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John Muir Trail Day 8: Le Conte Canyon

August 06, 2018

This morning started off easy, walking downhill through ferns as we followed Palisade Creek as it flowed all the way from above the Palisade Lakes. Eventually we reach the junction with the Middle Fork Kings River and made our turn north towards Le Conte Canyon.

Grouse Meadows
Grouse Meadows

Grouse Meadows had some really nice campsites just off the trail. It would’ve been a great place to camp, but was a few miles further than we were willing to walk the previous night.

Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park

The trail into Le Conte Canyon was beautiful with towering granite peaks on both sides. It reminded me of Paradise Valley in the western side of Kings Canyon.

Kings Canyon National Park
Middle Fork Kings River
Middle Fork Kings River

The trail became a little more shaded with the slight increase in grade. But before too long we stopped for lunch just past a footbridge near the Bishop Pass trail junction.

Footbridge
Footbridge

After a quick break for lunch and water refills, we headed north through the canyon and passed the Le Conte Canyon Ranger Station. About an hour later we started our ascent up Muir Pass when I turned around to find my sister kneeling over her trekking poles with pain in her knee.

We filled a ziplock bag with cold water from the river and put that on her knee. She couldn’t put any pressure on it so I decided to jog back down to the Ranger Station where I found the two Rangers we had passed the day before. We made a plan to meet in the morning if it didn’t get better.

Le Conte Canyon
Le Conte Canyon

The scenery was beautiful, but the mood was low. The unexpected had happened but we we’re making the best of the situation. I knew the most likely scneario would be taking a helicopter evacuation out to Bishop, so we started to mentally prepare for that.