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Our original plan for this trip had been to camp at Convict Lake, but when we realized we would need to be somewhere with decent cell phone reception, we had to abandon that. So after leaving VA Lakes we very much wanted to make sure we got a chance to stop at Convict Lake to explore.
To quote Wikipedia: Convict Lake is “situated in the Sherwin Range of the Sierra Nevada. It is known for its turquoise-blue water, the dramatic mountains (including Mount Morrison) that surround it, the trout fishing it affords, and its unusual history. The lake was renamed from its traditional Mono name by American settlers after an incident on September 23, 1871, in which a group of convicts escaped from prison in Carson City, Nevada, and took refuge near the lake. They were pursued by a posse, and after it caught up to the convicts, a shootout followed, in which a number of both posse members and convicts were killed or wounded. The remaining convicts who survived initially escaped but were eventually captured to be taken back to prison but were lynched instead.”
We arrived at CL fairly late in the day but hoped we would have time to do the legendary Convict Lake Loop before dark. It was in the high-70’s and quite warm in the sun, but the lake was lovely and streaked with traces of aspen gold along the mountainsides.
I picked the wrong day to wear a dark blue shirt. In the sun, I was roasting even though it wasn’t super-hot. There were a decent number of people on the first portion of the loop but as we went further, much fewer.
A brief stop in some much-needed shade to enjoy the view of the beautiful water and aspen groves across the lake.
Finally some steady shade as we reach the far west side of the lake and sunset begins. Around the start of the Mildred Lake/Dorothy Lake Trailhead there is a wooden boardwalk that extends for a couple hundred yards through the boggy terrain.
And we were finally in the aspens as the boardwalk passes through a substantial grove that was just beginning to turn. It was also approaching dusk so we were on high alert for any possible bear encounters.
As we get to the SouthEast side of the loop we had spectacular views of a small beach, aspen groves and the mountains. The mountains around the lake are HUGE and steep and quite impressive, in person.
Another great view as we near the end of the loop just as it’s getting dark.
We had briefly visited Wit-sa-nap/Convict Lake a couple times before, and knew all about their amazing restaurant (one of the best in the Sierra) but had never gotten close and into it. We really loved it and definitely hope to go back and camp there in the future.
Stick around for the final installment which will finally get into some serious Fall Color.