One park visitor from Eugene, Oregon, who ended up leaving Lodgepole and camping at Atwell Mill in Mineral King this past weekend, described Lodgepole as another “Mall of America.” Below are more examples of what park personnel encounter daily during the busy summer season.
Sequoia National Park
Park rangers stopped a vehicle on Wednesday, July 22 for a brake light violation in Lodgepole. The driver was unlicensed and uninsured with unregistered license plates with a false date sticker.
The driver was arrested for driving under the influence and cited for the DMV offenses. The male motorist had his daughter and a 4-month old grandchild, among other passengers, in the car at the time of the arrest. The vehicle was impounded.
On Friday, July 24 rangers responded to multiple medical calls simultaneously. Calls including a possible broken ankle at the Upper Sherman Tree, a seizure in Crystal Cave, an allergic reaction suffered by a Dorst camper, an entrapped child in the restroom at the Sherman Tree parking area, and an 11-year-old male who medical personnel described as suffering from an “altered state of consciousness.” The patient’s parents of the 11 year-old refused transport.
On Saturday, July 25 rangers assisted a hiker with an ankle injury a short distance out from the Tokopah Falls Trailhead. The patient was able to use crutches to return to the parking area.
A 49-year-old backpacker was evacuated by helicopter from Crabtree Meadow on Thursday, July 23. Crabtree Meadow is a popular destination for hikers entering the Whitney Zone from the west side backcountry trails.
Crabtree Medow contains a backcountry ranger station at 10,700 feet. It is a total of 8.3 miles and 3,795 feet in elevation gain to the summit of Mount Whitney. Most backpackers en route to summit Whitney camp at Guitar Lake another 2.1 miles and 900 vertical feet up the trail.
In contrast from the eastside and the Whitney Portal Trailhead, many day hikers summit Mount Whitney in 11.2 miles that includes an elevation gain of 6,134 feet. The r/t day hike of 22 miles generally takes from 12 to 16 hours depending on the weather and fitness level of the hiker.
Kings Canyon National Park
On Sunday July 19, a 40-year-old female with a severe ankle sprain was transported to the hospital via helicopter from the Darwin Basin area. Darwin Basin is located just north of Evolution Lake and the John Muir Trail (JMT). It is often described by JMT hikers as the most beautiful part of the entire 212-mile trail from Yosemite to Mount Whitney.