Blue Lakes - October 2018
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In October my nephew John and his later-to-be wife Kim and I camped out at Lower Blue Lake, our second year in a row being here on Columbus Day Weekend. Once again we experienced late season cold air and an uncrowded campground, where we stayed in tents for three nights.
Our first night was a Saturday, with after-dinner entertainment provided by strong wind and a shower of hail, which looked like beautiful crystals in the flashlight, but felt like tiny blades, hitting your face, in the end acting like rain.
We all thought it was going to get heavier, with us getting soaked in the offing, and we were glad the storm passed.
But strong gusty winds continued and it was a wild night & we had a blazing fire going.
The photos below are a combination of mine and Kim or John's.
note - you can enlarge any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again.
|encamped||John and I||speculating about rain later||getting dinner going|
|driftwood||Kim & John||Lower Blue Lake|
|looking north toward Round Top||to the south|
Our first walk the next day was on a trail familiar to John and I, from many years ago, and it was nice to get re-acquainted.
I think I've walked this trail maybe 12 times. Only on two or three occasions did I reach the austere Grouse Lake, out and back being 12 miles. Getting a noon-ish start, we got maybe 60% of the way there today before we turned back and it seemed like we'd gone 7 or 8 miles.
|roughing it breakfast||the ground a bit wet from last night's storm||entering Wilderness Area|
|rock monster||hills east of upper Blue Lake||big Ponderosa Pines|
|a light dusting of snow way up there?||steady uphill||at Granite Lake|
|fall color at 10,000 ft.|
|approaching tree line||Summit City Ck. with Mokelume Peak at rt. side|
|Mokelume Peak||looking south to Ebbett's Pass & Hwy 4 area||see weather note||nice composition|
|worth the cold & wind to be up here||on the roof of the world||return to Granite Lake|
|the long walk down|
|just below upper lake dam||Upper Blue Lake||Round Top from the campsite|
note - this was one of the coldest hikes I've been on for a long time, with wind gusting to 20 or 25 mph. There was no peeling off clothing layers today, no matter how much uphill we walked.
On the second day there, we set out from the Upper Blue Lakes campground, and the very campsite where John and I used to camp, years ago, and you can walk right up the hill and into very scenic and photogenic granite outcroppings.
We had a good day out and once more at night had a good fire going. The only sound up here is the wind, a constant. It's a good sound to sleep to.
|granite outcroppings||Upper Blue Lake||John & Lower Lake|
|tiny pine cones||evening approaches||Rich's blue loaner tent|
|dusk on the lake||campfire||at 1/20th sec.|
|1/500 sec. exposure||to see how it would come out (hand-held)|
On our final morning we had a great breakfast and then packed up and vacated the site by maybe 10:30 am. I think we all knew that an early start gets you back early so you can unpack & maybe squeeze a few more hours of relaxation from a holiday weekend.
Camping trips are all about breaking the pattern of daily life & comforts, and about being away from everything and having no communication, and walking through really good scenery and in addition, having a chance to hang out with your relatives. John and Kim are both a lot of fun to be with.
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