Wednesday, November 7, 2007

An Autumn Hike at Rock Creek Lake

This was a great day and a perfect place for a late season hike! Rock Creek Canyon, in the Eastern Sierra north of Bishop, is filled with superb hiking trails. On this particular trip, we hiked out of Mosquito Flat, above Rock Creek Lake, and on into the Little Lakes Valley. There are several other trails near Rock Creek Lake: Hilton Creek/Lakes, Tamarack Bench, Sand Canyon for mountain biking, and numerous backpacking options. We took the Morgan Pass Trail.

One of the the unique features of this area, is that the trailhead is at 10,300 feet! So, immediately you're immersed in the high alpine lake terrain.

After entering the John Muir Wilderness and a hike up the Crankcase Grade, we followed a creek filled with darting brook trout. The trail splits after a steep-but-quick climb; a deviation from the mellow pace. Backpackers often head Mono Pass, but we continued through the Little Lakes Valley.

We came upon Mack Lake, and then upon the ultra scenic Marsh Lake. Unfortunately we didn't have our fishing poles; it looked like some excellent brown trout habitat! I know the Big One is lurking in there.

The hike meandered along Ruby Creek and on up to Heart Lake and Box Lake.
As we were enjoying the beautiful Box Lake, the T-shirt weather started to turn a little chilly as clouds rapidly developed and hovered over the Sierra.

The happy forecast of sunny weather was starting to look a bit off - it was looking like a storm was brewing.

So we had to keep jammin' up to see Long Lake before the weather turned to nasty!

Well, right when we got there it started snowing! So i didn't get any pictures of Long Lake, 'cause we weren't hanging out too long. The trip back went quite a bit faster. With no jackets, wet snow, and a breeze coming off 13,000 peaks, we were motivated to move fast.

I guess it was another lesson learned: always be prepared in the High Sierra - at least have a jacket! Although, i think we've said that a million times before... its just more fun this way!

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