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This hike is moderate to strenuous depending on the distance you hike. I will be hiking at a brisk pace with few rest stops. If you have trouble with hills or with hiking for an hour or more at a brisk pace without stopping, this hike is not for you!
I will meet Bakersfield hikers at the Shell Station in Ducor at 7 am. From there we will drive to Three Rivers and then to the South Fork Kaweah campground and trailheads. I estimate that we will be at the trailhead around 8 am.
We will hike as far as we care to, or are able to, on the Garfield Hockett trail. After 4 miles, the trail passes through the Garfield Grove of giant sequoias, then goes to Hockett Lakes. We may get turned back by snow at about 8000 feet elevation, or we may not be able to cross the South Fork Kaweah River at about the 9 mile mark, but it will be a fun day! We may see a smattering of wildflowers too. If by chance we make it all the way to Hockett Lakes, we'll have done about 20 total miles of hiking for the day.
Important: this trail has poison oak along the beginning of it, so I highly recommend bringing something to wash off the oils if you have any contact. I use Tecnu but there are other products as well. We will probably be crossing some small streams where we can thoroughly wash any exposed skin. You should wash your clothing, poles and pack after the hike too.
The start of the hike is at 3600 feet. The Garfield Grove is at about 6500 feet. Hockett Lakes are at about 9000 feet.
From Wikipedia: Some of the trees found in the Garfield Grove that are worthy of special note are:
Floyd Otter Tree: This tree was measured in[masked] and found to be the third largest tree in the world, with a volume slightly larger than the President Tree in Giant Forest, Sequoia National Park. King Arthur Tree: This tree was first discovered in 1949 but only seen from far away, the hiker had told a ranger that he saw a huge tree. In 1978 Wendell Flint, Bob Walker and Gus Boik found the tree and named it King Arthur. This tree is the 10th largest giant sequoia. Its base, up to about 50 feet (15 m), rivals the General Sherman for total mass. Please post questions in the comments section.