DAY 2 - Grouse Lake to Horseshoe Lake

Distance: 17.3km (11.1mi)
Hiking time: 9:12hr
Elevation gain: 1,507m (4,944ft)
Total people met: 0
‘And for the first time on the High Route the hiker encounters
steep and rough terrain’ - Steve Roper

Elevation versus Distance graph for the section from Grouse Lake to Horseshoe Lake for the Sierra High Route

The night was warm and quiet, it was almost a full moon. It's our second day, how exciting! At this point we realized how long this trip and how remote the trail will be. Luckily, to our surprise our legs felt fine from yesterday's walking up. We had breakfast together with our German friend and headed out at 8:20am.

Today will be our first partly trail-less day! The route finding up Grouse Lake Pass was easy, however the waking up in the morning was hard. By the time we made it to the Pass we were definitely warmed up and ready for the day. It was time for our first Snickers break, oh how nice it is to have a Snickers for your second breakfast. From the pass we had to head down into the meadow. We stayed a bit too far to the left and made a small detour, our first realization that you have to read your maps carefully. The meadow is very beautiful and calm. Luckily, as we were very late in the season, the meadow was not swampy and we could easily proceed through it.

After a quick rest in the shade of the meadow, we headed up towards Goat Crest Saddle. Again, it was easy to find and we stopped at a false peak for a snack break. These false peaks are always so disappointing. After the break, we ascended for another 15min until we reached the Saddle. The descend from the saddle was steep and gave us a first peek into the wonderful world of granite slabs. According to the Roper book, there should have been a year-round snowfield which was not present. As the book was written nearly 30 years ago, the climate has unfortunately changed and year-round snowfield are not present anymore.  At this point, we realized that our training in the Adirondacks, NY were a somewhat good preparation for the terrain of the SHR, as there is a lot of boulder and steep slabs walking involved there as well.

The following travel in the meadow was pleasant and quite flat. At the end we had to descend a bit along but gripy granite slabs between some trees. Zeno unfortunately took his first fall while descending a slap and hurt his knee. Fortunately, nothing bad happened and we were able to continue our path. For the next two days, he could feel a slight pain in the knee. After the descend we were on a faint trail through the meadow and forest.

The day was tiring as our backpacks were still really heavy due to all of our food. At the end of the day, there was another ascend towards horseshoe lake. That was definitely very exhausting and we were happy once we made it up to the first lake. As we still had time left, we decided to go one lake further to find a nice camping spot. We found on a narrow land strip between two lakes. With a little sunlight spare, we setup our camp and had dinner while the sun was setting. The sunset was absolutely spectacular and everything was so calm. It is just an incredible area here.

View south near our camping spot.

View from our camping spot.

Ready to tackle the second day :)

Zeno looking south from Grouse Lake Pass.

View south from Grouse Lake Pass towards out camping spot which was on the right side of the lake.

Looking north from Grouse Lake Pass

Looking towards the lake in the meadow on top of Grouse Lake pass

View onto the lower Horseshoe Lake

At  the upper Horseshoe lake
Camp is all set. 

Zeno and our beautiful camping spot. 

Zeno prepping dinner for day 2.

The sun is setting, what a great view.