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Heart Lake - Inyo NF
6 Photosets

2016-03-27  
2015-07-31  
2015-06-21  
2013-10-11  
2011-07-25  
2008-07-07  
mini location map2013-10-11
18 by photographer avatarslegal
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Heart Lake - Inyo NFSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Oct 11 2013
slegal
Hiking2.20 Miles 440 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles
440 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I spend a lot of time in Mammoth Lakes. It’s where I learned to ski 35 years ago. We’ve had a place in Mammoth for 25 years. What I had never done in all of that time is come up in the fall to see the leaves turn. I’ve been here for early openings of the ski mountain, including one year when the mountain opened about the same time as this trip, but never considered a trip just to see the leaves.

This trip made up for lost time. I know where there are aspens in the area. The problem would be if the wind stripped the trees prematurely. Looking at the Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge webcam the day before may trip, it was dumping snow and the snow was blowing horizontally. Not a good sign. I had contingencies to the north and south of Mammoth, but had hoped to stay in the Mammoth general vicinity.

My plan was to visit Heart Lake first. I knew there was lots of aspen midway up the trail to the lake. I took some nice photos of the trees that still had leaves on them, but more than half the trees had already been stripped bare by the wind.

I got to see my first evidence of the government shutdown when I arrived at the Coldwater Creek Campground. There was a blockade erected with a sign stating that the campground was shut down due to the government shutdown. It was clear that the sign was not meant to keep people away from the trailheads as there were lots of tire tracks in the snow. There was 4-6 inches of snow on the campground road and at the trailhead parking lot most of the parking spaces were covered with snow. I guess I should be surprised that the road and parking lot were not plowed. There is the shutdown after all.

The trail was well tracked all the way to Heart Lake. I was definitely not the first to visit the lake after the storm. As usual, the lake was beautiful. While there as a good breeze roughing up the water at Lake Mary, when I passed it on the way up, Heart was pretty smooth.

It was an enjoyable hike, but clearly, there are better fall leaves to be found at lower elevations, so I’m leaving 9,640’ Heart Lake for 7,582’ Convict Lake which is heavily lined with cottonwood and aspen.
Meteorology
Meteorology
Autumn - Color Foliage
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192 Photosets

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