After thoroughly exhausting ourselves at Mammoth on Saturday – and neglecting the mutt, who spent the day lounging on her double mattress bed in the back of the truck – we felt a ‘moderate’ hike was in order on Sunday. So we headed north to Virginia Lakes trailhead, located at a very cool 9,800 feet. It had been years since I last checked this trail out, and remembered lots of lakes, and a pass. While the pass is unnamed in our Tom Harrison map, the lakes are – Blue, Cooney and Frog(s)…among others further in.
The trail itself provides a lot of bang for the buck. Pretty lakes? Check. Awesome vistas? Got those too.
There’s even a random abandoned cabin on the trail whose provenance is curious – old mining place? Tired hiker? A bandit’s hideout?
Cabin on the Virginia Lakes trail
The pass-with-no-name quickly drops about 1,000 feet to a junction where you can either head up to Summit Lake or down to Hoover Lakes. Due to time we decided to head back, but we’re already thinking about coming back and doing it as a car shuttle, perhaps in the autumn when the leaves change.
Summit lake from afar
In a fit of ‘let’s hike somewhere new’, we decided to try and new (and ambitious, as we learned) trail in the Hoover Wilderness. The Lundy Canyon trail is located at the far end of Lundy Canyon, near Mono Lake. It’s a gorgeous canyon, all red rock and aspens, and especially colorful in the autumn. The trail itself follows a creek up the canyon, passing waterfalls and wildflowers galore, and then climbs steeply up a scree slope, switchbacking some 2,000 feet. At the top the trail meets up with the 20 Lakes Basin trail, a scenic 6 mile loop that wends its way past numerous alpine lakes, with view of Mt. Conness at every turn.
Signs at the Lundy trailhead indicated that the scree slope moves and warned that the trail isn’t always clear. What the sign neglected to mention was that in some places there *is* no trail, requiring trepidatious hikers to scramble up and down unstable scree. After watching N and the dog kick down some smallish rocks, I decided that I did not need to continue up to the top of this slope, as I knew of a less dangerous way to access the 20 Lakes Basin trail. So we backtracked, passing a number of hikers who didn’t realize what lay ahead, and then drove up Tioga Pass to Saddlebag Lake where we accessed the rest of the hike. All in all we cut out about 2 miles, but it was trail worth missing in my book.
It’s a wonder that we’ve taught her to heel and sit, frankly.