"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious" ~ Albert Einstein

Friday, June 14, 2013

Iceberg Lake, June 8th, 2013

After being couped up for a couple of weeks, Rebecca and I decided we needed to get a good hike in.  We wanted something that wasn't too far from home and wouldn't require too early of a start.  We decided on Iceberg Lake below Mt Whitney.  At only 6-7 miles round trip, it's not too long.  With 4400 feet of gain, it's still a great workout!  Also, neither of us had been to Iceberg Lake before.

We drove up to Lone Pine and arrived at the Ranger Station to pick up our permits for the hike.  Being in the Whitney Zone, even day hikes up this route now require a permit!  Not too long after that, we were huffing and puffing up the first part of the N fork of Lone Pine Creek.  The going here is steep, but fairly well shaded with lots of greenery and this refreshing little waterfall part way up.

The week prior was the first week of a two week training course, for me.  It had my mind in a bit of a whirlwind that apparently didn't want to go away all on its own.  I settled into a bit of a whirlwind pace heading up the trail and before we knew it we had traversed the infamous ledges and arrived at Lower Boyscout lake and meadow.  By now, we were feeling the workout and the soothing effect a vigorous workout can have on the mind.  We passed the meadow and began up one of our favorite sections - the granite slabs between Lower and Upper Boyscout Lakes.

The best part of the slab section are the areas where the streams are cascading down the granite.  It was a very light snow year, so the streams weren't super lively, but still always a neat area.  Just gotta be careful not to get too close and slip, or it's a very fast free trip right back down the mountain!

From Upper Boyscout lake, Rebecca and I would be hitting some new territory for both of us.   Just below the lake and right when Mt. Whitney and the pinnacles start to loom large in view, several sail planes started zipping around above the summits.  I got a photograph of these two sailing straight for the summit of Whitney.  Those guys must have been having a good time!

We soon found ourselves climbing up a wet, cruddy chute and topping out at Iceberg Lake.  This lake sits around 12,600' right below the East Face of Mt. Whitney.   We relaxed by the lake for a while and had a small bite to eat.  Down by Lower Boyscout Lake, I reached into my bag to grab a snack only to realize I had left my food bag at home.  Rebecca also had an extra small food bag for some reason.  Luckily for me, she was willing to share, but this put us both on rather small rations for the day! 

On the way down, we took in some views of Whitney and the pinnacles we hadn't fully appreciated on the way up.

Even though there is only around 3.5 miles to get back, seems like it's always a long ways down this trail.  It's steep and cross country in a few sections too, so it's a bit slow going here and there.  We were lucky to see some wild life - a small friendly marmot and a blue jay.  I think they were hoping we would leave our food unguarded.  But, I think even they would have been disappointed with the slim pickings we had.

There were also a lot of flowers blooming around.  I didn't get too many photos of these, but I did at least get one!

We finally made it back down to Lower Boyscout Lake and then down the ledges and back to Whitney Portal and our car.  We headed down to Bonanza Restaurant and enjoyed a couple Negra Modelos, plus a hard-earned Mexican meal, which was especially delicious since we both barely ate during the hike.

 A good day!

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