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Heart Lake - Inyo NF - 1 member in 4 triplogs has rated this an average 3 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Mar 27 2016
slegal
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 Guides 74
 Routes 102
 Photos 2,962
 Triplogs 56

59 male
 Joined Jan 27 2007
 Thousand Oaks, C
Heart Lake - Inyo NFSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Snowshoeing avatar Mar 27 2016
slegal
Snowshoeing7.60 Miles 1,100 AEG
Snowshoeing7.60 Miles
1,100 ft AEG   5 Hrs   30 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I tried hiking to Heart Lake in December. There was a lot of fresh powder at the time and even though I had snowshoes on, I was doing too much post holing. It wore me out and I turned around short of the goal.

What is a 3 mile or so round trip hike in the summer is nearly 8 miles in the winter. The road to Coldwater Creek Campground, where the Heart Lake Trailhead is, is closed all of the way down to Twin Lakes. That means snowshoeing all of the way from Twin Lakes to the trail head.

From Twin Lakes to Coldwater Creek Campground is not very difficult. The hike is on Lake Mary Road next to a cross country ski run. There is a little bit of off road on the Lake Mary Loop to avoid the ski run on the now narrower road, but it’s mostly flat.

Once at the campground, it’s a little tougher because it’s all uphill and you have to stay off of the campground roads because they are ski runs. By the time I got to the Heart Lake trailhead I had already down 2.6 miles.

Unlike my December attempt, there was a cross country ski run cut into the bridge across Coldwater Creek. No matter. I crossed anyway. The ski run appear to head past the Mammoth Consolidated Mine, which was not the direction I was headed.

It was 50 degrees when I started the hike and the snow was quite slushy. No post holing this time made for a good pace uphill. That is, until the cross slope got steep. Then the cleats on the bottom of my snowshoes would not hold very well and I slipped and slid the rest of the way to Heart Lake. I even fell a couple times.

By the time I made it to Heart Lake it was getting colder and windier. I stopped and ate a sandwich and shot some photos. Then I added a layer for the hike back.

While less strenuous, the return trip down to the trailhead was a little more treacherous. Despite shortening my steps on the steeper downhill sections, I still had serious traction problems and fell a number of times. Fortunately, the snow was soft.

Once back at Coldwater Creek Campground it started to snow. At first, it was nice big flakes and made for a pretty landscape. Then the wind picked up and the snow turned to pelting graupel for the remainder of the hike. The last 2 miles were not fun. As always, I look back at the good parts and the accomplishment, not the bad parts of the hike. So all in all, this was a good hike.
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Jul 31 2015
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 Guides 74
 Routes 102
 Photos 2,962
 Triplogs 56

59 male
 Joined Jan 27 2007
 Thousand Oaks, C
Heart Lake - Inyo NFSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jul 31 2015
slegal
Hiking2.20 Miles 440 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles
440 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Today we did a short hike in the morning before attending Bluesapalooza in the afternoon. My friend John and his girlfriend Jennifer came up to stay with us for the festival and were anxious to get out and hike in Mammoth. My wife and Vern’s wife were back in Thousand Oaks. My wife did not want to come up until after Bluesapalooza. She said something about too much beer or something to that effect.

I texted my other brother-in-law Joe, to see if he wanted to join us, but he responded that he was already at Duck Lake.

We have a good hike. It was cloudy and looked like it might rain. The clouds photographed well.

While at Duck Lake, Joe and my sister-in-law Debbie met us with their three dogs.

After our hike we walked from my condo to Bluesapalooza. It was a lot of fun. Gomez’s had $2 street tacos which were tasty and filling. Mammoth Brewery kept us well hydrated. The music was great, particularly Carolyn Wonderland, whom I had never heard of prior to the event. The next day was the brews fest. I think this was the reason my wife didn’t want to join us. By about 4 o’clock it started dumping rain. We decided we had enough and left.
Fauna
Fauna
Dog
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Jun 21 2015
AZLOT69
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 Guides 175
 Routes 247
 Photos 8,199
 Triplogs 1,944

70 male
 Joined Feb 12 2002
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Consolidated Mine TrailSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 21 2015
AZLOT69
Hiking8.50 Miles 1,840 AEG
Hiking8.50 Miles
1,840 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Great day on the trails. Comfortable weather at this altitude. Escaped smoke from Lake Tahoe fires.
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It's best for a man to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open his mouth and remove all doubt.
--Mark Twain
Oct 11 2013
slegal
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 Guides 74
 Routes 102
 Photos 2,962
 Triplogs 56

59 male
 Joined Jan 27 2007
 Thousand Oaks, C
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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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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