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Drive up Route 180 to the end of the road, deep into the southern Sierra Nevada mountains. There is only one obvious way to go; directly up the narrow, glacier carved canyon. The trail branches in about two miles for two different destinations. The southern trail goes along Bubb's Creek. The northern trail travels through Paradise Valley. Both trails find the John Muir Trail within about 15 miles.
|This is a campsite 10 miles up the Paradise Valley trail, right at the end of the valley. There are 3 campsites in this valley; this one is the last one, called Upper Paradise. At this point, the trail crosses the creek on a very large fallen log, then continues up for a few miles more to meet the John Muir trail. It's was about 2 1/2 miles out of this campsite that I saw the bear in the meadow. If it seems that the trees are all bent, you're right. This picture was taken with my fisheye lens while I was sitting on the ground.|
|This is at the Lower Paradise Valley campsite. I counted about 6 tents of this particular type on that hiking trip. It's a one person North Face that weighs about 3 and a half pounds and packs very small.|
Bubb's Creek is the southern trail at the "end of the road". The first time I hiked this canyon, the permit quota was full for Paradise Valley...Bubb's Creek is a nice, similar alternative.
|As I was quietly walking up the canyon trail, I spotted a group of about 12 deer slowly travelling down the canyon. They hadn't spotted me and I was able to duck behind a large tree and switch to the longest lens I had...a 100-300mm. The tree I was behind just happened to have a view to one of the few sunny, clear patches in the canyon, and the deer just happened to walk through this patch. I shot an entire roll of film...I got a picture of each deer grazing, then a picture of the same deer looking at me...each one, in turn, was startled by the sound of my camera. As you can see, these are pretty lean, hungry deer.|
|No shortage of slab like granite rocks in these canyons. This is my frame pack, loaded with gear for many days. My black camera bag is also sitting on the rock; this just goes around my neck so that I have access to my camera. Lots of padded nylon is important to keep the granite rocks from biting into expensive equipment. One morning, a short tailed, or "least" weasel shared breakfast with me. I was eating some really poorly made powdered scrambled eggs and this little tiny chipmunk sized weasel poked his head out of various weasel sized holes under the bottom of this large boulder. The eighth time this little fellow poped out to look at me, a mouse was in it's mouth...I heard no fighting, so I think the weasel had cached the mouse, killed earlier, for breakfast. The little thing looked at me one last time and left; I was fairly impressed. If I only had a long macro lens with me at the time...|
All photos Copyright © by Adam Lane. All rights reserved.