Kern Basin II

20-22 August 1992

by Bill Finch

This was the second of two trips into the Kern River headwaters in 1992. The goal was to make it over the Kings-Kern Divide on the first day of the hike.

Day 1

I left the trailhead at 8:00 am, earlier than on other trips. I made Charlotte Creek at 11:20, Junction Meadow at 1:30, East Lake at 3:40, and Lake Reflection, which I had to myself, at 5:00. Mt Brewer
Mt Brewer from East Lake

It was so beautiful and peaceful at Lake Reflection that I was tempted to stop there. Little Joe Pass from Lake Reflection
Little Joe Pass from Lake Reflection

I might have if there had been a bear box. Instead, I walked toward the pass a short distance and stopped for dinner.

I finished dinner by 7:00 and began the climb up Little Joe Pass, but I ran out of light at 8:15. The slope was steep and I felt lucky to have my pick of a couple of flat spots that didn't require too much development. Despite the cramped quarters, I slept very well and even slept past my usual wake up time. camp
Camp below Little Joe Pass

Day 2

I continued climbing toward the ridge at 7:10 and was on it but quite a bit north of the pass. I spent most of the rest of the time contouring around, including a little fancy foot work, and finally made the pass at 8:50. I looked for the band aid box trail register but could not find it even though I looked in several cairns.

I took one careful look at Mt Ericson and decided against climbing it. Instead I went over to the top of Lucy's Foot Pass to check it out as a possible return route. It looked really nasty, so I decided to return via Little Joe. Lucy's FP
Top of Lucy's Foot Pass and Mt Ericson

Eugene, a fellow I met a Lake South America on a trip earlier this summer, recommended I try fishing the long, skinny lake just south of Mt Genevra. He assured me that even though it is above timberline, it has big fish in it. I got to the lake around noon. Before I could get my rod together, I was met by a hiker who was exploring the area via Shepherd Pass. I doubted that the fishing would be good because I had seen a frog at the edge of the water. Five casts later, I had the largest Sierra trout I had ever caught. It was a 15 inch, one and a half pound rainbow. fish
The only catch of the day

Another hour of fishing produced no results, so I wrapped up the fish and started heading back.

I took a lower route back to the pass. Just as I got there at a little after three, I saw a guy come up over Lucy's and head down into the basin at such a good pace I didn't yell or wave for fear that I might slow him down. The descent to Lake Reflection seemed a lot steeper than it had twenty years before. Lk Reflection
Lake Reflection from the top of Little Joe Pass

I made Lake Reflection a little before six and continued to East Lake where I camped at the nice spot on the east shore of the lake. I got a chance to show off my fish to a guy who was fishing the lake that evening.

Day 3

The next morning the trout was still cool, so I decided to carry it out. I made it back to Cedar Grove before noon, packed the trout in ice and was home in time for my daughter's birthday party.

Kern Basin II Map

9 April 2006
One Page Version 21 January 2013