Tony, a fan of the GTW facebook page, traveled with is son to Little Kern Lake. They spent 8 days in the wilderness together. Here is what Tony has to report:
My eldest son and I hiked to Little Kern Lake from the Jerkey Meadows trailhead two weeks ago. We hiked in on 5/19 and spent eight nights in the Wilderness.
I hadn’t crossed the Horse Bridge in 32 years, and I was last at the lake 35 years ago.
We saw TONS of rattlesnakes! We saw six on the trail between Grasshopper Flat and the lake! 35 years ago, I saw one snake the whole trip; this time, it was almost a daily occurrence. Disturbingly, I might add. We were glad to both have trekking poles, to probe those dark recesses.
The fires of the last few years sure have blackened part of that area. I heard from some colorful equestrians we spoke to that the Willow Meadows Cutoff had many, many downed trees on it. We found that to be the case immediately north of Willow Meadow; before dropping into Grasshopper; and on the north side of the Devil’s Staircase. The trail is sorely in need of a maintenance crew.
Both the Little Kern and the Kern itself were raging torrents. Much of the trail on Grasshopper Flat was flooded, and parts were knee-high with fast-moving water. I caught a rainbow near the Horse Bridge, and my son caught a meaty 12″ rainbow in Little Kern Lake. We would have fished a lot more, but we bailed out early because of the rattlesnakes.
All the seasonal streams had plenty of water, and both Willow Meadow and Trout Meadows were a startling and beautiful emerald green. We watched a bear leisurely lunching at Willow, which was nice.
All in all, we have mixed feelings about the trip. It was nostalgic for me, but parts of the trail were in horrible shape. And we were creeped out by all the snakes.
Thanks so much for sharing your trip info Tony. This will help others planning their trips in the days to come. If anyone has other trip info to report, no matter how short or long, please feel free to share. It can be a benefit to so many people. Thanks!