Friday, June 30, 2017

Horton Hears a Who

"On the 15th of May, in the Jungle of Nool, In the heat of the day, in the cool of the pool, He was splashing… enjoying the jungle’s great joys… When Horton the elephant heard a small noise."  So starts the classic Horton Hears a Who – By Dr. Seuss.  

We certainly experienced the heat of the day as we had to park 3 miles from the trailhead.  Yes, the forest service's road maintenance hasn't been up to snuff and their lack of water bars turned the road into a raging river this spring.  It used to be car passable, now it is four wheel drive only.  

We birded our way up finding 24 species.  Not too bad.  When we finally crested the ridge going into Horton Lake, we found the cool of the pool.  The stream had turned the meadow into an ice bath.  We waded through checking the creek along the way thinking this might not be cross-able.  It appeared to be 5 feet deep, choked with water birch and willows, and running fast.  Then we got to the bridge.  Yippee!!!  We had forgotten about that.

Iris's dominated the meadows and our views keep improving during our final climb.  Then we were to the old mine cabins and the lake.  It was a longer hike than we had hoped to do, but Horton Lake was worth the walk.

Mt Tom

True enough, but 3 miles up the road from where it should be placed

Basin Mountain

Cloud Ripper is in the background

Basin Mountain and a mine road we need to walk up

A rock retaining wall along the old mine road

Horton Lake

Grouse Mountain with Lookout Mountain in the background

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Big Pine Lakes Loop

In our effort to keep our feet dry, or at least not drown this summer, we decided to head up to Glacier Lodge and go to Second Lake in the Big Pine Lakes as we knew the stream crossings are bridged.  Our first stop was Lon Chaney's cabin.  The cabin was built back in the late 20's.  The forest service has used the cabin as a back country ranger station.  Now it lies empty.   LA Times article on the cabin

We made great time to Second Lake.  It was lovely -- turquoise water and towering rocks.  The water color is due to the glaciers in the area.  After chatting with a young landscape photographer, we decided to press on to Third Lake.  It was also beautiful.  Now we were about half way done with the loop.  At Fifth Lake we had lunch with a view.  No more turquoise water, but snow covered mountains towering over the lake.  Two Eagle Peak dominates and Cloud Ripper is also in full view.  Cloud Ripper was much more scenic from Baker Lake.  Fourth Lake and Black Lake are not much to look at, but we headed back that way.  We had nice views across the valley and didn't see a soul.

Lon Chaney's Cabin

First Lake

Second Lake and Temple Crag

Near Third Lake

Fifth Lake

Two Eagle Peak and Cloud Ripper

Fourth Lake

Black Lake

First Lake from across the valley

Temple Crag

South Fork

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Circuitous Route to McGee Mountain

Hike track link

bird list 1
bird list 2

We have been trying to pick hikes that don't involve the possibility of drowning.  Yep, the streams are full right now.

Susan noticed a small unnamed lake by Mt Morrison that we could scramble to.  Then more cross country and we could climb McGee Mountain and come back via the old mine road. This sounds more romantic than it actually was.  Most of the day we spent fighting through the brush or even more tiring walking down the old mine road.  The views were worth it though, and we will do it again, after our scratched legs heal.

Mono Jim Peak and the ridge we will go up

Looking at back at Convict Lake

Heading up to McGee Mountain

Almost at the top
The view from McGee Mountain

Looking back at McGee Mountain

Looking down at Crowley Lake

The road we came down is visible on the left