Let me apologize at the beginning as this will be a long report (image wise). I thought about breaking it up into separate days, but I believe that I am too lazy for that, so for those who dislike wading through long reports, just bite off little pieces every now and then. I had originally planned to hike the John Muir Trail during the summer between my son's final year of high school and his first year of college. So I submitted my request for a permit to attempt the JMT starting in July, but unfortunately we did not draw one of them for our time frame. This left us with plan B which would be the Theodore Solomon's Trail (TST). The TST essentially parallels the JMT, to the west, through the Sierras. It is 272 miles long and begins at Glacier Point in Yosemite and heads south to end at Horseshoe Meadow , which is roughly 10 miles south of Mount Whitney. The idea was conceived back in the 1970's as an alternative to the JMT, though over the years it never received an official trail designation from the Park Service or the Forest Service whose land it passes through. Because it is not recognized officially, there are sections that have not been maintained for years (decades maybe?). So, potential route finding along the way may be necessary. The Theodore Solomon's Trail We decided that we would attempt the TST in the opposite direction, from south to north. Along the way, we would have three resupply points: The first at Silver City Resort (three miles from Mineral King), the second at Cedar Grove Visitors Center (six miles from Road's End) and the last at Huntington Lake Post Office (six miles down the road from the trailhead). We also understood that there was record or near record snowfall in the Sierras this year and runoff from the snow melt would be an issue. Particularly worrisome would be the ford of the Middle Fork of the Kings River at Simpson Meadow (roughly the halfway point). The footbridge that spanned the River washed away in the 70's and it has never been replaced by the Park Service. So we agreed that if the river was not fordable, then we would call it a trip. Once we made it to our second resupply point at Cedar Grove, I walked up to the pack station to see if the horsemen new if the Middle Fork of the Kings could be forded by a backpacker. The owners told me "No!" They were not even going to attempt to take horses across it until September. This essentially ended our trek at eleven days. We had planned to hike approximately ten miles a day, though some ended up being a little shorter and one day much longer at 17.5 miles due to resupply issues and backtracking to cross a river. We saw wildlife throughout that included bears, deer, marmots, grouse, owls, lizards, hawks and one snake. The wildflowers along the route were in full bloom and the scenery was breathtaking. The only people that we saw in the backcountry were near tourist points such as Mineral King and Cedar Grove, otherwise we had it all to ourselves. Creek and River Crossings were sketchy if not treacherous and trail conditions were all over the map. Water was everywhere and we ended up naming our trip "Rager" for all the fast moving water we encountered and heard. Well, I'll let the images tell the rest of the story. The tap room at the Tonopah Brewery on our way to Lone Pine, CA. These folks surprisingly have excellent barbecue. Mount Whitney on a rainy afternoon The switchbacks up to Horseshoe Meadow as seen from Lone Pine, CA Day 1 - Horseshoe Meadow to campsite along Golden Trout Creek At the Trailhead in Horseshoe Meadow On top of Cottonwood Pass Big Whitney Meadow Day 2 - Golden Trout Creek to Natural Bridge Golden Trout Creek Red Fir country Day 3 - Natural Bridge to Coyote Pass Looking in the direction of Coyote Pass Footbridge that spans the Kern River Hocket Trail View looking back at the Trout Creek Drainage as we are hiking up towards Coyote Pass Falls on Coyote Creek Upper Coyote Creek View to the east from Coyote Pass Entering Sequoia National Forest - this sign is on Coyote Pass Day 4 - Coyote Pass to Green Meadow Red Fir on trail - these were big trees and hard to climb over and a long way to walk around - these were common occurrences. View to the north towards Farewell Gap and Vandever Mountain and the headwaters of the Little Kern River Old Quin Cabin Day 5 - Green Meadow to Deer Creek Sand Meadows Ranger Station at Hockett Meadows - lots of deer to the south