Way - To - Go!!! Friday, Oct 2, 2015
For a man who had Left Total Knee Replacement surgery less than four months ago, Jimmy is amazing. He can hike up and down these alpine mountains like a pro. When we last trod Five Lakes (June 2014), this trail hurt him. Today all he felt was hot, tired feet by the time we finished our 7.5 mile hike. Yes, you read that right ... lotsa miles! This is our third Friday in a row to plod up and down mountains in the high country; we felt practicing walking at higher altitudes would come in handy for our next journey. We won't be hiking in Tahoe National Forest next Friday, however -- we'll be packing our suitcases.
Besides, how could we (or why would we?) stay indoors on such a dazzling day? The temperature was in the low 70's, which is ideal for hiking, and nary a cloud in the sky. Five Lakes is a popular trail; we encountered quite a few people (and dogs, of course). Had to sidestep a few horse ploppers, too, although how a horse could navigate a steep, narrow course like this is unimaginable.
These two rock piles, one smoothly rounded, the other dark and jagged, sit side-by-side. Makes no sense. Gotta love Mother Nature!
By the time we reached this sign, we'd already logged two miles in the sun. We stopped now and again to admire the spectacular scenery (and breathe) on our ascent; it isn't possible for either of us to hike and look around at the same time! As we approached the five lakes area, we were treated to plenty of shade cover from tall trees. Elevation at the trailhead is 6500 ft, and we'll climb to 7500 ft at our highest point.
California Sister (Adelpha californica) flitting from leaf to leaf. Nice spot of color. This late in the year, we saw no flowers, but no snow either.
Lichen we did see! I thought this pattern was so cool. A recently-downed tree, I think.
OK, now -- after taking side trails down to a couple of the lakes, we followed a less-used path that took us eventually (up/down) to a juncture with the PCT (below). Look at the photo above. Jimmy is standing straight, and the tree in the foreground is straight, but all the trees in the background are listing so much they look as though they're fixin' to fall over! What a bizarre picture. (we were on a steep hillside, but ....)
We shucked our packs and stopped here to eat our lunch. Our turn-around point.
There are no signs to be seen in the wilderness. The lakes aren't numbered, as in 1. 2. 3., etc. We had single hikers and a group of guys asking us questions: is this Lake Five? Are more lakes this way? Is there a lake that way? Where's the trail? We had no answers. So, I don't feel too bad saying that on our return, we slipped up and lost the trail completely, ending up with a lot more steps on the ol' fitbit than we intended. As long as we could see a lake shimmering in the sun, we knew we could eventually find our way to the main trail ... it just wasn't easy. Think of it as an adventure!
What goes up, must come down, and it's always faster going downhill. I personally rated this trail at "moderately strenuous" because it's so steep. And also very beautiful.
Yup, that zigzag in the center of the pic is part of the switchback.
The End. Wait ...
... no, not the end. I wanted to tell you about packing suitcases! Next Saturday, Oct. 10th, Jimmy and I are flying from Sacramento to Los Angeles (LAX) to Beijing, China! From there, we'll tour the mountain kingdoms of Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and ending in Bangkok, Thailand. For almost three weeks we'll be out of the country, some of it in HIGHER elevations, hence our hiking in high country (Lhasa, Tibet sits at close to 12,000 ft above sea level.) To say we are excited about this trip would be an understatement! For months we've been working on getting our stuff in order, together, and ready to go into luggage. We're almost there.
We are taking the new lightweight Surface Pro computer, but I have no idea if I'll be able to post anything on my blog. If blogging isn't possible while Out and About in Asia, I'll do catch-up posts on our travels when we get home. I'll carry you in my pocket while touring these exotic places. Till next time, safe travels and happy camping. Now, it's The End of my post!