What would it be like to walk across the entire Sierra? many hikers wonder. What magical places are hidden in the heart of the range, far from any trip I’ve attempted yet? I want to see them! If you’re such a hiker, this is the trip for you, for it crosses the range almost entirely on the famed High Sierra Trail, passing through remote and beautiful regions on its way to climbing Mt. Whitney, highest peak in the contiguous 48 states. True, many people find their way to Bearpaw Meadow and even Hamilton Lakes from the west, and up Mt. Whitney from the east. But very few ever see the splendor of Big Arroyo, from whose meadowed floor you look up to hanging valleys carved from almost-white granite. Fewer still are those who cross remote Chagoopa Plateau, enjoying the tranquil loveliness of Moraine Lake. And even though people tend to congregate at Kern Hot Spring for obvious reasons, they are just a handful who, like you on this trip, are privileged to be in the greatest of all the Sierra’s “yosemites,” awesome Kern Canyon. There are other places and other trails on which to cross the range, but I think none is more exciting and spectacular than this, the High Sierra Trail. Plan a few layover days so that you can explore some of the more remote niches that the High Sierra Trail passes near but not through, like Nine Lake Basin, the basin at the headwaters of the Kern River, and Wallace Lake.
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