Le Hawk

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hawk 2. photo by bruce czopek

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At first I thought this hawk was perched on top of the telephone pole in the late afternoon surveying the field and ponds below for a meal. But when I downloaded the photo I noticed what looks like some feathers on his beak. I now suspect he was digesting his last meal and maybe thinking about some dessert from the variety of birds that were coming and going below him in our little corner of Washoe Valley. Hey, a guy’s gotta eat.   Click on the photo to enlarge.

Burt Canyon

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It has been some years since last visiting Willow Flat and Burt Canyon in the Hoover Wilderness.  A quick overnight trip last weekend remedied that. The trailhead is nine miles or so  off California Hi Way 395, up Little Walker River Road. After eight miles Obsidian Campground is on your left. Continue for about 1/3 mile and take the very next left which is a marked Forest Service road. Easy to miss so pay attention.   Go up 1.1 mile to a gate and a very limited (3-4 cars) trailhead parking. It isn’t formally marked. If there is no room you’ll have to go back to  the bottom of the road and park across it at the formal trailhead at a large parking area.

 It is about seven miles to the end of the trail, but I stopped short of that, preferring to  camp on the gentle slope of the meadows edge in the middle of Burt Canyon. From  there one has a wonderful perspective of all the texture and light this  open Sierra landscape offers. Please click on any photo to enlarge the image.

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Willow Flat with the Little Walker River running through it.

Willow Flat with the Little Walker River running through it.

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Indian Paintbrush are out in force in Willow Flat.

Indian Paintbrush are out in force.

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Willow Flat wildflowers, photo by Bruce czopek

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The trailhead starts at 8120 ft elevation and slowly climbs to 9360 at the end of the trail under Flatiron Ridge. Willow Flat transitions to Burt Canyon via a mixed forest area roughly 3 miles in.

The trailhead starts at 8120 ft elevation and slowly climbs to 9360 at the end of the trail under Flatiron Ridge. Willow Flat transitions to Burt Canyon via a mixed forest area roughly 3 miles in.  You curve in-between Walker Mountain and Piute Canyon in the welcome shade before  breaking through to Burt Canyon.

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Looking south into Burt Canyon.

Looking south into Burt Canyon. Walker Mountain on the left. Cupping the end of the canyon is  Ink rocks in the middle left, snow dotted Flatiron Ridge and the monolithic Flatiron Butte on the right.

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Mt. Emma on the right. Piute Canyon and Piute Pass on the left.

Mt. Emma at center-right. Piute Canyon and Piute Pass on the left. The trees mark the northern edge of Burt Canyon.

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A closer view of the ridge line.

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Sunrise.

Sunrise.

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6:30 A.M.

6:30 A.M.

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Meadow iris still bloom in the wetter areas of the canyon floor.

Meadow iris still bloom in the wetter areas of the canyon floor. Hardy elegance at high elevation.

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Thousand Island Lake Loop

Leaving from the Mammoth, Ca. area, this hike is an extremely popular one and it’s easy to understand why.  One can  do it in three days, it is beautiful and rugged, and it is fairly easily accessed.  My route was to leave Agnew Meadows  up the San Joaquin river gorge via the River Trail,  past Shadow Lake for an overnight at Ediza Lake. The next day hike to Thousand Island Lake for another star filled night, passing by the elegant Garnet Lake along the way. Then out the third day via the Pacific Crest  High trail back to Agnew Meadows. Approximate milage 22 miles total.

There are plenty of hikers on the trail, many of them doing the PCT, starting in Southern California near the Mexican border.  Most had begun in April and had logged over 900 miles by they time they zoomed past me ( who was extremely happy to be able to put pack on again and simply be in  back country for any length of time).  The amount of hikers on the trail and those camping around Thousand Island Lake did not deter one bit from the pure enjoyment of being out there. We were all speaking a common language of love for the beauty of nature.  Please click on the image to enlarge.

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Looking down into the San Joaquin River Gorge from the PCT High Trail. The River Trail runs above the river in the gorge and crosses to continue along the waterfalls to Shadow Lake.

Looking down into the San Joaquin River Gorge from the PCT High Trail. The River Trail runs above the river in the gorge and crosses to continue along the waterfalls to Shadow Lake.

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Shadow Lake. The Minarets are the sharp peaks in the background left. Banner Peak and Mt. Ritter are the two mountains on the right. They dominate the landscape thru much of the hike.

Shadow Lake. The Minarets are the sharp peaks in the background left. Banner Peak and Mt. Ritter are the two mountains on the right. They dominate the landscape thru much of the hike.

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Ediza Lake

Ediza Lake

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Sunset through Banner and Ritter.

Sunset through Banner and Ritter.

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The Minarets in the setting sunlight.

The Minarets in the setting sunlight.

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It's the perfect time of year for the wildflowers, this bunch growing in the rocks around Ediza Lake.

It’s the perfect time of year for the wildflowers, this bunch growing in the rocks around Ediza Lake.

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Ediza Lake- 2:00 a.m.

Ediza Lake- 2:00 a.m.

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Garnet Lake with Banner Peak and Mt Ritter's reflection.

Garnet Lake with Banner Peak and Mt Ritter’s reflection.

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The John Muir Trail passes below and around Garnet Lake.

The John Muir Trail passes below and around Garnet Lake.

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Thousand Island Lake

Thousand Island Lake

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2:00 a. m. Thousand Island Lake

2:00 a. m. Thousand Island Lake

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Alpenglow next morning.

Alpenglow next morning.

 

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Thousand Island Sunrise. photo by Bruce Czopek

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Leaving 1k island. photo by Bruce Czopek

 

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Looking back on the way home via the PCT High Trail.

Looking back on the way home via the PCT High Trail.

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