this was a nice loop that i completed last weekend. i entered desolation w. through horsetail fall-- an ingress/ egress point that starts as a well established trail but quickly turns into a cross country climbers trail as it crosses a few rock fields and travels, trailless, thru a hanging valley above the falls.
heres my wanna-be ryan j. shot-- baseweight 7 lbs.
with the route finding and class 2 hiking i only made it in a few miles on day 1. i slept the first night on the final saddle, at lake at the woods. it was in the teens that night and i was definitely cold in my 35 deg wm highlite bag. thoughts of bailing out on the 35 mile loop ran thru my mind all night as i tossed and turned to stay warm!
but the next morning was bright and beautiful. i knew i had to go on. the nice view of pyramid peak--the dominating peak of the crystal range-- urged me on. here it is as i was heading out next morning.
i think this was my lightest trip up to date. i am, as we all are, refining my ul kit, and took some new pieces like the ion as a pack, the bpl 500 and brasslite as my cookset, and the gatewood cape as my raingear/ shelter. because of the temp range i had to carry some extra pieces, like montbell ul inner which, btw, is tremendous.
i ended up doing about 24 miles that second day. i headed around lake aloha, headed north and eventually joining the PCT for a few miles before starting to loop back around.
heres a shot of lake aloha. it was the lowest i have ever seen it.
that night i slept at clyde lake. the next morning the shallows of the lake had frozen over. despite that, i found an established site where rocks had been built up as a wind shelter and i was much warmer than the first nite. heres a shot i took as i was filtering my water before heading out for the third day.
anyway, i ended up doing the 35 miles in 48 hours, with the class 2 action for a couple miles of it. it was a sweet trip. i am still a bit sore as a write this a few days later.
although this wilderness is one of the most used in sierras, on this last weekend, i saw only 6 people over the course of the weekend. they, like me, were all loving the weather and environs for this time of year.
i have to say too, carrying the 7 lbs baseweight, it was like a dream. ive been so stoked on the trip all week that i was inspired to write this.