Loch Leven Lakes - August 2019

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On a Sunday in late August, seven of us met in Roseville and then carpooled, driving east on I-80 to Big Bend, not far from Donner Summit, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  

The walk to High Loch Leven Lake and back was 8 miles with 1,500+ feet of climbing gain, but it felt longer and some thought we'd done more uphill.  We were on the trail at 9:30 am & returned to the cars a little after 5 pm, so it was indeed a long day out, indicating that there was an element of 'slog'.   

Suffice to say that this was the most challenging walk of the year for me, mainly due to the frequent presence of large steps up, or down, many requiring us to hold onto granite boulders for support.  The walk was also very dense with rocks, often at crazy angles, so there was a lot of ankle-twisting potential, which had me wishing I'd brought regular hiking boots instead of a low-cut hiking shoe.     

note - you can enlarge any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again.

heading out climbing starts right away   morning in the mountains 
  Sierra Nevada granite   small pond  
see note 1 below track crossing L wondering if we might see a train. half a minute  later...
  Union Pacific   end of season look
see note 2   Rich and Linda easy walking, sometimes
  blue penstemon first Loch Leven lake giant leaves >
see note 3 another native plant or maybe  ubiquitous out west ?

note 1 - this charming and eye-catching pink open-cup type flower was seen often, today. 

note 2 - only the lower right Indian Paintbrush flowers seem to be in focus.    

note 3 - If you look close, there's a tiny reflection of the mid-day sun at every little arch along the edge of these giant leaves, creating a string of tiny suns, like pearls.   

The walk continues to the other two lakes -

As Rich pointed out in an email after the hike, we encountered many other hikers & backpackers today, and, when we passed Loch Leven lakes one & two, we saw small groups of people hanging out.  So we expected to see some others at High Loch Leven lake, but no one was there.  As a result we had nice, private lunch, surrounded by water, on a sunny day with clear blue sky above.     

second lake Surjit the walk to lake three oops, still passing lake two
  fall color starting size small cairn size extra large cairn, well done !  
see note 1 many parts of the walk were thus Rich went for a swim in lake three  R & D at High Loch Leven
  Linda Geno photo by Surjit  
impressive nearby terrain leaving the third lake a shape that defines local wind patterns break time, about half- way back

note 1 - the plant shown here is a groundcover Manzanita (arctostaphylos) which pretty much is everywhere and it seems to hold the hills together, preventing erosion.      

Our walk back downhill had us cooking in the afternoon sun, at times, although most of the day's hike was accompanied by coolish mountain breezes.   

When we got back to the cars, it seemed unbelievably hot and I tried to hide from any UV, while working on de-mobe.  I said to Rich that I felt a little beaten up, and he agreed. 

But overall our hiking group members today emerged from a long & at times difficult and technical walk, without any incidents or accidents, and on a hike like this one, that's a good sign.    

The group's recovery plan consisted of a 40-minute drive (or ride) downhill to old town Auburn, where we had a brew & dinner at the Alehouse.  The hiking group recently seems to be perfecting 'the art of recovery'.   

For all of us hikers out on the rugged trial today, it was another good day up in the mountains ! 

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Backyard photos - every year, as August becomes September, the Fairy Lilly plant blooms for about two or three weeks.  Neighbors gave us the 'face' pot when they moved away, a few years back.  I took these photos a day or two after the hike.   

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