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

Big Pine Lakes 2006 – Day 6

***Saturday, August 12, 2006

Once again I got up early on this, our final trail day, and spent an hour or so photographing the view from the nearby bench.

DawnPalisadesFourthLake2006|08|12: Dawn light. Palisades Ridge and Big Pine Creek Lake #4. Sierra Nevada Range, California. August 12, 2006. © "g dan mitchell".    keywords: dawn light palisades ridge big pine creek lake #4 mount sill north palisade mount bayley sierra nevada color photography backpacking

Dawn on Palisade Glacier and Lake Four. August 12, 2006. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell.

TempleCrag4thLakeSunrise2006|08|12: Sunrise, Temple Crag and Fourth Lake. Sierra Nevada Range, California. August 12, 2006. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell.    keywords: sunrise dawn temple crag fourth lake sierra nevada california color photograph

Dawn, Temple Crag and Lake Four. August 12, 2006. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell.

The rest of the crew was stirring a bit earlier today – partly due to the natural change to an earlier wake up time after a few days on the trail and partly due to a desire to get on the trail early for the hike back down to the trailhead. Before long everyone was up and packing.

I was packed first, so I set off before everyone else. I was planning on problems with my toe, and I didn’t want to push it to keep up with the others, nor did I want to make them wait a couple hours at the trailhead while I hobbled downhill.

Things went pretty well at first. I kept my hiking speed down and tried to avoid the natural swinging downhill gait that I’m used to, instead opting for a sort of slow, plodding approach that would save my toe.

I hiked alone as far as the forest service cabin where we ate lunch on the first day. By this point the toe was starting to swell and hurt fairly badly, so I took a short break and put my foot up. Unfortunately, when I started hiking again the toe was worse rather than better. (Sometimes I find that it is better to just keep going rather than stop and let swelling begin.) Before too long about half the party caught me and passed by.

I continued along, eventually reaching the downhill section above the old unused road. At this point I knew I was going to make it, though there had been a few moments when I had wondered. I kept going – at my quite slow pace – and arrived at the parking lot ahead of four or five remaining group members. The people who had arrived before me were getting impatient, so they took off for Bishop and pastry, gelato, and other goodies at Schaats. Once the next wave arrived, we headed on down in time to join them for a pizza lunch.

We had been planning on staying overnight at Mammoth and enjoying our traditional post-hike Mexican dinner at Roberto’s, but the consensus seemed to be that we were out soon enough that we might as well start home. So we hit the road and headed back to the Bay Area with only one brief stop at the Tioga Mini Mart for snacks.

A photo note: The Big Pine Creek area is stunning and I was well-equipped for photography on this trip, carrying a Canon DSLR, a couple Canon “L” zoom lenses, tripod, and assorted other goodies. However, there are two factors that made for somewhat challenging shooting on this trip. First, being on the east side of the Sierra crest and in a somewhat deep and narrow canyon the morning light was somewhat limited and the evening light was very difficult. Secondly, we were cursed (remember, this is a photographer writing… ;-) by a full week of beautiful, cloudless weather. I much prefer slightly nasty, scary, and impressive thunderstorm weather for the dramatic skies!



August 19, 2006 - Posted by | Commentary

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