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High Sierra Backpack - Loch Leven Lakes


I promised myself to go backpacking once a month this Summer. Last year I had an epic art project that ate up my whole year up through July. Here are a few photos from my early summer trip.

The trailhead for Loch Leven Lakes is easily reached from Interstate 80 and can be a day hike. There were many day hikers including kids and dogs so it's a moderate hiking trail. Going mid-week and staying overnight gets you more solitude.

I love this destination because it is only a 2 hour drive to the trailhead and allows access to alpine lakes with a very short hike - 3.6 miles or so to the farthest and highest lake. It is a bit vertical but if you pace yourself it can be pleasant. The water is frigid this time of year, I didn't manage the courage for a swim!

So this trip was in late June so there was quite a bit of snow on the ground and ice floating in the highest lake we reached.

Wildflowers were in full bloom in the lower parts of the trail and as you gain elevation you walk through early spring so that the plants are just recently sprouted from under snow cover and further up there is still snow on the ground in patches and bare recently-wet ground is dominant with a few green spikes showing themselves.

There was a truly amazing (this term is seriously overused and has ceased to be a superlative in common usage, sigh) amount of water, high lake levels, trails that were now small streams,

patches of snow covering the trail, and floating icebergs in lakes waiting to melt and run downhill to their destiny in the Pacific Ocean. New waterfalls were running and old ones were spectacularly full and powerful - sooo loud!

The trail was inundated with snowmelt and one portion of trail about a mile long was running with water as if it was a creek. I had to double check frequently to be sure I was actually on the trail and not accidentally hiking up a waterway!

I love the solitude up here and spend hours quietly taking in the beauty and quiet.


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