Backpacking, California, Hiking, Top Trips, Travel

I wish they all could be California girls

Looks like I haven’t updated this thing since May – oops! – but for once I have a legitimate excuse…we’ve been on too many adventures! Just in case I never get fully caught up (I literally have thousands of photos to go through, but the weather is too nice to stay inside), here’s a handful of the pics I’ve already processed from our trip to our sunny almost-neighbor to the south, California.

California Girls

Karen (who also took me to Tank Lakes last year) invited Tisha, Josie and yours truly to the Sierra Nevada for a grand lakebagging adventure in June/July. Unfortunately the unusually high snowpack forced us to change our plans a little bit, but I think we managed to make the most of what we had.


First stop*, Yosemite! We hiked the Mist Trail, did the whole touron thing, were blown away by the granite awesomeness of the whole place, and, on the way out, saw one of the famous Roadside Bears o’ Yosemite. (I have yet to see a bear in Washington, but I saw six(!) of them in Whistler the week before we went to California.)

My seventh bear!

After camping at Tioga Pass (man alive, what a gorgeous drive!), we made our way east of the mountains to Mono Lake where we marveled at the tufas and took a well-deserved dip to escape the heat. It has such a high saline content that you just float on top without any effort at all (I usually float well due to my high blubber content anyway, so it was a double win for me). Definitely the coolest swimming hole I have ever found.

Swimming in Mono Lake


Tufas in the sunset

Next we drove south to the Bishop area to go backpacking up by Big Pine Lakes. The lakes were melted (huzzah!), gorgeous, and I broke my previous altitude record when we hiked up to 11,000 feet. I was surprised that I didn’t get a headache or feel nauseated when we were camped so high, but I was wheezing like crazy for every step I took. Luckily the scenery allowed for lots of “photo breaks” where I could rest my hyperventilating lungs.

Second Lake

11,009 feet

The main part of our trip was a three-day backpack to Thousand Island Lake. Our original plan was to spend four days on/near the John Muir Trail, hiking a loop that would get us to all sorts of gorgeous lakes, but since most of those lakes were still frozen, we camped by Thousand Island and were content with rafting among the icebergs in the lake, doing a short dayhike to Garnet Lake, chatting up lots of Pacific Crest Trail thruhikers and photographing marmots.

Hideous Sierra hiking views

Rafting Thousand Island Lake

Yellow-bellied Marmot

Some marmots were more interested than others – this one came right up to the camera when Karen was trying to take our photo!

Muk Muk

(photo by Karen Crowe)

I absolutely loved this trip; the High Sierra is like miles and miles (and miles and miles) of the Enchantments, and I already want to go back. I’ve been wanting to hike all 211 miles of the John Muir Trail ever since I started hiking, so maybe I can convince JK that we need to do that next summer.

Trip report on

*ok, technically our first stop was a six-hour layover at a sketchy gas station where our rental car broke down and we were approached by an assortment of hillbillies and tweakers who wanted our candy. But let’s try to forget that part of the vacation.

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  • Reply Tracy July 14, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Great pictures, Ingunn! Looks like you are having a great time!!

  • Reply Jo July 15, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    A blog post already? You overachiever!! Guess I better start downloading my memory cards into the computer ;-P

  • Reply Sonia Mascaro July 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    What a great trip! Sounds you all had a wonderful time. Love these photos too.

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