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The idea of journeying to Seville Lake started back during the late spring of 2013. We were going to go during Labor Day in September. Unfortunately that never happened and the trip to Seville Lake went away. It wasn’t until the early spring of 2014 did the idea of doing a backpacking trip on Memorial Day weekend surface. We thought of just doing it in September again, but with the drought decided it would be better to go earlier rather than later. The trip was going to be 3 days and 2 nights with a day of exploring in between.
Saturday, May 24
The truck was loaded up the night before. We only needed to put on our hiking attire and walk out the door. We did just that after the alarm went off at 5 AM. It only took about 10 minutes and we were out the door to grab some breakfast. Our bellies were full and we left around 550 AM. We needed to get into the Park and pick up our permit at the Kings Canyon Visitor Center in Grant Grove. We arrived at the visitor center around 735 AM. They would not open till 8 AM.
Once the visitor center opened, we were the first ones to grab our permit. The process was very simple and pleasant. The permit was issued to us and we were out the door by 810 AM and on our way to the Rowell Meadow trailhead. Parking wasn’t a problem when we arrived, so a quick call on the ham radio to my dad, bags loaded on our back, and we were off around 907 AM.
The trip to Seville Lake is mostly up hill. In fact, about 4.5 miles of the trip went through Jennie Lakes Wilderness. Most of the climbing occurs within the first couple miles, just west of Rowell Meadow. Being so “fresh” and ready to go, we didn’t even notice the climb.
During the first couple of miles, we came across the Jennie Lakes Wilderness boundary marker. We snapped a photo of each of us at the sign and proceeded up the trail. We had done this hike before a couple of years back so memories of our adventure came to mind.
Now that the trail was flatter, we made up some time hiking along the northern side of Rowell Meadow. At one point, a small foot bridge went across a creek. I am not sure what happened to other foot bridges, as we crossed several small creeks, but this was the only one around.
We eventually came to a trail junction near the northeastern edge of Rowell Meadow. Compared to a couple of years ago, the sign was now easier to read and discern which way to go. In order to get to our destination, we had to go to the right and so we continued up the trail to a small pass.
The air was still cool and very comfortable to hike. We made our way around a few down trees and even through patches of snow. We chatted occasionally along the way up to the pass.
Around 1130 AM we made it to the pass. The start of our trip was around 7800 feet in elevation. The pass was just shy of 9200 feet. It was time for lunch and to make another call on the ham radio to my dad. I was able to get a hold of him no problem. It was cool to finally be able to use this radio, in the wilderness, and make contact back home. Soon we would proceed downhill to our final destination for the day.
Lunch was finished and our excitement began to soar. It was downhill to Seville Lake. I was hoping the shortcut trail was still there to wipe away a mile of hiking. About 2 minutes later from leaving the pass we found a marked trail to our right. The trail bed was still in place and green flagging was attached to limbs. I thought to myself, “perfect, this will save us some time.” Unfortunately, the trail soon disappeared and we just navigated the best we could. We did find parts of the trail and then it would disappear. We did a good job though as we came right into the entrance to Seville Lake around 1230 PM.
We setup camp on the western side of the lake. It was a busy place with several groups including whole families. Once we found our spot and setup camp, Jeremiah rested a bit, I snapped a few photos of the lake, and then we made our way to some waterfalls. The waterfalls are the inlet to the lake, especially with all the snow still sitting on the granite rock.
One of our neighbors, Devin and Lindsay, invited us over to share in their bounty that evening. They caught 8 fish and prepared them for dinner. They also prepared falafels, tortillas, cheese flavored rice, and a creamy sauce. We had already eaten our dinner at 5 PM, but were hungry enough around 8 PM to eat again. The fish was delicious as well as all the food they were so graciously willing to share with us. It was a pleasant first night at the lake for sure and good to get to know the couple around a warm campfire.
Sunday, May 25
Going to bed around 9 PM last night, we both woke up around 7 that morning. We took our time getting out of bed and setting up breakfast. We went down to the lake to enjoy the sun rising and the reflection it made on the lake. Discussion about what we wanted to go see and accomplish on our day hike came up. I suggested we check out Lost Lake. I said it would be easy to do a day hike there and I would carry all the gear we would need. Jeremiah was fine with that so we quickly cleaned up camp and made our way down the trail.
The trail goes downhill a couple hundred feet for the next mile from Seville Lake. It was an easy morning hike and we started around 900 AM. We found a trail junction and proceeded up to Silliman Pass / Ranger Lakes. This would be the trail to get us to Lost Lake and, yes, you guessed it. We needed to hike uphill about 1,000 feet to the lake.
Around 1035 PM we arrived at Lost Lake. The trip uphill wasn’t that hard at all. We were both feeling great and enjoyed the view. We both agreed that Lost Lake was more spectacular than Seville. I think the granite rock had more severe relief giving off a more grand feel to the whole area.
There were two groups camping there. One was a group of four guys, who, shortly after seeing them pack up camp to leave, joined us at the lake. They wanted a group photo. After taking a few for them they wanted a photo of me with their group, so I gladly posed for a photo. My brother and I said goodbye and sat down to eat a late morning snack. We then hiked around the lake, read Psalms 19 for our Sunday morning outdoor church, and then filtered water.
We explored the lake for a time and then decided it was time to head back to Seville Lake. On the way down we ate our lunch and discussed going home that same day. We had seen everything we wanted to see, so why not surprise our families by returning home early? As we made our way back down the hill, we crossed the stream flowing out of Seville Lake and then proceeded uphill to break down camp. When we arrived our neighbors had gone and it was just us on the west side of the lake. We took a break, packed our bags, and were on the trail home at 230 PM.
We took a final photo and proceeded down the trail to our first junction. Instead of going to the right, as we had done earlier for our day hike, we went left towards the pass and Rowell Meadow. It was a mile hike uphill, with most of the uphill gain near the last 1/3 of a mile.
The scenery changed rather quickly on the journey uphill. A wildfire had burned through the area and trees were down everywhere. However, hundreds of new trees had sprouted. It was cool to see how the forest recovers from the natural process a wildfire can bring. One plus was the views along the way. You could see the peaks around Seville Creek and even larger peaks to the east. Once out of the fire area, the trail became much steeper.
It took longer then we thought, but we made it to the pass. I radioed my dad and let him know we were coming out early. We enjoyed our break for about 15 minutes at the pass and, turning back towards Seville Lake, we said goodbye and proceeded down the trail towards the truck.
The trail was all downhill and we made great time. We chatted along the way, now that it was much easier to do so, and enjoyed the views around us. We meet a couple camping just after the footbridge and, as we did the passing “how are you guys doing” they followed behind us. I chatted with them for a bit while we walked along the trail. They had come from Jennie Lake and informed me how “packed” the lake was with people.
Once we arrived at the cabin, they headed out to the meadow, and said goodbye. We continued down the trail and I shared stories with my brother about past adventures. It made the time go by faster and, before you knew it, we were at the truck at 550 PM.
Happy to take the bags off, we loaded them in the truck. We also changed our shirts so we could be dry and more comfortable for the ride home. We contacted my dad and told him we were on our way home. It was a great two-day adventure with a lot of miles covered the second day. Another brothers trip was complete!