July 18th
Bearpaw Meadow Campsite(57.6)-Crescent Meadow Trailhead(69)
Miles: 11.4mi

We cruised the 11mi down to the Crescent Meadow Trailhead, the western terminus of the High Sierra Trail. As I’ve mentioned before, most HSTers start on this end to complete their hike at Mt Whitney. We saw many people heading up today. This is quite a popular hike. It was a pleasant surprise that the trail stayed high.

On the way down, Why Not and I saw a bear! Finally! We were in the woods and it wasn’t very large, but it was pretty spooked it seems from all the hikers coming through this morning. He was well above us as we were hiking in a wooded area, and it came running down the hill and across the trail and just kept barreling through on far down below the trail and into the brush. It happened so fast we didn’t have time to take photos or anything, but he was about 20yds away and it was really fun to see one after a month out here! Good to know those bear canisters we’ve been lugging are for a good reason!

I have had people ask about wildlife so far this summer. We have seen a ton of marmots, deer, and lizards, but few other animals. The unique ones now have been one bear, rattlesnake, and loon all on the more traveled High Sierra Trail. After this hike, we head to Wyoming to the Winds where grizzly bears may be sighted!

There were breaks in the trees and we could see the smog filled San Joaquin valley.

At the end of the trail, we had the smoothest experience I think you could possibly have. We finished the 11mi by 10am and immediately got a finish photo from a woman named Liza (hiked the HST with her mom and sister when she was 16yrs old) who was hiking out after dropping her brother off at the trailhead.

High Sierra Trail Complete!

Liza’s family owns the healthy snack company Beanfields. Earlier in the morning, Why Not joked about the slim chances of trail magic to end this trail and it actually happened! Liza had a big variety of quality chips and we each got to pick a bag. Pretty darn cool! Thanks to Liza!

Random trail magic from Liza who happens to be an owner of Beanfields Snacks!

We were thinking we would need to hitch a ton to get back to our car we left at another trailhead a month ago at the start of the Sierra High Route, and were pleasantly surprised that there’s a free shuttle that took us out partway. The shuttle was there within a minute of Liza taking our finish photo, and like that, we were done. It was the quickest finish to a trail I’ve ever had!

We got a shuttle to a tourist location called Lodgepole Visitor Center where there was a market, laundry services we didn’t use, and showers for a good price that we used to rinse off since we’d be spending the rest of the day in a car. We knew it would be a long day to get back to our car (2hrs away) and then drive to Rockin’s in Tehachapi (5hrs away with stops). Amazingly, we got the first hitch out of Lodgepole with the second car and then I hitched on my own to take the long windy road to Roads End to grab the car and drive back. I was quite carsick by the time that was over. There are tons of people in the park and we were really excited that the hitching went so quickly. We made it to Rockin’s house by 8pm and got to have some fresh food (and chocolate milk!!!) with Rockin’s husband Dan before crashing for the night.

Fresh food (and chocolate milk!!!) at Rockin’s with her husband Dan.

We will take a double zero here to tend to all our personal things (and blogs) at Rockin’s in Tehachapi before setting off on the two day drive to Wyoming for the Wind River High Route. Man, another route already! I’ll do a post with more detail on the WRHR before we start. Lots to do before we leave. This summer is flying by!

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