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Backpacking in Kings Canyon National Park


Aaron Zagrodnick

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Aaron Zagrodnick

The Owens Valley and its surrounding mountains are far from the place I grew up and have become one of my favorite parts of this great nation. When I first came here I felt like I had discovered a secret. A lost and secret land. This dry country goes unconquered by man. The valleys between the mountain ranges are grand, quiet and peaceful, possessing a haunting beauty unique to this area. To many who first look upon it, the starkness of this landscape seems unnatural and provokes confusion, even revulsion. It appears hostile and empty. The desert won’t always reveal its beauty right away, but for those who take time to get to know it, inevitably they fall in love. For me, having lived two winters here, this area will always feel like home. The spacious desert is my sanctuary...

@michael.swanbeck with a shoulder season trip in the Sierra - Check out the article in Issue 25:

Shoulder Season in the Sierra

Sunset While Backpacking in Kings Canyon National Park, California

Issue 25 Page 1

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Kudos for getting out in the Sierra's awkward season -- not many people get out there between the first serious snow and ski-touring season.

I'd add Secor's "The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, Trails" to the "books" section.  While it's more focused on peaks, it does include fairly comprehensive coverage of on- and off-trail routes through the range.  One of the best things about the Sierra is how easy it is to use a topo and Secor to make up your own cross-country route.

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  • 5 months later...

The Los Angeles Dept of Water and Power conquered the Owens Valley a long time ago by taking its water supply.  Recent court decisions have restored some of the ground water and helped the Owens River and the Lake.

It is a great place to hike in the off season. I especailly like Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills, and the areas around Bishop and Mammoth.

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