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Re: TR: A nice little valley south of Mammoth! 4/14-4/16

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TR: A nice little valley south of Mammoth! 4/14-4/16
April 21, 2017 05:23PM
Hello all!

So for the birthday weekend I decided I wanted to squeeze in one last snow trip before it became too hot. Since the significant other wanted to see some snow covered lakes, we opted for a nice 2 night/3 day trip to Little Lakes Valley. The plan was to depart from the snopark and set up camp halfway to the LLV. We would dayhike the rest of the way up.

Seeing that the forecast was calling for some wind and the sensors were reading high 30mph winds, we opted to take our 4-season tents this time around. After packing everything last minute thursday night, we left for the Bishop at around 5am and arrived at the White Mountain Ranger Station 4-5 hours laters. I must say, Ranger Stanley is absolutely the most friendly ranger I have ever met! If you're ever around in Bishop, be sure to stop by to say hi!

After getting our permits and snopark passes, we drove north for another 40 minutes to arrive the Rock Creek snopark (East Fork campground). Thankfully the forecast was off as it was a nice and bright sunny day. We could hear some wind but it wasn't hitting the area we were in.

We got on the trail around 2pm and found that the road crews were able to plow about a quarter of mile to the rock creek cabin so that was somewhat nice. According to them, it would probably take them another 2-3 weeks to reach the Lodge and eventually the lake.

Walking down the plowed road in what felt like 60F+. Though it was nicer walking on solid ground, it felt scorching hot! For once, I felt like walking on snow would be better...Thankfully the snow wasn't too far away

After a slow and grueling 3.5 mile uphill we were awarded with a nice view of the snow-covered Rock Creek Lake and the Lodge

After going alittle bit further, we found a nice campsite and called it a night after enjoying some Chili Mac and Hot chocolate. It was about 11F with some mild wind when we went to sleep but we felt pretty toasty.

Woke up around 6am (sun was already out) and started our day off by having some pancakes, hashbrowns, bacon, and coffee!

After a quick clean up, we got on our way. There was a ton of snow!

Someone decided to have fun with an ice "weapon"

Ran into some areas where the exposed creek provided fresh awesome tasting high sierra water!

We decided to take our lunch break around one of the exposed creek areas

After enjoying some cliff bars... and a lot of M&Ms we continued on our merry way to the Valley

Some more grueling uphills to go. By now we were all pretty tired. The hike out the day before was tough. In summer, a 1200 feet gain wouldn't have been an issue but with snowshoes on...yea we were running on fumes

BUT....the view made it all worth it

Ashley was loving the view

For me....I was a bit too knackered to be enjoying it. However, I did enjoy a nice 20 minute nap on some warm rocks!

During our break, we noticed that some butterfly had been following us since the last uphill section... we weren't sure how the thing had survived out here

After enjoying the view for a few more minutes, we opted to head down to the snow covered Mack Lake and head back to camp

Our good friend Wei standing on top of Mack Lake

Ashley trying to reach the lake...

We did run into another group heading back. According to them, they were coming from the snopark and we're trying to reach Mack Lake. They sure looked knackered as they were not expecting the extra 3.5 miles added to their trip as the road hadn't been plowed to rock creek lake (Trip then was 7.2ish miles for them).

We eventually made it back to camp and Wei dug out a pretty nice kitchen

Cooked up some Thai Curry w/ chicken and Veggies + Hot choco

Was about to call it a night but we decided that after a hard days hike, we deserved more food...we ended up cooking our extra dinner meal and Had Thai Curry + Chili Mac.
While cooking up our extra meal, some clouds and wind moved in and we thought oh crap here's the wind/bad weather that was forecasted.

Luckily the wind never got too bad but the temperatures did drop down to about 8F. Now I'm not sure what happened but I think as a result of eating 2 dinner meals, our bodies were releasing a huge amount of heat. We actually overheated and had to vent our 0F sleeping bags!

The next morning we woke up pretty early to catch the sunrise (wasn't able to get any good shots of it).

