Saturday, June 25, 2022

Bishop Pass, Inyo National Forest, CA

Hiked July 5, 2021. As with my previous post, this was from nearly a year ago. The day after I hiked to Upper Lamarck Lake, in fact.

I did this hike the first time back in grad school. I can't recall the exact year, but I'm thiking the early 1990s. Obviously I was younger, and in better shape. But I built up my endurance some last spring, and did a number of pretty serious hikes by the time I got to July. With the warmup of the previous day, I was pretty confident about being able to do this hike ,again.

The trail starts from South Lake, one of several "lakes" (actually reservoirs) above Bishop. AllTrails gives the distance as about ten miles and 2,300 feet of elevation gain. It's definitely a tough one.

As with all of these Bishop lakes, there are numerous hiking options from each lake. No wilderness permit is required for a dayhike.

Despite being early July, there wasn't a lot of remaining snow on the mountains, but the streams linking each sequence of the lakes in the canyon were still running nicely.

With the many options, one decision point for me was at the Chocolate Lake/Bull Lake turnoffs. About halfway to Bishop Pass, I had the option of bailing on my full distance and looping back around a series of lakes at lower altitude. But I felt strong at this point and decided to continue.

The lakes I passed were as picturesque as I remembered Some wildflowers along the lakes and creeks, but actually not as much as I thought I might see for being so early in the season.

Still, lots of green grass in the small meadows near the lakes.

The waters were clear, and I could see many fish in the small creeks and lake waters. Looked like brook trout, with the distinctive white fin edges.

The long final climb to the pass was long and hard. No shade as you climb above treeline, either.

I took plenty of pictures, both with my dslr and my phone. Made it easy to compare to my maps later to match up lakes with names.

The actual panorama from Bishop Pass was less expansive than I recalled. Not entirely shocking, as, despite being at nearly 12,000 feet, it's a pass, so naturally the mountains on either side rise much higher.

Continued shooting like crazy, and resting up a bit, rehydrating, before heading back down. While at the pass, I could see several hikers on either side of the pass.

One of the amazing things I learned from one of the hikers is that some locals make a day out of running between North Lake and South Lake, via a 50+ mile, roughly 10,000 verticle feet gain trail that links the two trais. That would explain that I saw a few women run past me on the way up, but did not get passed by the on the way back down. Oh, they could have gone to a different lake, of course, but they may have been making this crazy run, instead.

On the decent, I came across several pockets of what I assume to be desert bighorn bones. I presume a small herd got caught in a snowslide or something. There were quite a lot of bones in a pretty small area.

Passed the same lakes, creeks, and meadows in reverse order, all the way to the part above South Lake. At some point, I passed a family with kids, making their way back to their car. They were picnicing just above the lake. To me, this was "almost back," and I was feeling pretty happy, having passed the point of "Having fun" and reached the "Man, I'm beat, and can't wait to get to my car." But they had taken a much shorter walk, and were trying to coax their kids back and didn't feel at all like they were "nearly back." Funny difference in perspective, there, based on where we had started and where we had been, that day.

No comments:

Post a Comment