We stepped out from the trailhead a little after ten a.m. in air temperatures around twenty-eight F. The sun made it feel much warmer than that, though the wind did whip up from time-to-time to put a little chill in the bones.
Our first time hiking the Kearsarge Pass area, we simply wanted to get a feel for the trail and gain first-hand knowledge of the layout of the land. The thought was that on the second-go-round, we’ll be carrying heavier packs for a few nights in the 60 Lake Basin of Kings Canyon National Park that can be accessed from the eastern side of the Sierra.
Up and up we went, feeling happier to be there with each step we made. It didn’t seem too long before we arrived at the first lake — Little Pothole:
Not long after that, not long at all, we came upon Gilbert Lake:
A little bit after that, not at all more than a little bit, we were at Flower Lake, where we decided to eat some food:
Surrounded by such grandeur, we both kept saying that we “for sure” will be back in the summer.
We didn’t have to walk through too much snow, but we did get turned back at one section before Heart Lake. The sun on the snow loosened it up a bit, enough that a traverse with only trekking poles would have been a little sketchy, we felt. A slip or soft snow sliding away would have resulted in a fifty foot, or more, of an uncontrolled glissade (so to speak) on a fairly steep slope that had some sizeable boulders at the bottom.
She wanted to see Heart Lake, the romantic that she is. We scanned the land below us, and determined that footprints and possibly ski tracks traversed a small piece of open country. We backtracked down the trail and then made our way down the rocky scree. Sure enough, we found footprints and ski tracks that stretched on in the direction of Heart Lake. Scrambling our way over snow and rock, we got a view from high above, peering down from a boulder:
Very happy and super content with the day, we decided to turn around and get started back down to the car.
Five hours of casual hiking was pretty much perfect life lived.