Monday, August 15, 2011

Crystal Basin Trip Report - Day 4 - 8/9/11

          I woke up early and headed down to the lake to watch sunrise. I just love the quiet morning hours when the majority of society is still asleep, before the collective thoughts of rambling souls fill the void of serenity.
          When I reached the lake there was a mysterious layer of tule fog hovering right above the waters surface. I watched as a couple set off in their canoe for a sunrise row. Again Wrights Lake was still as glass and the reflections were crystal clear.
          I waited patiently for the sun to arrive noticing that there wasn’t a mosquito in sight. Although another cloudless morning, the sunrise was beautiful nonetheless with the sun rising directly over the Crystal Range.
Sunrise over Wrights Lake and the Crystal Range

          I then walked along the shoreline taking photos of the foggy environment.

Foggy Reflections

          There were some young boys fishing off of the pier when I noticed the sun shining through the trees and a perfect reflection in the lake. I set up and took a few photos from the shore nearby and soon realized I was standing in prime fishing territory. The boys were patiently waiting for me to move on and once I realized what was going on I stepped back to watch them have fun. I was impressed these little guys were up so early and even more so that they were full of excitement. Almost as much excitement as myself!

Wrights Lake Reflection

Young Fisherman

          Once back at camp I checked in with Sarah to see about getting ready to go on a hike. Sarah’s symptoms had progressed throughout the night and she was now feeling really sick with an especially painful sore throat, horrible congestion, and next to no energy. I contemplated going on a solo hike but decided not to in hopes Sarah would feel a little better later on to join me. We had a very slow morning and eventually Sarah felt good enough to go on a small hike. We didn’t want to venture too far so we decided to hike to the Enchanted Pools along the Twin Lakes outlet creek.
          We rode our bikes the half mile to the Grouse/ Twin Lakes Trailhead. There we decided we wouldn’t need a Desolation Wilderness Permit as the Enchanted Pools lie just outside the wilderness boundaries and we didn’t plan on going any further. We continued on bike for another half mile as the flat trail wove through the forest along the edge of a giant meadow. We arrived at the junction with the Loop trail and the Grouse / Twin Lakes Trail where we locked our bikes to a tree just out of sight from the trail. Before locking up I did have to play around riding on the granite for a just a minute or two.

Riding the Granite

          We traveled up the Grouse Lake trail a short distance before heading cross country towards the Enchanted Pools. Although not on any map, the route to Enchanted Pools is pretty much a well defined trail. It is just the beginning of the trail that can be a little tricky to spot.
          We crossed over a small creek and began traversing across vast slabs of granite following the many trail ducks provided by previous hikers. Within several minutes of hiking we could hear the sound of rushing water and soon were looking down on the first of several Enchanted Pools. The upper pools seemed to be occupied by a family so we opted to remain at the lower pool. We sprawled out on the granite and took in the vibes.

Sarah Soaking Her Feet

Stone Circles and Enchanted Pools

          We were both surprised to see as many hikers as we did, but places like this are hard to remain hidden. Sarah’s energy levels were still quite low and we didn’t venture too far from the lower pool.

Lower Enchanted Pool

Lower Enchanted Falls

Lower Enchanted Falls

          I got a little carried away with the natural stone circles.

Looking Upstream

Same View Different Angle

Emerald Green Lower Enchanted Pool

Lower Enchanted Pool

          Several hours passed by in the blink of an eye. Sarah’s throat began to feel worse so we decided to head back to camp. Once we got back to the bikes and were pedaling through the flat forested area we concluded that having a bike for this section was most enjoyable.
Back at camp we battled with the mosquitoes and Sarah did the best she could to enjoy herself considering.
          We made an early dinner and afterwards I headed down to the lake again to watch sunset. From camp I rode my bike past the trail to the Amphitheater and then to the lake shore where I caught the sun setting behind the trees.

Sinking Sun over Wrights Lake

          I then pedaled over toward the rocky point at the day use area stopping for some vantage points along the way.

Crystal Range and Wrights Lake

          Again the mosquitoes were relentless but this time I had sufficient repellant on my hands. In fact, the mosquitoes were so prevalent that I had to swat them away from the lens before each exposure.

Last Light on the Crystal Range

          While my focus had been on the colorful mountains I soon realized the moon had risen without me even noticing.

Moonrise and Reflection in Wrights Lake

          I waited until the sky went dark, took a few more pictures, and then headed back to camp to have a late dinner.

After Sunset Colors

          Back at camp Sarah and I discussed our next days plan and agreed that she would stay at camp and rest while I went on a solo hike. I would leave before sunrise so I organized my stuff for an early departure.
          We had a small campfire before going to bed.

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