The first thing necessary to say about the Middle Kings is it is a LOT of work. It is rewarding, but it is a long hike with a heavy load, many demanding rapids, committing gorges, and you are way out in the middle of nowhere. It takes not only skills, but a strong body and mind to run this river.
Even though we both have kayaked over ten years, I knew David was ready and I was not. So I backpacked in...I carried about 45 lbs, including the food canister, a big frozen steak for a surprise dinner, and eventually David gave in and handed me his fullface to carry. It was a long hike for one day. I remember thinking when we got over Bishop pass and to the bottom of Dusy Basin, "I see the river down there. We'll be there in an hour!" Not hardly! It took over four hours to descend the remaining 3000 feet. Lots of blisters for me. Many take 2-3 days to hike in. It took us 9 hours total to hike the 12 miles up, through the snow, over the 12000 foot pass, and into Leconte Canyon on the Middle Kings. But what an amazing journey. The Sierra is a rugged place.
While David kayaked his way down the Sierra Nevada via the Middle Kings, I spent three days hiking in the part of Kings Canyon National Park that has no roads. Eventually, Karin (from Switzerland- her boyfriend was with David) and I made it out, spent another day in Yosemite, and drove the 350 mile shuttle to the Western slope of the Sierra to pick them up at the bottom of the Garlic Falls section, which is below 1000 feet in elevation. The were whipped and hungry.