Drink at Hand: Ginger Ale (its my go-to airplane drink, don't know why!)
Howdy folks, time for another Thirsty Thursday, so pour something yummy and make those weekend plans. As you might have guessed from my "howdy folks" and airplane drink, I've been in Texas all week at a little weather nerd conference. Not going to lie, I am a weather nerd, so I was right at home. But just like Terry's post last week, there's something about being cooped up inside that makes you want to be way-the-heck outside. So this week, we'll review my little backpacking trip way out into the Kaiser Wilderness.
As you might remember from this post, Massey and I went for a little backpacking trip in the Kaiser Wilderness, with George Lake as our planned final destination. I picked Kaiser because it was on the west side of the Sierra Crest (hence a short drive) and I wanted a short-ish hike since we were going in Saturday and coming out Sunday. We picked up our wilderness permit in Huntington Lake at 8 am when the ranger station opened and headed straight to the trailhead...where it promptly started spitting rain. Grrr. I kept getting the backpack cinched up and ready to go while passing showers scooted overhead. A dilema...do I go or do I bail? I really didn't want to hike 5 miles in the rain with a 45-lb pack on my back, but I also didn't want to give up potentially the last backpacking weekend of the year. Plus I had a brand new backpack that I was dying to use. So we went.
Massey loved the trail and her little backpack, too. We strolled along, dark clouds shadowing behind us, but bright blue skies ahead. My fingers were crossed. Massey chased pikas and I sucked in the scents of juniper and sun-warmed pine. Heaven. We topped out at Potter Pass and thunder started cracking as the wind picked up. I was nervous. But fortunately we dropped down the other side of the pass while the storm headed a different direction. On to the beautiful Lower Twin Lake, where I was surprised to see wildflowers still blooming. We quickly passed Upper Twin Lake and I noticed dark clouds coming again. The trail scrambles up a granite boulder field...one mile to go to George Lake. It was a tough mile--lots of elevation gain--further stressed by the approaching storm. I found the first suitable camping site near the lake and tore into the backpack to dig out the tent pieces. I've never pitched a tent so fast! I threw the dog and my pack in the door and zipped the rainfly just as the first huge drops hit. All five of them. Maybe it was six. We sat out a pretty wicked lightning storm but we dodged the rain.
The rest of the weekend we had beautiful weather to enjoy the beauty of the place. The upper alpine lakes of the Sierra are so beautiful. Rocky, clear, pristine. Massey also enjoyed the water, jumping in every time possible. She didn't seem to mind that she was ruining the perfect mirrored reflections by rippling the surface of the water, so I had to act fast. We had a great time and can't wait to get back out into the woods again. Hopefully with Terry next time. Enjoy a few images from the weekend.
Its getting a little late in the season for backpacking, but if you want to head out to the Kaiser Wilderness next summer (or with a very warm sleeping bag), head east from Fresno toward Shaver Lake. Keeping going up the climbing mountain road to Huntington Lake. Here you'll find the ranger station where you can pick up a wilderness pass for the outing. Make sure you have your bear can...I didn't see any bears, but I saw signs of them.