of the cabin I slipped off this log into Clover Creek Sunset on Deer Creek Day 6 - Resupply Day - from Deer Creek to Silver City Resort and back to Mineral King Ranger Station at Mineral King Silver City Resort - where we picked up our 5 gallon resupply buckets Day 7 (a) - two part map - from Mineral King to Bearpaw Meadow - this was our 17.5 mile day Day 7 (b) - When we reached the Middle Fork of the Kaweah, we had to backtrack (it was not fordable) to the footbridge. This added about 2.5 more miles to our day. I had to take a picture of this at the Sawtooth Trailhead. People secured tarps underneath their vehicles in order to keep marmots from damaging them Looking back at Farewell Gap, Vandever Mountain and Florence Peak Timber Gap Creek View of what lays ahead of us - looking down Timber Gap Creek Cliff Creek Redwood Meadow Grove - The image on Hugh Jr.'s face was priceless when he saw his first Sequoia tree. Ranger Station at Redwood Meadow Looking up the Middle Fork of the Keweah towards the High Sierras Jr., after falling in Eagle Scout Creek - nasty crossing Middle Fork of the Keweah Heading up towards Bearpaw Meadow - looking east towards the Great Western Divide Looking back in the direction we had come. Heading up towards Bearpaw Meadow - looking east towards the Great Western Divide Heading up towards Bearpaw Meadow - looking east towards the Great Western Divide Heading up towards Bearpaw Meadow - looking east towards the Great Western Divide Day 8 - Up and over Elizabeth Pass and down into Deadman Canyon - From a mountain scenery perspective, the best day of the trip Picture opportunity as we stopped to refill water bottles The mountain views started rolling out in front of us (in this case behind us) as we made our way towards Elizabeth Pass Looking down into the Middle Fork of the Kaweah Valley Not the best sun angle, but the scenery was overwhelming. I just wanted to stop and take it all in. - Looking towards the Great Western Divide The High Sierra Trail switchbacks on the opposite side of the valley Looking north from the trail towards the Kings-Kaweah Divide Impressive waterfalls along the way too. A peak into the Lone Pine Drainage and basin A look back down into the Middle Fork of the Kaweah Drainage The High Sierras First good look up to Elizabeth Pass Looking up at the Kings-Kaweah Divide Jr. - taking a break after crossing the creek that flows from Lonely Lake A deer comes to visit Looking up at Elizabeth Pass - the ground at this point is just covered with running water Hiking through snow at this point He was pretty tired at this point - almost to the pass On top of Elizabeth Pass A peak down the north side of the pass A look down into Deadman Canyon Jr., starting to lag behind a bit We had to cross the snow bridge at the edge of the falls in this shot in order to get down. I was pretty nervous when crossing Day 9 - Hike down Deadman Canyon to the Roaring River Patrol Cabin - another great day of mountain scenery View to the east of our campsite camped on Deadman Creek Looking down Deadman Canyon Deadman Canyon Looking back up Deadman Canyon Deadman Canyon Deadman Canyon View to the west in Deadman Canyon Fording Deadman Creek - these fords wore me out and i didn't like hitting them late in the day when I was tired Deadman Canyon Roaring River Ranger Station Roaring River Day 10 - Roaring River Ranger Station to Bubbs Creek - the best trail of the trip was heading up Avalanche Pass View on our way up to Avalanche Pass View heading up Avalanche Pass On Avalanche Pass View of the High Sierras heading down the north side of Avalanche Pass - we lost the trail numerous times coming off the pass View coming down Avalanche Pass Granite stairs, complements of the CCC, built into the granite cliff on our way down to Bubbs Creek Day 11 - Bubbs Creek to Cedar Grove Bubbs Creek A view into Kings Canyon Fording Bubbs Creek The view in Kings Canyon Fire still smoldering along the trail near Road's End Sign at Road's End and you'll get no argument from me. At this point we made our way down to Cedar Grove for our second resupply. The rangers did not know the condition of the ford at Simpson Meadow, so I had to head up to the pack station to find whether of not the Middle Fork of the Kings was fordable. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the end of our trip when they told me we could not cross, but an excellent one none the less.