(click on pictures to expand)
Day 2 in the Sierras was the first of two “trail” days. For our first destination, we made it our goal to get to a place called Donkey Lake. To reach Donkey Lake we would have to climb to an elevation of 10,594 feet on a trail 5.2 miles long. The scouts are working on their hiking merit badge so the round trip would help them get one of their 10 mile hikes done (for the merit badge they have to do five 10 mile hikes).
We started our hike at Lake Sabrina where the trail head begins. The first thing that struck me was the wildlife. As soon as we got out of the car we saw a marmot.
I can only describe it as a cross between a prairie dog and a squirrel:
Not to be surpassed however was Lake Sabrina itself:
It was kind of daunting at this point to look up to that ridge in the background and know that you were going over it.
The first section of the trail was a relatively easy 1.3 miles that ran around Lake Sabrina. This afforded excellent views of Lake Sabrina and chances to see a lot of wild flowers:
At the end of this 500 ft. climb there was a big stream to cross. The only way you could cross it was by jumping across the rocks:
My hiking buddy Jerry did this just fine. I however fell on one of the rocks, got wet, and ended up with a big bruise on my knee. Not fun, but that is the way it goes.
The next section would prove to be the most difficult part of this hike. The second section was 2.5 miles and climb 1,500 to Blue Lake. It was very interesting to me how the topography changed in this section. It went from very woody to very rocky very fast:
It was very tiring, but as you can see from this picture it was worth it:
As stunning as that picture is, Blue Lake was not our final destination. We had lunch and continued climbing up to Donkey Lake. This section was 500 ft. higher, but the incline wasn’t as bad. The only problem was the trail which got kind of tricky to follow. Eventually, we did find it and this is what we saw:
You will notice in this picture that there are no trees. It was very stark, just water, ice, and rock. Another thing that you have to know is that it was about 90 degrees outside, which made the presence of snow that more striking. This of course was glacier ice and so it never really melts away. We fished some more at Donkey Lake and then made our way down.
The way down was interesting in itself. I am a big guy and the path was very rocky. It definitely wore on me after awhile. The switchbacks were the worst for me. I named this particular one “Lombard St.”:
Anyhow, I did eventually make it back. When we got back to camp I taught the boys how to make Ramen Chop Suey and Apple Cobbler in a Dutch Oven, it was really good after a long day of hiking.
Here is a little video of some of the sights I saw on this second day: