It’s all uphill from here
July 18, 2014. 11 miles
North Fork Kings River to Devils Punchbowl & Disappointment Lake.
Despite having a hard time falling asleep last night and then dreaming that I was rushing and late to all my sessions, I woke at 5.30 itching to get on the trail. A mouse or other small rodent absconded with my eye dropper bottle full of soap! The top was leaking so I left it outside the bear can. I feel badly that I’ve inadvertently littered! I’ll make up for it by finding some interesting trash to pick up. I was on the trail by 7:30 and made the 2,000 foot 7 mile climb to Devils Punchbowl by 11:30.
The trail was steep indeed but it did level out at various plateaus where I was able to catch my breath before climbing again. The trail was a bit obscure in places so I had to keep my daydreaming to a minimum. This most definitely is not a well traveled trail. In fact I have not seen a soul all day! The trail skirted along some stellar meadows that where chocked full of both flowers, swamp onions and incredible green grasses. Oh and did I mention there were mosquitos? Not as many as yesterday but enough to be increasingly annoying! I decided the meadow should be called Devils Meadow on account of the obscure trail and the bugs. While I was climbing I got an intense craving for gum drops, of all things… Red, white and black. Gum drops aren’t usually part of my diet so I have no idea why suddenly I wanted them. I often crave the weirdest food when I’m backpacking!
I could tell I was getting closer to the Western Eastern Crest because the higher I climbed the bluer the sky became and the fresher the air smelled. When I was hunting around for the trail I noticed a light blue speck on the ground. Upon further inspection I discovered it was a broken bird’s egg. I hunted around for a nest but could not find one.
As soon as my boots hit the shores of Devils Punchbowl I jumped in the water! So refreshing. The water was not cold. I found a 5 star view for lunch overlooking two valleys. And there was a perfect breeze so I was able to sit and enjoy my lunch without mosquitos. I studied the map and picked out distant peaks and valleys. I saw Mt Shin whose front side ( eastern ) side I see from Florence Lake. I was so excited to see it off in the distance and I greeted it like a long lost friend.
High country meadow
After a relaxing lunch I poked around Devils Punchbowl watching the water ripple and lap against the sandy shore. I saw a camp set up, in what looked to me like a mosquito bog. I did not see anyone around and figured they got carried off by a swarm of mosquitos I decided to continue onward to Disappointment Lake where I’m now camped I circumnavigated the lake and no one is here. It is a beautiful lake with granite benches, White Bark Pine, lush green grass and sandy beaches. I am camped on a granite bench shelf above the lake where there is a nice breeze. I can see Mt Hutton, Red Mountain and Hell For Sure Pass, which I will tackle tomorrow.