Temple Crag, Second Lake, and Kurt
Wow! Really that is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about this trip. It was truly amazing. My first ever summertime backpacking trip really rocked my world. We went to an area called Big Pine Lakes to camp. This is a wonderful set of lakes some of which are fed by glacial waters from higher up. The glacial sediments suspended in the water make the water an incredible shade of blue. It’s just amazing to see.
Not a bad place to camp!
Along the banks of the North Fork of Big Pine Creek
From the trailhead, we hiked 6 miles or so to our camp at Third Lake. From here, at around 10,000 feet, we would camp and set out for the Palisades Glacier the next day.
Sunrise over Third Lake
Sam Mack Meadow
Sam Mack Meadow is a beautiful stopover on the way up to the glacier. We stopped here to take a few moments to refill our water supplies before heading on up. Elevation here is about 11,000 feet.
Sam Mack Meadow from above
First, Second and Third Lakes from above
As we climbed, we got a good view of First, Second and Third lakes (top to bottom in the above pic).
Snow at the base of Temple Crag's face
The Palisades Glacier
Finally, we got the view we were working towards. The Palisades Glacier. This glacier is the largest in the Sierras, and they are amongst the southernmost in North America. This was a truly breathtaking sight. Our view was from a ridge above the terminal lake at about 12,300 feet. We were essentially standing on the terminal moraine of the glacier when it extended much further.
Click on the above panorama for a larger version on flickr.
Above the Glacier are several 14,000 foot peaks (and some a little bit less), including North Palisade, Starlight Peak, Thunderbolt Peak, Mount Sill and Polemonium Peak. It’s a magnificent area.
North Palisade (left) and Starlight Peak
Sunrise reflections in Third Lake
I was really captivated by Temple Crag, which loomed above our campsite. I could probably spend a week photographing this single mountain.
Clouds casting shadows directly onto nearby Temple Crag
Temple Crag reflected in Third Lake
Finally, the Perseid Meteor Shower was happening at the time we were there, and I tried to capture a few of them while looking at the amazing Temple Crag.
Perseid Meteor over Temple Crag
It was an amazing trip. I hope to go back and explore the glacier up close, something our group voted not to do. It really was some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen with my own eyes.