Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Big Pine Lakes 2006 – Day 5

***Friday, August 11, 2006

Another layover day! (I’ve only been on one other trip where we spent so much time in one place – some years ago we spent about this much time in the Cottonwood Lakes area as we investigated some high ridges and climbed Mt. Langley.)

Rising early again, this time I wandered about 100 feet to a bench overlooking Lake Four to shoot some early morning photographs of the lake and the ridge near the Palisade Glacier.

The main group’s plan for the day was to climb up to Palisade Glacier. I can’t say much about that since I did not join them – I was pretty certain (and I know now that I was correct) that my injured toe would not hold up to extensive cross-country hiking or the big downhill back to camp. One of the others may describe their day here or elsewhere; I’ll provide a link.

I choose to take an easy hike up to Lake Six and Lake Seven instead. This route (at least the version I chose) started up the same trail I had follwed the previous day to Summit Lake, but shortly branched off to the left and climbed into a small, narrow valley containing a tarn. I spent some time there photographing the rocks and the tarn and then headed on up the trail.

The trail passed through several interesting features. To ther right there was a long lateral moraine following along the base of the high rocky ridge above. The trail kept off of the rockier portions of the moraine, but I thought about investigating it on the way back.

Every so often the trail would drop into a small depression that seemed to have no real drainage. The first one did hold a small creek, but the second did not – even though it looked like water must drain into it since all of the surrounding terrain was higher. After climbing out of this and up over a small ridge, the trail began a short, steep descent to a bench above Lake Six.

I paused here for awhile, to snack and then to start photographing some of the amazing wildflower display near this lake and along the valley leading up to Lake Seven. I must have timed this just right since the wildflowers were as extensive as anything I’ve seen in the Sierra. Eventually I arrived an Lake Seven and passed around the right shore to a small rocky area where I settled in to spend an hour eating lunch, taking a few photos, watching birds, and generally taking in the feeling of being in this high, lonely place by myself.

I finally roused myself and began the walk back to Lake Six, this time trying to skirt the wettest and most floral sections. I spooked four deer grazing in the flower-filled meadow at one point and began to wonder if I had perhaps stumbled into a Disney animation…

I finally reached the area above Lake Six and searched around a bit for my trail before finding it and heading back up over the small ridge I had earlier descended. This time as I headed back down, I though to avoid descending into and climbing out of one of those small depressions by instead traversing the top of the lateral moraine to the left (this time) of the trail. In the end, I probably didn’t save myself much time since the going was quite a bit rougher than on the trail, but I did enjoy the change of pace.

I returned to camp in the mid-afternoon and again found myself with plenty of time for lazy reading in the tent. The others began to return about an hour later.

Once again… dinner… conversation… sunset… sleep.



August 19, 2006 - Posted by | Commentary

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