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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lower Sunset, Tamarack and Lost Lakes - "an encounter with a naked man"

 Our camp next to Lower Sunset Lake. The mosquitoes were intense around sundown.
 We paddled to the opposite side of the lake and explored the shoreline.
 Both of us admired the gnarly nature of this old tree.
 But I was curious about the story behind this burned section and the cable marks.
 Dawn at Lower Sunset Lake with Jeff Davis Peak rising in the distance. I haven't climbed this Jeff Davis Peak but did summit the one in Great Basin National Park, Nevada’s third-highest mountain.
 It was so quiet at Sunset Lake that one could hear the geese landing on the water in a splashing touchdown.
 The sound of the geese landing in the early morning, disturbing her sleep, so enraged Jan that she grabbed a shotgun, paddled into the lake and shot one of the birds out of the sky. Okay, just kidding, that caption was written to check if Jan was really proofreading our blog.
 After investigating several other lakes in the area we drove on to Tamarack Lake.
 The other lakes were low but the water at Tamarack Lake was still high. Just before dinner Jan walked a trail down to the dam. She returned sooner than I expected. Her walk was cut short by an encounter with a naked man hiking. Jan did not invite the naked hiker to join us for dinner.
 Early the next morning the eastern face of Jeff Davis Peak was bathed by the early light of a rising sun. Looking at California's Jeff Davis Peak caused me to reflect on my descent from Nevada's JDP. 'Back in 2004, on our way home after spending three weeks bagging twenty-eight 12, 13 and 14'ers in Colorado, Jan and I hiked to the summit of Wheeler Peak. I decided to cross the col over to JDP's summit while Jan returned down the trail to camp. The traverse to JDP was an easy scramble but the descent off the peak is seared into my memory. A tremendous thunderstorm had formed over the two peaks during my traverse to JDP. About 10 minutes after I left the summit lightning began to crack overhead and the clouds released a torrent of rain. Twenty minutes later hail began to fall. The hail grew in size with each passing minute. Just when it appeared that I was going to be beaten to death by this unusually large frozen precipitation, it eased off. My relief about this change in the weather didn't last long as lightning began to strike the mountain. In a short period of time I witnessed three strikes on the mountainside. One that struck less than a football field away really got my attention. The sound of the thunder was deafening but the sharp sizzling crack of the lightning made my skin crawl.  I am not ashamed to admit that I prayed my way off of Jeff Davis Peak and was relieved to reach the treeline. Once below the treeline gigantic soft flakes of snow began to fall. When I met Jan, with our truck, at the Bristlecone/Glacier Trailhead she calmly asked if I had noticed the lovely and peaceful winter wonderland that surrounded us. A second later I heard a muffled boom of thunder behind me. "Yes", I said, "peaceful, very peaceful." Two hours later we were 5,000 feet lower, in the summer heat and headed for home.' 
Back to dawn at Tamarack: Sometimes the water in a lake is flat with barely a ripple but this morning the water truly was like glass.
 The air was a dead calm and there wasn't a ripple on the surface. Jan said, "The lake was like a mirror."
 Just the right amount of clouds in the sky.
 Later in the morning we met a federal water master who was on his way to open a valve and send the waters of Tamarack Lake down stream.
 We paddled this lovely lake several times during our stay.
 These geese followed me as I walked down to the dam. Had other people fed them and were they looking for a handout?
 Leaving Tamarack Lake.
 We moved on to Blue Lakes but found the campgrounds crowded so we drove up the dirt road to Lost Lakes. My forest service topo map showed this road as the old Blue Lakes Road. Camper top only partially popped up to achieve better irradiance from the late afternoon sun.
 This 'lost lake' seems to have misplaced some H2O.
 When researching our trip the photos I found of this lake were spectacular.
 Next time we will visit before the lake is drained.
 I hiked up to the higher of the two Lost Lakes and found that it held more water than its neighbor.
 Hiking past this stump on the way back to camp I remembered something that my grandfather taught me back in the early 60's. Whenever we were at a lake where the water was low he would encourage me to look for lost lures.
 Found this one hanging on the second stump I checked.
 Upon leaving Lost Lakes we drove higher on the dirt road eventually crossing Forestdale Divide.
 On the divide we met two guys who came up to ski the last of the snow.
Descending the Forestdale Divide Road and headed for pavement.

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