We had five days, so after meeting up with an ex graduate student living in LA in postcode 90210 we drive five hours north. Packing equipment for -15 degrees, the first day is over 40! But we are greeted with this
After camping on a huge rock with panoramic views, we head past Bear Paw (where for $350 you can use a tent provided and have a shower, at least if you have booked long in advance). We shun this outpost of civilization on the trail and head for Hamilton Lake, where we have possibly the finest imaginable campsite:
Its thirsty work, and we are forever pumping water:
The view from the campsite at dusk is gorgeous:
On the next day we climb about a thousand meters to a pass high above the lake, where we find Precipice Lake, made famous by Ansel Adams
Then we get to look down into Nine Lakes Valley, one of the biggest vallyes of glacial tarns anywhere:
The next day it's back on the track for a couple of days to walk out. This kind of scenery is with you the whole way:
On the last day, one of the party comes within a meter of a Black Bear. The guide books say 150 foot is the closest safe distance! We re-approach the area, and walk past together singing and brandishing bear spray and stones. We imagine the bear is scared off (this is the approved technique by the way) but as we look back the bear is in the raspberries, and we had walked all walked right past its snout.
But we all survived!
For these pictures in high res and more from the trip, go here