Parker Lake (Eastern Sierra, CA) 06-Sep-2022

Months before we (finally) decided to move to Minnesota, we had made plans to do two big trips in California’s Sierra Nevada with our friends Wayne and Diane. In August, we completed the first of these – a passel of dayhikes from a basecamp at June Lake, CA.

This month we went back to complete the second big trip – a mule-supported hike on the John Muir Trail between Red’s Meadow and Tuolumne Meadows. As an acclimatization prelude to this trip, we did a couple of dayhikes in the vicinity of Mammoth Lakes.

Our first acclimatization hike was an out-and-back to Parker Lake just off the June Lake Loop Road (State Highway 158). It’s a very popular and easy hike (3.8 miles (6.1 km) roundtrip, with just 540 feet (165 m) of gain).

We got a moderately early start in the cool of the morning on a day with perfect hiking weather 😎 and had the lake to ourselves for an hour or so. It provided some of us with the opportunity for a very, very invigorating (i.e., very, very cold 🥶) swim.

On the way back, we passed a dozen or so folks sweating their way up to the lake in the noontime sun. Overall, a very good hike to a beautiful lake with no one much feeling the altitude. 😁

Up from the trailhead through sagebrush
At the wilderness boundary
Mt. Wood, Ansel Adams Wilderness, CA
More sagebrush, with Mount Wood in the distance
Parker Creek, Ansel Adams Wilderness, CA
Parker Creek
A few magnificently huge Ponderosa pines remain
Parker Lake, California
Parker Lake with Mount Wood (L) and Mount Lewis (R)
Cold people in Parker Lake
Rocking the waters
Heading back
Mono Lake, CA
Almost back to the trailhead with Mono Lake in the distance

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