Hiking 6:00:00  11.0 mi (32:44 / mi) +800m 26:42 / mi
shoes: Saucony Peregrine
Backpacking in the Ansel Adams Wilderness with Tori, Carlo, and Presto! We drove out to Bishop yesterday and had a fun evening hanging out with Erin, Kyle, and the munchkins. Sadly, Sam was still too sick to come :-(. This morning we got up crazy early to have breakfast and drive to the Devil's Postpile trailhead before the gates close to cars at 7am. After a bit of confusion about which parking lot was the backpacker parking and bathroom stops and stuff, we were off!
We first headed over to the Devil's Postpile, which is cool, but somewhat underwhelming. Certainly less awesome than the National Monument status and shuttle system would lead you to believe. After confirming that we had indeed seen the entire Devil's Postpile, we headed up towards Minaret Lake. One of the challenges of backpacking without Sam is that I have to carry a lot more stuff. Tori and Carlo helped distribute the load quite a bit, but my pack was still heavier than it would be for a 2-day trip normally (although, I could put it on myself, so not as heavy as it could be!).
The trail up to Minaret Lake was pretty steadily climbing, although never really super steep. When we got the permit 6 months ago, we intentionally went for a weekend in August when mosquito season is usually over. Sadly, one consequence of our huge snow year was that we once again managed to hit peak mosquito season for our high Sierra adventure. Alas. We had one particularly notable stream crossing that was deep enough that I had to carry Presto across, and there was much frantic fleeing to get away from the mosquitos near the river. We stopped for second breakfast at a waterfall, and then continued on up to Minaret Lake.
The lake was absolutely gorgeous. We stopped for lunch, and then continued on to Cecile Lake. Our initial plan was to do a loop that went past Cecile Lake to Iceberg Lake and then on to Ediza Lake where we were going to camp for the night. We'd heard rumors that there was still too much snow to get past Iceberg Lake, but we figured we'd give it a chance. Getting up to Cecile Lake took quite a bit of scrambling, which was a bit of a challenge with our packs, but we made it up. The views of the Minarets, Banner Peak, and Ritter Peak were awesome, but the prospect of traversing around the lake was not. I set off by myself to see if I could make it to the mouth of Cecile Lake to see over the lip into Iceberg Lake while Tori, Carlo, and Presto hung out, but the snow was a bit too steep and slippery, so I turned back about halfway around.
We debated camping up at Cecile Lake, but while there were decent campsites, there wasn't a good place to get down to the lake to filter water, so we headed back down to Minaret Lake. We found a pretty awesome campsite, filtered water, made dinner, and then crawled into our tents to escape the mosquitos. Awesome day!