Monday, October 9, 2017

Farewell to Autumn

Hike track link

Bird list

Bob and I did one of our let's go get some exercise hikes.  We follow dirt roads and ramble through the Buttermilks.  Some past trips in October have turned up pretty fall colors, other times nothing.  We got lucky and hit the peak of water birch color.  We also found patches of aspen in vivid yellow.

We also found fall colored birds, Evening Grosbeaks.  Their yellow and browns mimicking the leaves.

It was glorious!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Nydiver Lakes Loop

Hike track link

There are a few day hikes in our collective that are a must repeat. This is one of them. Since discovering the cross-country route to Nydiver Lakes some years ago, it has quickly become a favorite. Add the epic view of the Minarets, and my two favorite Sierra peaks - Ritter and Banner, and you have a real winner. 

As a day hike, this one isn't easy. It's about 17 miles of on and off-trail hiking, with a bit of scrambling and talus hopping thrown in for good measure. Our route starts out Agnew Meadow near Devil's Postpile and follows the popular trail to Shadow Lake. Beyond the lake we follow the John Muir Trail for a short while then depart on the trail to Ediza Lake. At just the right spot on the trail we head up a steep creek filled draw for the Nydiver Lakes basin. 

San Joaquin River canyon looking toward Mammoth Mountain

Shadow Lake

Volcanic Ridge

Once on top the real beauty of this route reveals itself. The Nydiver basin holds numerous small and large lakes in an alpine setting. Getting around up there can be a little tricky, but with some common sense there is no serious difficulty or danger. We follow the lakes toward our ultimate goal, the ridge dividing the lakes basin with the headwaters of Shadow Creek and the base of Mt. Ritter. 

First Nydyer Lake

Lower Nydiver Lake, Volcanic Ridge, Minarets

Some minimal scrambling
Standing on this ridge and looking up at Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak has to be one of the finest views in all the Sierra. The left over snow from our past big winter only added to the beauty. After a good long "rest" while admiring the view, we headed down stream on a decent use trail to the inlet end of Ediza Lake. From there it is just trail pounding the seven miles back to the car.  

Upper Nydiver Lake, Mt Ritter and Banner Peak

Some talus hopping

Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak
Ritter and Banner, and much left over snow from last winter

Ritter and Banner from near Lake Ediza