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Valentine Lake Trail
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mini location map2015-01-23
9 by photographer avatarslegal
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Valentine Lake TrailSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jan 23 2015
Hiking4.25 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.25 Miles   2 Hrs   45 Mns   1.55 mph
1,200 ft AEG
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We got up to Mammoth late last night. So when we got up this morning no one was motivated to go skiing. There is very little snow on mammoth Mountain so only the groomed runs with snow making are worth skiing. Since my wife and daughter didn’t want to go skiing (my son stayed home this trip) I got the green light to go hiking.

I went to the Valentine Lake trailhead for the simple reason that the trailhead is a couple hundred feet lower than the Sherwin Lakes trailhead (meaning less snow). Also, since it gets less traffic than the Sherwin Lakes Trail, the Valentine Lake Trail is less likely to be icy. Despite the fact that it hasn’t snowed since Christmas Eve, there was more snow than I bargained for. Also, since the snow is a month old, it was crusty on top and soft underneath, requiring a lot more effort every time your feet sink through the crust.

Snowshoes would be good if not for the fact that there are long stretches of bare earth making for awkward walking on dirt and rock. So hiking boots had to do.

I made it to the top of the initial climb. The initial climb is the hardest part of this trail, regardless of the season. I was averaging less than 2 miles per hour, so I was using a lot of energy for so little forward progress.

After climbing about 1,200 feet, the snow was deeper and there were fewer bare spots. I never expected to make it all of the way to Valentine Lake and it was clear to me that there was a good reason that I was leaving the only tracks on this virgin snow. The hike was too hard for others. I turned around and made my way back down. No disappointment in the shorter distance of this hike. I got a great workout out of the hike.
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