Day 2 High Sierra Trail – Added Bonuses

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.”
– James Michener

July 16
Wallace Creek to Moraine Lake – 19.4 miles

Kern Canyon * Kern Hot Springs * Chagoopa Plateau

Today’s highlight was taking a nice soak in Kern Hot Springs in the Kern Canyon. The water was the perfect temperature. It was very therapeutic. I alternates between the hot water in the man made (cement) tub and the small pool next to the Kern River. It was glorious!

Just as we were approaching our night’s camp at Moraine Lake, a very large rattlesnake luckily alarmed Wired in time for her to back off the trail and land in the very soft dirt. He was a beautiful soft brown. Good thing he gave a very large alarm.

Another large treat today… a loon is calling from the middle of Moraine Lake. I feel like I am in the movie “On Golden Pond”. Huge treat.

I am trying to embrace walking for miles on trail. My mind wanders. I miss the off-trail terrain of the Sierra High Route.


Morning Light



Looking down at the Kern Canyon
Walking in the canyon
Kern River
Soaking in Kern Hot Springs



Unusual cloud formations
Rattlesnake Wired Dodged

Make your own pillow that is cozy and comfortable 

On trail materials:
1 buff, 1 down jacket or fleece, 2 rubber bands

I have owned and used many lightweight backpacking pillows that weight around 2 ounces. This summer, I looked to cut weight because of the snow gear we were carrying. The pillow lost.

I tried my clothing sack and many other variations and came up with stuffing my down jacket into my buff, then tie both ends with a rubber band to keep the down jacket in place. This system does not make noise, is soft and supportive, and uses items that I already have in my pack. Deal!


  1. Extra special photos this time. So glad that Wired didn’t have a more close encounter with a Rattler.

    Great idea with the buff/jacket combo. I use my buff to cover a 1.25 ounce REI Flash pillow. I shall try the jacket in the buff option next.

  2. Loki/brian

    Read medicine for mountaineering or Lance Armstrong’s performance guides

  3. Lynn Duncan

    Didn’t anyone want to channel Kate Hepburn (sigh, my autocorrect is too modern. I typed Kate and it offered Middleton and Gosselin..) : “The Looooons!” ?

  4. A rattler at over 9000 feet. What’s this world coming to? I would have thought freezing or near freezing temps at night would keep them lower in Kern canyon.

  5. I’m totally replacing my “clothing sac pillow” with a buff pillow. I hate the noise and feel of my sac too. Brilliant!

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      The rubber bands totally make it work. No noise and it stays in place. Hope it works for you.

  6. Glad you found the spring. I missed it my first time.
    Had a rattler, however.

    • Christy "Rockin'" Rosander

      Now that would be sad missing the hot spring and having a rattler.

      Glad you found it the next time around.

  7. LOKI/brian

    The rangers should have a mandatory training class for trail etiquette. Great idea with the buff and down jacket..Thanks
    In reference to the day you encountered the cranky hiker irritability and crankiness are signs of dehydration. It impacts people differently.

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