On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Last Christmas, my step-daughter expressed an interest in hiking in the eastern Sierra after seeing my shots from Big Pine Creek. I suggested that Little Lakes Valley would be a better first hike. She thought May would be a good time to hike up there, I thought that would be a bit early. That was before our very, very wet winter.
At the beginning of June, I decided to do a recon mission hike up Little Lakes Valley. The road was closed at the Pack Station near Rock Creek Lake which is a little over a mile from the normal trailhead. I hiked up the road to the trailhead and only saw a few patches of asphalt in the snow. Rock Creek was still mostly covered in ice and snow.
Once past the trailhead, the trail became difficult to follow, I had to rely on tracks left by other hikers and cross-country skiers. I did get off the trail at one point and had to hike up a hill to get back to the trail. My goal was to hike to Heart Lake, about a 2 1/2 mile hike from where I’d parked. Since I didn’t have microspikes, hiking was a bit slow and so I headed back after reaching Heart Lake.
I shared the results of my recon mission with Jinsun when we got together for a belated Father’s Day dinner and she agreed that it would be a good idea to wait until the road had opened to the trailhead to make the hike(it is still only open to the pack station as of late June).
All shots were taken with the Sony A7iv.
The end of the road, for now. The Sun has just come up and it is time to start hiking the mile to the trailhead.
This is the trailhead. The parking lot was covered in snow.
The trail starts off following Rock Creek, this portion was not covered in ice and snow. The trail heads up that hill, I think. This is the first clear view of the mountains at the southern end of the valley.
Heading over the hill with Mack Lake to the left. This is where I got off the trail a bit and found myself at Mack Lake and knew that I shouldn’t actually be walking at its shoreline and had to hike up the hill to rejoin the trail.
I arrived at Marsh Lake. I shot here last Fall when I traveled up to the valley for Fall color. There are a lot of plant life growing from the bottom of the lake, there was no evidence of that now.
The next lake is Heart Lake, it is shaped like a heart. Normally these lakes are surrounded by meadows, but I stayed close to the trees since I didn’t really know where the shoreline was due to the snow.
I decided to turn back after reaching Heart Lake, it was my goal, and return to my car. This was right next to my car; it looked like a statue in a little ice cave.
As I started back down the hill to US395, I stopped at Rock Creek Lake. It is a bit lower in elevation and the ice had partially melted on the water surface.