Went to Mammoth to meet up with some other obnoxious hikers. Not much of a campground lover, we snagged a permit and headed into the John Muir Wilderness. A great night was spent at Pika Lake with some additional random exploring in nearby areas. It was a little breezy in exposed places and the night temps dropped into the mid 30s. It was a nice respite from August in Arizona.
We spent the next night with the obnoxious group in Mammoth Lakes and a yearling bear kept visiting. It destroyed one empty tent for a single m&m, and while not at all confrontational with people, it was also pretty ballsy. I'd be surprised if they don't put it down before the summer is over.
Sunday morning we headed out for perseids and hot springs. I didn't realize this area is a caldera like Yellowstone on a smaller scale. A lot of warm water coming out of the ground. Probably the most scenic hot spring I've ever soaked in.
Claire and I headed up to Mammoth Lakes on Tuesday and got settled in that evening. On Wednesday morning we picked up our permits for backpacking the next day and then wanted to do a moderate day hike. After researching HAZ we picked Duck Lake because of the proximity and the length. Also, I was on the JMT two years ago and camped about a mile below Duck Lake so I was already aware of it.
We started hiking from the Coldwater Creek Campground day parking area around noon and the trailhead sits at roughly 9,000 ft elevation. The trail immediately starts gaining elevation and we entered the John Muir Wilderness. We continued on and took a short detour over to Arrowhead Lake. From there we continued hiking under overcast skies but no threat of rain. Next up was Skelton Lake which is another picturesque lake where we stopped and took pics.
We continued on and passed Barney Lake and could see Duck Pass roughly 400 vertical ft above us. The trail is in excellent condition and switchbacks it's way up to the pass that sits at 10,800 ft. Once on top Duck Lake came into view. It's another magnificent lake. We decided to drop down to the lake to take our lunch. It was easy going as we descended a few hundred ft and we took our break at a lookout over the lake. It's a beautiful day and our view cannot be beat!
After lunch we headed back up to the pass and then started our return. On the way back we decided to detour over to Emerald Lake. This is a small but intimate lake surrounded by mountains. From there it was roughly a mile back to the trailhead. This was a nice hike and was perfect for getting us acclimated before our backpacking trip the next day.
Scenic Sierra hike to Duck Lake. Its a popular area so saw several other groups and dogs on the hike in. At the lake we found a nice spot and stoped for lunch. There was a bee that was really interested in my pack so that made eating a bit challenging. On the way back we approached a pack mule train and somehow managed to cut a corner or two and get ahead of them. At some point we stopped to filter water and the mosquitoes were a bit hungry:(
Nice hike to start off the trip ~!~
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.