High Sierra Lakes Tour

Tim Valentine

Member
.
Joined
May 24, 2015
Messages
121
This summer I hiked with one of my daughters thru some of the Sierras most scenic high altitude lakes. We started by driving up from the southern part of the state to the Mammoth lakes area. We stayed overnight in the Alabama hills hoping to see a good sunrise with some of the arches. It was a clear sunrise with glow on the mountains.
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Mt Whitney on far right.

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After picking up our permit in Bishop we did a day hike out of Rock Creek. This is one of the higher trailheads in the range, the car was parked at 10,300 feet, so we were into some great scenery without much effort.
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The calendar said last day of July but up high it felt like it was still Spring.
Pussywillow blooms.
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Fun at the Lakeshore
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The next morning we got started on our backpack trip. We caught the Mammoth shuttle to Agnew meadows and headed North on the River trail . As we went by Thousand Island Lake we passed a family with pack Llamas toting their gear going South.
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Mt Banner was a great backdrop for the many vistas we would encounter our first few days.

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Sunset was very clear and quite pleasant.
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The Milky Way came out a little later.

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Sunrise found us surrounded by an ever-changing colored landscape and sky.
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It was easy to go crazy with the camera.


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The sunrise in the other direction was colorful too.
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Early sunrise panorama
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Paintbrush Reflections
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There was a cool rock at camp with a big white stripe.
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Once the sun was fully up we tore down the tent in search of more lakes.
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The next destination was Lake Catherine. Along the way we saw some nice high meadows

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A Clarks Nutcracker feasting on pine nuts.
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The snow fields were very thin.
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As our hiking continued Mt Banner was again the backdrop for more great scenery.
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Holly found a great lounge chair rock at this little swimming lake.
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Some of the lakes were remote enough that the endangered Sierra Yellow Legged frog was resident. They were nearly wiped out by the introduction of stocked trout to many of the lakes that nature had kept fishless.

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More sierra mountain color.
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Once we got up high the lakes were more accessible.
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Here is Nydiver lake were we had lunch.

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Garnet Lake
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We spotted a garter snake swimming along the shoreline.

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It was quite predictable so I ran ahead and videoed it swimming towards the camera.


This was Lake Ediza.

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This was before the sun came up.

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All of our camps were really nice. The Ansel Adams Wilderness requires bear canisters. We had no issues with any of our food preparation areas.


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We left the views of Lake Ediza and Mount Ritter and Banner
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Next up were the Minarets

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Iceberg Lake view.
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This shows how little snow was on the trail to Cecile Lake from Iceberg lake. We did run into a couple of parties traveling the other direction that had difficulty with the cross country up from Minaret Lake. One group had a fall that drew blood but otherwise made it through.
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Descending from Cecile Lake
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Our final camp was at Minaret Lake.
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Another great sunset looking toward Mammoth Mountain
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The hike out on the next day .
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A pair of Pine Martens crossed the trail oblivious to our presence as they played amongst the deadfall.
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The weather was clear and warm the entire trip. Not even a thunderstorm day or night.
Thanks for joining us.

Tim and Holly
 

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Last edited:

BryanG

Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2016
Messages
67
Great report. Makes me want to start planning for next year's adventure.
 

Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Messages
1,099
Beautiful pictures Tim. Makes me wish that the Sierras worked better with my schedule. They looks like a great experience.
 

Tim Valentine

Member
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Joined
May 24, 2015
Messages
121
Thanks folks. I am hoping we get another winter of good storms in the Sierra to keep things normal for next hiking season.

tv
 

Wanderlust073

Member
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Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
820
Awesome views. Surprised a snake would find the temps at elevation livable!
 
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