pictures were taken of the many awesome lakes, waterfalls, mountains, and sunsets we saw.
Other than the camera not working our trip was awesome. Once we got over the pass on day 2, we didn't see another person. The lakes on the other side of the pass were all unique and amazingly beautiful, they just required hiking at least 10 miles to get to and the established trail stops at the first lake on the other side of the pass. It didn't stop us from having a great time together. Our plan to hike into Humphreys Basin to get to where our original plan would have us go was interupted by a pretty significant ridge that ran down the length of the area we had hiked into. I'm not sure how they expected us to get over it, since it was about 1000 feet of pretty sheer rock fall. We scouted out a few different possible spots, but decided it wasn't safe enough and there were plenty of lakes on our side of the ridge we hadn't seen yet so it didn't seem worth the risk.
Even on our side of the ridge we had our share of tough terrain. To get to the lake we wanted to camp at our 4th night we had to do about 3 miles of boulder field hiking. It took forever, reminded us of hiking in Pennsylvania, and got us tired quick but we got there. Of course after all that work when we woke up in the morning we found a marmot had chewed up my trekking poles that I left out of the tent at night. I guess the salt in the straps my hands go through is a treat for them. No pictures of the marmot, but I have the chewed up straps to prove it!
I can't wait to get back out there, 5 nights in the wilderness was just what we both needed. The solitude was awesome, and the experience is one we'll remember for a long long time.