Made some bacon bfast burritos and coffee

Dried up the gear
20170416_071906 by kevin do, on Flickr

Then spent quite sometime digging out all the snow anchors...Thanks to the melt/freeze cycle, it took quite a bit of effort to get em all out. We were finally able to pack up and hit the trail by 10:30 and reached the car by 1.
On our way out, we noticed this strange small clouds that had a rainbow effect around their edges. These clouds were incredibly bright compared to the other more "normal" ones. The camera wasn't really able to catch the rainbows.

Short but enjoyable trip. The views on the way home were awesome! Lots of snow on the Eastern Sierra and even some on the Panamint range.
Definitely a great last "snow" trip for the year!
Re: TR: A nice little valley south of Mammoth! 4/14-4/16
April 21, 2017 05:42PM
Nice work!

We're just back from two weeks in Europe--business, I swear!--and once we get settled again, we're looking to poke around a bit ourselves....


follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Re: TR: A nice little valley south of Mammoth! 4/14-4/16
April 21, 2017 06:06PM
In Alaska we have the rainbow effect in the winter quite a bit. We call them "sundogs".
avatar Re: TR: A nice little valley south of Mammoth! 4/14-4/16
April 25, 2017 09:07AM
Excellent! Thanks for sharing!
avatar Re: TR: A nice little valley south of Mammoth! 4/14-4/16
April 25, 2017 11:22AM
kewel beans

tanks fur sharon

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: TR: A nice little valley south of Mammoth! 4/14-4/16
April 25, 2017 06:13PM
Loved it!!

Bummed right now as I recover and rest my foot.. So *love* seeing the pics of the snow!!

Thank you!!!
Re: TR: A nice little valley south of Mammoth! 4/14-4/16
April 25, 2017 09:18PM
Oh no! What happened to your foot??
Re: TR: A nice little valley south of Mammoth! 4/14-4/16
April 27, 2017 05:33PM
Sorry for delay, v busy preparing for weekend.. again.

We r gonna try to get into Kings Canyonn proper this weekend. Basilbop, Mrcondron, Chick-on and I will hopefully be joined by my friend and her two young daughters.

Because of the foot, I'm "forced" to car camp and do little day hikes. I've also enjoyed helping the guys (basilbop and chick-on) get their TQ done! Much of Chick-on's work in the Giant Forest, I've done already, but I am falling behind elsewhere in the parks. But they did promise to do bits over again with me. And it's actuallygoing to be helpful for them to know what's what to ensure I'm not biting off more than I can chew as I recover...

So the injury... years ago now originally sprained my right foot plantar fascia with a jump on talus heading to Conness. New shoes (Merrill Moab Ventilators) were not stiff enough and my foot bent oddly. Took months to fully recover. I wear stiffer trail runner type mids now (mostly Salomon, though I loved everything about my LaSportiva Ultra Raptors except the toe box.).

Flash forward to this winter, on one of the snowshoeing day hikes out of the John Muir Lodge, stepped off the road onto snow with the intention of snowshoeing up. Broke through he snow crust and stretched the plantar fascia again. Slight rubber-band feeling.. anyway, was concerned, but not much issue and snowshoed... knew had to take easier, and it was squeaky mornings again... and I was rolling and stretching and icing it, but... it was on the Middle Fork trip a couple of weeks ago, on the day going up the river, with all the weight (carrying winter kit as we planned to go high) and the distance.. well... by the end of the day it was screamy. Day hiked the next day with a little bit of snowshoeing, and hiked out third day. It was pissed at me. I had done too much.

Haven't carried weight since. More therapy. More rest. Doing the car camping thing while recovering. Gonna swim and cycle to try to keep cardio levels up.

It's already better and I can walk a few Mike's without it screaming anymore. But that's still a far cry from pain free backpacking over rough terrain for many miles a day. But I'm being careful, have lots I want to do!!

Good thing there are a lot of trails to do where overnight backpacking is not really helpful!

The guys have been great, and mrcondron has been able to join us recently too, which is great!!!

And I love reading trip reports from others!! Please keep them coming!!

And thank you for your concern and your fabulous trip report!
avatar Re: TR: A nice little valley south of Mammoth! 4/14-4/16
April 26, 2017 08:53PM
Great to see conditions around Little Lakes. Thanks for another great report.
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