Shamrock Lake

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shamrock lake. photo by bruce czopek

 

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Shamrock Lake is in  Twenty Lake Basin, Hoover/Inyo Wilderness. Click to enlarge.

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Looking Down to Summit Lake

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summit lake, Hoover Wilderness.  Photo by bruce czopek

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Looking west to 10,200 ft Summit Lake in the Hoover Wildernes. The photo is from a recent hike up Virginia Lakes Trail.  The 11,120 ft. pass between Virginia Lakes and Summit Lake is only 2.5 miles from the Virginia Lake Trailhead. A very popular day hike.  I hiked off the pass just a bit to get a good angle on the lake. Definitely click 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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A Reminder Etched in Granite

As I recoup from recent surgery, the  nerves that communicate between my brain and legs and various below the belt activities  are waking up and remembering how to play well with one another. They are off to a good start and hopefully continue.  I am slowly working on walking further each day and learning the body’s limits as the healing progresses.  Although  the jury is still out I am ever the optimist that backpacking will once again be part of my life.  Not this year perhaps but I am looking forward to once again going walkabout in the Sierra Nevada.   In the meantime one of my all time favorite mountain photos shines on as my screensaver, a reminder of how glorious nature can be and an encouragement to be persistent and patient.  You can click on the photo to enlarge.

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Buckey Ridge, Hoover Wilderness.  Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Photo by Bruce Czopek

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A Sneaky Little Hike

Telling poetic lies to my lower back and legs, I managed to sneak out for a short but glorious hike at Virginia Lakes this weekend.  The aspens are pretty much gone at the 9800 Ft. elevation trailhead and up.  But oh,  the blue of the sky, the crisp autumn air,  the shimmering water and the  magical light of the Sierra Nevada were blissfully intoxicating.

I hadn’t intended to walk far, knowing that all though in the moment I might be able manage some distance , the piper would have to  be paid the following day.  Still,  I found myself saying, “Oh, just a bit further up to that viewpoint” ,  or ” I’ll just make it to there and get an idea of where the trail goes”, or  ” This is the last Sierra hike before surgery so just a little more.”   A three mile round trip was coaxed out of a tired and wobbly but oh so happy body. Didn’t even have my good camera with me as I honestly didn’t thing it would be more than a stroll out of the car to stretch the legs.  Ha.   Thankfully, I did have my hiking pole for support and a cheesy low level cell phone camera for a few happy snaps to share the moment.

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Cooney Lake is just a little ways above Virginia Lakes.

Cooney Lake is just a little ways above Virginia Lakes.

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An old miner's cabin hangs on, resting alongside the trail from Virginia Lakes to the Summit Lake.

An old miner’s cabin hangs on, resting alongside the trail from Virginia Lakes to Cooney Lake.

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Frog Lake.

Frog Lake.

 

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The trail passes above Blue Lake which sits  between Virginia and  Cooney Lake. Mt. Dunderberg rises above the trail to a 12,374 ft. peak.

The popular  trail passes above Blue Lake which sits between Virginia and Cooney Lake.  Frog Lake comes next.  Mt. Dunderberg rises above the trail to a 12,374 ft. peak.

Plodasaurus Rex

Moving at only a slightly faster rate  than the glaciers that carved the Yosemite and Hoover Wilderness,  I just finished my first backpack trip of the season. I intend to get a bumper sticker to put on my pack for all those to read who zoom by me on the trail.  It shall read:  “Plodasaurus Rex”.  I plod on brightly and indeed get to someplace….eventually.

The Robinson Creek loop outside Bridgeport is a very popular trail though nobody would call it an easy one. But it is immensely rewarding in grandeur and serenity, weaving  the wilderness magic that at once challenges and calms and nourishes the soul.

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While getting my wilderness permit at the Bridgeport Ranger Station, these pack llamas were awaiting their hiking partners the same.

While getting my wilderness permit at the Bridgeport Ranger Station, these pack llamas were awaiting their hiking partners who were doing the same.

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Robinson Lake.

Robinson Lake.

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Heading toward Crown Lake.   Crown Point in the distance.

Heading away from Robinson Lake toward Crown Lake. Crown Point in the distance.

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A tree with personality.

A tree with personality.

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A granite Cathedral past Crown Lake on the way to Rock Island Pass.

Past Crown Lake on the way to Rock Island Pass.

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First light, second day.

First light, second day.

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Stayed the night below the switch backs that lead to Snow Lake and Rock Island Pass. Broke in a new 1.2 lb tent. Lighter equipment, happier knees.

Stayed the night below the switchbacks that lead to Snow Lake and Rock Island Pass. Broke in a new 18 oz. tent. Lighter equipment, happier knees.

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Hanging On.  Photo by Bruce Czopek

Along the switchbacks a ribbon of snow hangs on.

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Snow Lake.

Snow Lake.

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The wonderfully surreal, Snow Lake.

The wonderfully surreal Snow Lake.

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Several miles below snow lake and Rock Island pass is Kerrick Meadows  a norther border of Yosemite to the Hoover Wilderness.

Several miles below Snow lake and Rock Island pass is Kerrick Meadows, a norther border of Yosemite to the Hoover Wilderness.

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The smart persons approach to backpacking.  I definitely see this in my future. These are the llamas and hikers I met at the ranger station in Bridgeport.

The smart  approach to backpacking. I definitely see this in my future. These are the llamas and hikers I met at the ranger station in Bridgeport.

 

From Kerrick Meadows, it is a quick hop over to Peeler Lake, 4 miles down to Barney lake and 3.8 miles out to the trailhead at Twin Lakes.  Since I  bombarded you dear readers with too many photos already, you could see  photos of the rest of this loop in the archives under “Barney and Peeler”.  Click on any photo to enlarge.  Thanks for stopping by.