Daily Totals: 6.25 miles, 4,215 feet of elevation gain
Amy and I were both excited to be heading back into the Sierras this weekend for a fall backpacking trip to finish out the year. We set the alarm for 4:15 am hoping to be on the road around 4:30. After a quick stop at Starbucks for some caffeine we were on the road at 4:45. We were greeted by an amazing sunrise over the desert just outside of Mojave and it was smooth sailing up to Bishop, CA. We are headed up to Italy Pass into the John Muir Wilderness. We rolled into Bishop around 8:45 and headed over to the Great Basin Bakery for breakfast. We got there and had a huge croissant breakfast sandwich followed by a large homemade cinnamon roll. Definitely recommend this place if you are ever going through Bishop. After breakfast we stopped by the Bishop Ranger Station and picked up our wilderness permit. Then it was off to the trailhead by Rovana which is just north of Bishop. We were parked and ready to start our trip by 10:15.
We were greeted by a steady climb all day which we knew was coming but were happy to see all of the fall colors. We ran into a few day hikers but we were alone most of the day. The early rise after being up late for volleyball practice had me feeling lethargic and Amy was still trying to fight off a cold, so neither of us had a ton of energy for the climb up the mountain. At about 9,300 feet we started to see sign of snow which was still lingering around after the previous week’s storms.
On this trip we are using our new mini-Sawyer water filters which definitely are great for speeding up water refills. All we need to do is fill up our bottle from the current water source and then screw on the filter, which we drink straight from, and wallah we have fresh filtered mountain water. We both loved the convenience of the filter and think it will become our normal choice for filtering water.
Stopping for our breaks we could tell we needed some energy as we still had 4 miles to go but we both were almost dozing off while we sat there. We reached Pine Creek Lake which was our first alpine lake and immediately made us realize why we love the High Sierras so much. This lake is beautiful and was a perfect spot to stop for lunch and refuel. After lunch we were feeling a little better and it was off to Honeymoon Lake which was the camp for night one.
We got to Honeymoon Lake around 3:00 and found a great spot to set up camp over looking the lake. It even came equipped with a bench and foot rest built out of the granite. We had a warm dinner to help fight off the dropping temps as the sun disappeared over the mountains. The lake is beautiful but it was getting really cold and it was only 5:30. With sunrise at 6:30 am it meant we were going to have a long night in the tent.
Looking forward to heading up to Italy Pass tomorrow.