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Tom Kenney

Onion Valley to Flower Lake

Dragged my wife on an adventure yesterday (13-AUG-2016).  She wanted to see the Perseid meteor shower, so I hatched a plan to use this as an excuse to do a hike in the eastern Sierra.

We drove up to Fossil Falls along US-395 and arrived at about 3:30 AM.  We watched the disappointing 'shower' for about half an hour...kinda neat, but underwhelming.  I had plans to do some time-lapse and/or video, but it wasn't worth the effort...sorry, no pics.

Continued on to Onion Valley, arriving just before sunrise.  This is one of a few trailheads on the east side I have never visited (now only Sawmill and Baxter remain).  We started up the Kearsarge Pass Trail at 7:15 expecting cool weather, but had to de-layer within 20 minutes.

Neither of us had much sleep (Shinta had a couple hours' dozing on the drive, while I had zilch!).  We were passed by many day hikers on the way up.  We took a short break at Little Pothole Lake, another at Gilbert Lake, and called it quits a few switchbacks above Flower Lake.

While walking back towards the trail for our return, Shinta warned me I was about to step on a bird...4 feet in front of me!  It was a grouse.  These birds have supreme camouflage, and this was my second encounter where I nearly stepped on one before realizing it wasn't a rock.  Turns out there was a whole family, and we observed as the 4 of them wandered about (2 adults, 2 young'uns).

Sadly, no marmots were observed during the expedition, though I heard them twice.

Here are some pics:

Lounging on the deck above Gilbert Lake.  University Peak in background.


Flower Lake


Grouse!


Log Bridge Below Flower Lake


University Peak (Full size: 6000x4000)


Boulder Field Below Gilbert Lake


Trailside Cascade
JeffH

Kearsarge Pass is a nice hike from there, provided you get a little sleep first. The view of Kearsarge and Bullfrog lakes from the pass is terrific.

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