XSL 2015 ~ Cross Country SEKI Loop ~ Days 8 & 9

Looking across Nine Lakes Basin toward Kaweah Gap

                                             ~ Days 8 & 9: High Sierra Trail ~

Days 8 and 9 were spent exploring some of the High Sierra Trail with a side trip to Tamarack Lake. After many years in the High Sierra I was looking forward to finally seeing Precipice Lake and Hamilton Lake, two of the beautiful lakes along the High Sierra Trail. The scenery didn't disappoint and after some bushwhacking I made camp in the dark along the shore of Tamarack Lake. 

Looking down the Big Arroyo

Big Arroyo panorama

Precipice Lake.

Precipice Lake

Angel Wings from the High Sierra Trail

The first view of Hamilton Lake from the High Sierra Trail.

High Sierra Trail Tunnel view

Hamilton Lake from the High Sierra Trail

While hiking down from Precipice Lake I could see an orange spot on the shore of Hamilton Lake below. As I got closer it was clearly an orange tent. Right on the shore of Hamilton Lake. After spending over a week in the backcountry on cross country routes it was strange to see the crowds on this busy section of trail and I was surprised to see someone setup their tent right on the shore, just a few feet from the water. While picking up a permit the rangers always repeat the usual guidelines, "camp at least 100 feet from lakes and trails" etc. We've all heard it a million times.

I took a swim, made lunch and finally walked over to the couple with the orange tent and asked, "hasn't a ranger said anything to you?". The guy seemed surprised, but finally said, "well it looked like someone had camped here before". . . I laughed and another person nearby said, "the ranger will give you a ticket if they see you camped so close to the lake".

I packed up and hiked on and was happy to get away from the busy scene at Hamilton Lake as quickly as possible.

Restoration Area on Hamilton Lake.

Camping in the Restoration Area?

Hamilton Lake

View from the High Sierra Trail
By sunset I reached this beautiful spot for dinner and hiked on to Tamarack Lake, arriving after dark to make camp in the trees above the shoreline.

Sunset from a Sierra swimming hole
The next morning I found the granite recliners setup I had heard about from one of my friends at the HST meetup. I had the lake to myself and enjoyed breakfast while relaxing on the shore of Tamarack Lake.

Granite recliners on Tamarack Lake.

Tamarack Lake.
The wildflowers were in full bloom along the High Sierra Trail.

Wildflowers on the High Sierra Trail

Bushwhacking along the "trail"

Forest along the High Sierra Trail

Looking back toward Kaweah Gap from the High Sierra Trail

Panoramic views along the High Sierra Trail.

I hiked the 16.5 miles back to the car before dark and started the slow process of 're-entry' into civilization during the long drive home that night. 

Thanks for reading! 

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  1. How could I have missed this superb report? Your photos are the best! Really enjoyed a virtual trip through some of my favorite country. Thanks for posting.

    1. Thank you Sekihiker! Your website and trip reports were the I inspiration for much of this route. Thanks for leading the way.