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Friday, September 1, 2017

Convict Canyon Day Hike


Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge
Convict Lake

Our original intent was to reach Lakes Mildred and Dorothy on a day hike. One would think that by the end of August we could cross the confluence of Convict Creek and the outlet of Genevieve Lake. As it turned out, we turned back at the sight of such a turbulent cascade. We sat there for lunch and I couldn’t help thinking how easy the crossing would have been if the washed out footbridge were still there. It wasn’t and we were not young and spry enough to risk crossing. We only had daypacks too. I can’t even imagine risking the crossing with a heavy pack. I sent a trail “conditions” e-mail to the folks at the White Mountain Ranger Station in Bishop when I got back home with an attached photo of the crossing. There are YouTube videos posted on the crossing dangers at the beginning of August.
Since this was the case I will report on our hike beginning at the day use area on the south side of Convict Lake. Every posting I have read states the hike to Mildred Lake is five miles one way and the hike to Dorothy Lake is 6 miles one way. That is correct BUT the trailhead is at the northeast corner of Convict Lake making it a hike of a mile before you actually get to the trailhead sign no matter where you start from. Additionally for those like us who start where we did, the boardwalk, which crosses Convict Creek at the inlet to Convict Lake, is partially washed away and you will have to ford a portion of the creek. We did have water shoes with us, which we used sooner than we planned but not where we planned later on.
Our trip was 9.5 miles round trip with about 2,000’ of altitude gain overall. We were out for about 7.5 hours with a start temperature of 44 degrees. Most of the climb is exposed and the return was hot. We experienced very few mosquitos. The last water before the climb is at the lake with the creek far below most of the climb. The best access to water after that is by the washed out bridge.
We met four young folks with backpacks on the way up as we were headed down. They planned on using a rope. I have no idea how they could make use of the rope but hope they crossed safely.
It was still a good day of exercise with beautiful color in the canyon. Mt. Morrison was especially colorful. We explored another route along the Laurel Creek Trail. The first mile in my 4X4 truck was enough exploration to make me think twice about this option. Maybe mid October will be better with less water in the creeks.

Hike Route
 Sharon and Annie




 Putting Shoes Back On
 This Section Needed To Be Forded

 Actual Trailhead

 Convict Creek

 Looking Back










 Colorful Mt. Morrison






 Too Much Water To Cross










Here is a YouTube video made of additional photographs and video clips

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