Mitchell Peak, Jennie Lakes Wilderness

12:08 a.m. on May 28, 2013 (EDT)
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Mitchell Peak, which is in Jennie Lakes Wilderness next to SEKI, has been in the back of my mind ever since I went by it in 2006 on a trans-sierra backpacking trip.  However, because the visible prominence from the west is not very significant (it looks more like a nub on the edge of the sierra high country, it's only 10,365') I have not made it a priority.

Today I decided to give it a shot.  I needed to start getting into shape for bigger trips this summer, and Mitchell Peak is a relatively light hike - just over three miles from the trailhead, with just under 2000' vertical.  Normally it would not be accessible this early in the year, but with the very low snowfall last winter the roads are all open.

Two hours after leaving Visalia I reached the Marvin Pass trailhead and headed up.  At that elevation (trailhead is 8410') it is primarily red fir forest.  The latin name for red fir is Abies Magnifica, and that is an apt name.  The tallest in Sequoia NP is 251'.  Here are some samples of what most of the hike looked like:


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The one snow plant that I saw today


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12:22 a.m. on May 28, 2013 (EDT)
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Finally, close to the top, it got rockier and the red firs gave way to lodgepole pines



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And a short distance farther, the top


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Technically, Mitchell Peak is not above the local treeline.  But not much grows on granite boulders.

There is a triangulation station marker there

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and the corresponding reference marker


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It was here that I realized that I had been missing out on a real gem all this time.  The lighting was very poor, with a high thin overcast and hazy air, so the picture quality is low...but here they are.  First, looking west toward the valley.  You can see the concrete platform where there used to be a fire tower


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Northeast toward the lower part of Kings Canyon, the deepest canyon in North America


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North toward the northern part of Kings Canyon NP; the most prominent peak on the horizon is Mt Goddard


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Northeast, you can see the Palisade Crest on the horizon on the left edge.  I climbed the leftmost peak in that crest a few years ago


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East toward the hear of Kings Canyon NP


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Southeast toward the Great Western Divide


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SSE toward the southern boundary of Kings Canyon NP, you can see the Kaweahs on the horizon on the right (my two favorite ridgelines in SEKI are the Palisade Crest and the Kaweahs, I got up close and personal with the Kaweahs last year and crossed them just in front of the group of three highest points that you can see)


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And finally, south toward Mt Silliman


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I found the views to be stunning, I need to go back when the lighting is better for pictures.  For how little effort it took to get there, this is a top notch hike!  It only took me 1 hour 50 minutes to get to the top, even as out of shape as I am.  I would recommend this hike to anyone who loves sweeping vistas that don't take all day to reach.

11:40 a.m. on May 28, 2013 (EDT)
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Great TR and photos, looks like a gorgeous hike.

11:40 a.m. on May 28, 2013 (EDT)
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Great TR and photos, looks like a gorgeous hike.

12:13 p.m. on May 28, 2013 (EDT)
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Sugarpine,

A. magnifica is named right.  The Park is a forester's dream.  I have found some old growth red fir on the far east side of Lassen NP, and it is one of my favorites along with sugar pine and ponderosa of course.

I just returned from Seattle and Anacortes, WA and the giant Douglas fir trees and bald eagles.

2:35 p.m. on May 28, 2013 (EDT)
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Wow, John what a cool trip!Just beautiful......

July 30, 2014
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