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Eastern Sierra Trip 2009

Day 5 of 10

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Tuesday, June 30th
Heart Lake hike

The lone camper near us, in site 17, left either late at night or early in the morning. When we got up, he was gone, leaving us as the only campers in the area; the entire campground itself was probably about 2/3 full.

One of the problems with day hiking in the eastern Sierra is that there aren't many hikes close together. Trailheads are often at the end of long mountain roads that snake up into the Sierra from Highway 395. I briefly pondered doing a hike in the Alabama Hills, but figured it'd be too hot there today (since it's at lower elevation). I then had to decide between Convict Lake and Heart Lake, both relatively long drives (over an hour away). Eventually I decided I'd take my chances with possible snow at Heart Lake (given its high elevation) since it looked like the nicer hike.

We started driving down Glacier Lodge Road, but after less than 5 minutes I decided to turn around. The sky was no longer completely clear and there looked to be a chance of rain. I went back and we tossed the rain fly over our tent, just in case. Then we made the drive down to Big Pine, north on Highway 395, then up Rock Creek Road to Mosquito Flat, the trailhead for the hike to Heart Lake.

After the hike, we drove down to Bishop, where we found a laundromat. We did our laundry and had dinner in town. Afterwards we stopped at the local supermarket to pick up some supplies. As we did so, we saw a rainbow up in the mountains on the east side of Highway 395. On the drive back to camp, we saw another rainbow. As I drove up Glacier Lodge Road to head back to camp, we witnessed a jaw-dropping sunset. Unfortunately I was driving on a winding mountain road with no decent place to stop. So, sorry, no pictures. I get the sense that such sunsets are common in this area, and it's no wonder why Galen Rowell decided to move to Bishop. It always makes me sad when I think about what more he could have done if it weren't for the plane crash.

We returned to camp and were happy that we'd put the rain fly on. It had definitely rained here while we were gone. Streaks of yellow pollen lined the roadway. We had a final campfire here before turning in.


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