Friday, August 17, 2018

Genevieve And Dorothy Lakes Two Nights

Dale Matson

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Dorothy Lake

This hike started as so many of my other multiday adventures, with a day hike recon to Genevieve Lake last fall.
         There are two ways to get there with most folks climbing up the Convict Creek Trail from Convict Lake. The former bridge at the confluence of Genevieve Creek and Convict Creek is washed out. This makes for a dangerous crossing when the water is running fast and deep.
The other way I took both times, was the Jeep trail up Laurel Canyon which is a white knuckle four-mile drive to the trailhead. My trusty 2017 Tahoe 4X4 hauled five adults and camping gear up this one-hour boulder field. Buyer beware. A Fresno doctor perished falling off this road in 2015.

Hike In To Genevieve Lake

         It is about 4 miles to Genevieve Lake from the trailhead (elevation 9,910) which is not marked. See my previous posting. It is surprising how well this trail holds up despite the fact that it is seldom used. We could see Convict Lake far below us from the trail. It is generally easy to get wilderness permits for this route. There was still some smoke from the Ferguson Fire but it was not evident when we got near Genevieve Lake.
         As soon as we got to Genevieve Lake, we set up our tents which was a good thing since a horrible thunderstorm rolled in with heavy rain and hail. We cancelled our afternoon hike to Edith Lake. There was zero time between the lightning flashes and thunder. After about two hours the rain subsided. We slept well that night and awakened to a cloudless sky and 53-degree morning.
         Our plan was to remain camped at Genevieve Lake and day hike to Dorothy Lake after breakfast. I had gotten within sight of Dorothy Lake on my fall day hike before we turned around to hike back to my truck. Finally, I would see the lake that was the major reason for me to be in this area again. This is not to sell short Lake Genevieve below the colorful Mt. Morrison.

Hike To Dorothy Lake

         I used the USGS Topo map that I had gone by previously. There are plenty of other maps but they do not show the route we took. There is a trail on the map and we followed it. It accurately depicted the trail on the ground. It was about four miles round trip with some climbing and descent.
         Dorothy Lake was an amazing sight With Red Slate Mountain (13,140’) most prominent. The three ladies did their customary brief dive into the cold waters of the lake. This water was not for me!
         We made our way back and like the previous day an afternoon storm rolled in and lasted about two hours. It made the air crystal clear. The women then did an afternoon hike to Edith Lake. I was too tired to participate. It had been hard the last month to get the exercise I needed because of the smoky air in the Central Valley.
         The next morning, we had a leisurely breakfast, broke camp and began climbing back out of Genevieve Lake. The initial part was the most difficult and steep until we began the switchbacks. It was a slow cautious drive back to the pavement. I drove up and Carlos drove down. We had a fire detour back through Yosemite and had to return via Highway 140 to Mariposa, then Highway 49 to Oakhurst and 41 down to Fresno.
Dorothy Lake is about the same size as Convict Lake and even more beautiful. Of all the lakes I have seen in the Sierra Nevada my favorite two were formerly East and Reflection Lakes near each other in Kings Canyon south of Junction Meadow. To me the two most beautiful lakes are now Dorothy and Genevieve Lakes. I am grateful that at age 73 I am still able to see these wonderful sights in the Sierra.

 Carlos With Super Pack
 Only Indication You Are At The Beginning Of The Trail

 Convict Lake Far Below

 Genevieve lake

 Mt. Morrison And Thompson On Right

 Dorothy Lake
 Cool Dip In The Lake

 Breakfast - Carlos, Carol, Christina And Sharon

 Red Slate Mountain Center
 Hike Route
 Tahoe Below With Laurel Lake Center
Dale With Sony A7R3 and 16-35mm 2.8 GM Lens

A YouTube video of this hike can be found here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Cabin Fever In The Summer

Dale Matson

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Sunrise In Smoke 

“Awahanee, CA, August 1, 2018 - The Ferguson Fire now in its 20th day, started July 13 on the Sierra National Forest and is managed under unified command between the United States Forest Service, California Interagency Incident Management Team 4, CALFIRE and the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. Much of the fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain with little to no access roads. Mandatory and advisory evacuations are in place in several areas but no homes have been damaged or destroyed.

The fire is now 62,883 acres with 39% containment and 3,558 personnel that are currently engaged on the fire which include 203 engines, 43 water tenders, 14 helicopters, 95 crews, 5 masticators and 62 dozers. There has been 2 fatalities and 9 injuries to date. 1 structure has been destroyed.

The high-pressure system above the fire is weakening which will result in warmer and drier conditions. With lower winds speeds and the inversion layer forecasted to lift by midday, residents are likely to see taller smoke columns than they are used to seeing.”

The smoke from this fire has penetrated the Central Valley and where I live in Fresno. Today the Air Quality Index is 152 (unhealthy). We are also about to break the number of consecutive days of triple digit heat here in Fresno (over 20).

This combination of heat and air quality is the summer equivalent to what I experienced in Wisconsin for many years only it was the winter there that posed such challenges. We were captives of our furnaces and by the time spring rolled around, we had had it up to here with cold and snow. Lots of folks there went south for the winter or at least a couple of weeks. Here, we are captives of our air conditioners.

This smoke has been difficult for many and I pity the fire fighters who have to work in such heat and heavy smoke. How have I handled this oppressive heat and smoke? Not well. It is pretty much a matter of hunkering down until the conditions improve.

I wear a mask when I walk my dogs and give them shorter walks. They have to breath this air too. I walk on a treadmill and use an exercycle at an indoor fitness center. I have done some outdoor swimming but shortened my routines.

We went to Cambria on the coast for a couple of day and enjoyed freezing in clear air. Fresnans are not used to this kind of foggy cold. We went to the eastside of the Sierra for a few days and hiked on trails early in the morning with high elevation trailheads to stay comfortable.

Having lived in the Midwest for much of my life, I can say that those folks are not sympathetic to our plight. They think we are all crazy to live here. Maybe we are. Like the Midwest, I still carry chains in the winter since we are only an hour from the mountains but that is where the comparison ends.

Do I have any suggestions for Governor Brown on what to do about this spate of annual summer wildfires? No.