Our campsite at Lodgepole was right next to the trailhead, but we had to wait for the Ranger station to open to get our permit. We hit the trail at about 8:00. Our packs were full, but our energy was high since it was the first day.
I was in my usual (shoot first, ask questions later) photo shooting mode, so I took a whole bunch of shots along the trail on the first day. Unfortunately, I forgot my circular polarizing filter, so on many of the landscape shots either the sky is completely washed out or the trees are dark & foreboding. Once again, photographer error can be interpreted as artistic choice. :-)
We encountered a few groups of people on the first day, most of them hiking down from Twin Lakes to Lodgepole. The trail on the first day was mostly uphill, but fairly gentle uphill, so we quickly powered our way over Cahoon Gap & down to Clover Creek, where we stopped for lunch. Our lunching spot was just the other side of the creek you can see in the CloverCreek1 & CloverCreek2 images.
They had a late snow melt in Sequoia/Kings Canyon, which meant there was plenty of water everywhere. This had two side effects for our hike. First, there were many stream crossings, all but one of which were accomplished with boulder-hopping. The trail3 image shows a rather easy crossing, though some were a bit harder. The second effect was that the wildflowers were really in bloom. I kind of blew it by mostly shooting large areas of wildflowers, but the greenery was so lush that it washed out the subtle colors of the flowers in most cases. Live & learn.
After lunch was the hardest stretch of the day, from Clover Creek up to Twin Lakes. Dick & Dave decided to take it easy, but I was anxious to get into camp, so I went ahead and arrived in camp about 20 minutes before them. I chose a a camp site, pumped some water & was just settling in to take a little nap when they arrived.
wildlife: bugs, a few fish, birds, squirrels