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  
  little lake      
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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