The latest trip reports from Whitney sound vastly different than 10 days ago - I did a quick 1 nighter at Chicken Spring Lake out of Horseshoe Meadow this weekend (7-22 enter, 7-23 exit).
It was friggin' hot (full sun, 67 days, 47 nights at lake and about 10 deg hotter at trailhead) and NO sign of typical afternoon monsoon - only some adorable poofs here and there. The trails are only slightly muddy in parts as everything is drying out fast and water won't be running over any trails beneath Cottonwood Pass much longer: there is only one patch of snow off the trail at the top. Not many biting bugs - my clothes are treated, and I am usually covered for sun reasons, and have one bite on my foot and one behind my shoulder.
The parking lot was packed, the walk-in camp was fairly full (i slept in my car Friday night) and the bear boxes were stuffed. Somehow, though, I didn't think the trails were crowded at all. Seemed 3 good sized groups at the lake, but they were all at the front. I found suitable trees farther down the shore, and could still hear them w/the rocky bowl acoustics (amazing echo spot!), but it didn't feel like too many people and was silent at night - though some walked into meadows despite NO markers (many of which were missing or fallen over). smh
Lots of flowers near any water and a good amount of lovely iris at all meadows! There are two small patches of ice still providing clean water in a thin cascade to the lake - lots of low-lying flowers all along the shore. No signs of bears anywhere, only marmots.
My hammock w/no tarp = unable to sleep for it was impossible to tear my eyes away from the stunning night sky. The smoke blew north or west instead, and the air was very, very clear. Not a black spot - all stars - and the milky way was amazing arching completely overhead. Zero wind, zero clouds, the lake reflected the night sky - at long exposure there was a tad light pollution to the southwest only.
The view from further up the PCT (above the lake) gave outstanding views: pretty sure I was looking at a slice of heaven. Like the view from Trail Crest, the valley is all green with patches of yellow flowers throughout Big Whitney Meadow - and the seemingly endless row of purple mountains, white snow in the bowls and creases, stretched northwest - there were darker, larger clouds there and some signs of light rain. Amazing view!
Hope you all had fun this weekend! I only wish traffic out of the OC did make this better than an awful 6 hr drive - I'd be up every weekend if it was less! (the mountains are calling) Will we finally get more monsoon / typical afternoon rain in August?
*edits for spelling
Edited by terraelise (07/24/17 11:32 AM)
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