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Sierra walk July 4 weekend

 
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JeffH



Joined: 28 Nov 2010
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Location: Claremont

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:53 pm    Post subject: Sierra walk July 4 weekend  Reply with quote

was way too hot down here last week so with an extra day on the weekend I wanted to go someplace cooler. Careful what you wish for....
Thursday evening I drove up to Lone Pine, as usual sleeping in the Ranger somewhere out in the Alabama Hills. The full moon was extremely bright but I still managed to drift off for a few hours. In the morning I put together my backpack gear and headed over to the Interagency Visitor Center to claim an overnight permit. I talked with a few other people doing the same thing, since I drew #48 in the lottery. Dang, that meant a two-hour wait to find out where I could go. I actually like the unknown part of the adventure, while I can have an idea of what I want to do the finding out is really fun. In the Sierras there aren't any bad places so no matter what I'll likely create some great memories.
I snagged one of the last two permits for Kearsarge Pass, so I figured a trip to Charlotte Lake was a good starting point. I had never been there, only seen the sign...After a stop at Subway to get some lunch, I reached the overflowing parking area around 11:30 and hit the trail 15 minutes later. It was pretty warm up there too, as the beginning portion is right out in the sun. My long lunch break was at a favorite rock looking over Gilbert Lake, and I reached Kearsarge Pass around 3pm. A few miles later I was scouting out a campsite near Charlotte Lake and setting up my tent. To go a little lighter this time, I only brought the floor and rain fly, leaving the mesh tent behind. I liked the weight difference, although a cool breeze gets under the edges.
While lounging around I looked over my map and thought that heading to the Rae Lakes wouldn't be such a good idea since I would have to do two high passes in a day coming back on Sunday. So I figured why not actually visit the Kearsarge Lakes, after all I had only seen them from the pass and not up close and personal.
I chose to take the longer JMT route back just to get some new trail under my feet, although it cost me a few hundred feet of elevation loss and then gain. I did hang out by a nice little stream for a while, until I got tired of swatting mosquitos off my arms and legs. What do they eat when not sucking human blood?
I reached the Kearsarge Lakes under overcast skies but found a nice spot under some tree cover near the second lake. I spent a couple hours wandering around the three larger lakes after setting up my tent. Then it started to rain. Remember my comment about the heat - it started hailing, which lasted for about 20 minutes. After that a cold wind blew for a while, changing the direction of the rain frequently. I actually climbed into the tent for nearly an hour just to stay dry. But afterward it was a perfect Sierra day, with high cumulus clouds and enough sun to dry us out. I hung out with some folks in nearby campsites nearly until dark, and then went back to my tent and Kindle. In the morning I picked up some hiker karma by donating my stove fuel and water bottle to another hiker doing the JMT, and I hit the trail at 6:45. The trail back up to Kearsarge Pass is tough, with the southbound switchbacks very steep. However, the hike was uneventful, and I saw lots of people on their way up. Driving home I stopped at Frosty Chalet in Lone Pine for the cheeseburger and chocolate shake reward and then drove home.
Just another great weekend in the mountains.
Pics below.....


Hot in the Owens Valley too.



Whitney in the morning alpenglow.



Thanks again to Mr Muir.



Gilbert Lake. Lunchtime view.



Looking west from Kearsage Pass.



Part of the trail to Charlotte Lake. Glad it was marked.



First view of Charlotte Lake.



Outflow of Charlotte Lake.



Decision time in the morning. I went down the JMT for about a half mile.



Bullfrog Lake. I sat on that big rock for an hour soaking in the view and having a snack.



Arriving at Kearsarge Lake #2. I set up camp in the trees on the right.



Peeking out from the trees during the hailstorm.



Cleared up enough for a great Sierra sunset.



Morning view of the lake just before I headed back out for the day.



Looking over Gilbert Lake once again.
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tekewin



Joined: 11 Apr 2013
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Location: Aliso Viejo

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really nice photos. Thanks for posting.

I'd say you won the "permit roulette", but you probably couldn't lose as long as you got one.
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Uncle Rico



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Location: Pleasantville

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So great.  Cool
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