Uncharted territory and a little vacation

In keeping with our theme of “explore your own canyon first”, we had quite the adventure last week, checking out parts of our backyard that don’t have trails leading to them.  We talked with the resort owner, a long time employee, and a summer resident who owns a rustic cottage near the lake to gather information for our route, and set out with only a vague plan to our trajectory.  We had a marvelous time, even if I don’t know just where we were for most of the trip!

We started out right from the resort and looked for the locked gate that’s labeled “Private”.  This steep road leads to a group of summer cottages built eons ago, and still quite primitive, each with its own outhouse.  (Someday I hope to grow up to be Robin, who is 90 years old, and still carries her own potable water up the hill to her cottage.)  Headed roughly in the right direction, we scanned the forest for faint signs of a footpath to our next destination.  We did fairly well for a while, but eventually had to follow a mule trail to continue around a maze of little creeks, and to cross at the shallowest spot.

JJ does his best Mule impression. I imagine they do this much more gracefully than we did!

As promised by our planning guides, we found oodles of little lakes, just off the trail, but far enough off that they felt secluded and private.  They all have enchanting names like Serene, or Eastern Brook, or Big Fish, and you feel like the first person to ever discover them.

Big Fish Lake is also big mosquito county. Thank you, DEET!

 

Long Lake, my vote for the prettiest one, even though it’s right on a well-used trail.

While we were out, we talked about the peaks and routes we want to conquer next.  The most obvious is Mount Morgan, at 13,757, and the focal point of amber colored light first thing in the morning, and last thing at night.  When we “peak” it, it will be the first time I’ve been over 12,000 on my own volition, and we will have views deep across the backbone of the Sierra range.  Next up is Mount Starr.  While it’s much shorter at only 12,835, it affords stunning views of our valley.  We plan to go on a clear sunny day so we can take tons of pictures.  Finally, we want to cross Half Moon Pass, right behind the resort, and see how far we can get into places strange names like “Fourth Recess”.

Top Left: Half Moon Pass. Bottom Left: Mount Morgan. Right: Mount Starr

More than anything, we were amazed at how quickly winter gives way to summer in the high Sierra.  We last hiked in this area on June 9, and the land was still in the grips of cold.  As I looked through my pictures, I realized I had taken 2 shots in the same direction that really highlighted the changes.

July 15 vs. June 9

For our weekend, we decided it was time for a getaway.  Yes, we live in a beautiful area, but we also live at our work.  Now and then, we want a little time away from our co-workers, even though we love them.  We traveled just 25 miles north and stayed at a campground south of Mammoth Lakes, where we could get internet while sitting in the RV!  After a couple months of having to drive 9 miles for connectivity, we found that kind of proximity a real thrill!

We did a small hike to a lake near us, went to bed early, slept in, talked on the phone, and binged on Facebook and Instagram.  And enjoyed ice cream nightly, of course.  It was relaxing and wonderful…we will have to plan another in about 6 weeks or so!

Sherwin Lakes were beautiful, but after living in the high country, these look like baby mountains to me!

 

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