Mineral King weekend trip September 12-14, 2015.

On Saturday, September 12, 2015 Jorge and I drove to Silver City where we would meet up with Diana and Donna to do some hiking in the beautiful Mineral King area.  The Mineral King road to our destination at Silver City is about 22 miles long with over 600 curves!  The drive takes about one and a half hours, including some stops for picture taking.  During the late 1800's this area was abuzz with prospectors mining for silver.  When we arrived at Silver City Resort, we found  Diana and Donna at the restaurant eating PIE!  Naturally we had to join them for some scrumptious Fruit of the Forest pie with ice cream!  Yummy! 

After the pie we checked into our cabins.  The cabins are very rustic, but with all the amenities you need: a kitchen/living area with running water, gas lamps, comfortable beds.  Our cabin did not have a bathroom, but the bathroom facility was close by.

After dropping off our packs, we took a short nature walk with a nice stream and wonderful wild flowers.  At the end of the trail is a "Honeymoon cabin", which had information about the history of the cabin with old pictures and a 70 year old newspaper.

Back at the Resort, we had a wonderful dinner of pork chops and wine Donna had brought.  Afterwards we started a nice camp fire and had some s'mores using VERY large marshmallows.

We woke up Sunday morning with the air filled with smoke from the Rough fire in Kings Canyon.  The wind had obviously shifted!  After breakfast, we decided to drive to the trailhead hoping that the smoke would not be too bad.  We started up the trail, but after a short while Jorge figured out that we were on the wrong trail.  We could see the correct trail on the north side of the creek.  After backtracking to our starting point,, Diana decided that she was going to do a different hike with Donna instead of hiking with us to Vandever Mountain.  The smoke was hanging thick in the canyon which obscured most of the views.  We both used a bandana to cover our mouths.  After a few miles we stopped at a beautiful waterfall where we met some people who had come down from Farewell Gap, which is just below Vandever Mountain.  They told us that the air would get much better the higher we went, so we pressed on and indeed once we hiked above 9,700 feet the air had cleared up significantly.  A little below the Gap we ran into 10 people from the Sierra Club who had climbed Vandever that morning.  Jorge knew several people in the group and was excited to see them.  At 1pm we reached Farewell Gap where we took a break and decided that because of the late hour and the fact that we were both getting tired, we were not going to climb to the top of the mountain. 

The return trip down to the trailhead was delightful:  the winds had shifted again and had blown all the smoke out of the canyon!  When we got close to the trailhead we saw Diana and Donna coming down from their trail  on the opposite side of the creek.  Pretty amazing that we all got back to the trailhead at the same time!

Back at the resort, we had dinner and another piece of pie of course!  The Mineral King area is known for having many bears, and that you are guaranteed to see them either on the Mineral King road or around the Resort.  For some reason we had not seen one bear since we drove in on Saturday, though!  Walking back to our cabin, Jorge saw a bear hanging just outside our cabin!!  When I saw it, I started running to get a little closer to it for some quick pictures!  The bear looked to be a teenager, and was not intimidated by us at all.  He was wearing a large tracking collar around his neck.  When speaking with a staff member later, he told us that this bear roams around the resort all the time. 

Back at the cabin it was time for another camp fire and enjoying being outside in the forest.

Monday morning we woke up by the noise of rain drops on the roof!  It was just a drizzle, but any rain was welcome with all  the fires in the area!  After breakfast we loaded our belongings in the car and drove slowly back to civilization...

Side note:  the staff at the Resort were all wonderful:  they took care of all our needs, and made sure our time their was very relaxing and enjoyable.