loch leven lakes

It’s not often that I would hike the same place twice in two weeks. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve never done that before this weekend.  It ended up that way though, mostly because I don’t really pay attention to the emails I get. I just sorta skim them and then archive them away in Gmail after responding to them. Last weekend some of my old coworkers from CalPERS invited me to go on a day hike at Loch Leven Lakes, I agreed since it would be on my way back from Reno. I also had agreed to go backpacking at Upper Loch Leven with Dan this weekend. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I realized that both trips would be to the same place.

Loch Leven is a really popular place to backpack at. It’s easy to see why. It’s easy to get to, being right off of highway 80 before the summit. It’s not an especially difficult hike and the scenery is pretty nice, since it’s an alpine lake. For backpackers there are no permit hassles, and fires are allowed (with a fire permit which is easy to get). So it’s actually sort of crowded out on the trail on weekends.

I’ve been backpacking with these guys for several years now. Because of that I’ve seen lots of amazing scenery over the years.

Robert has been into geocaching lately. There were several geocaches on our route. This was one of them.

When he finds the geocache he opens it up and signs the logbook. I’ve heard about geocaching for a while now, but I actually never tried it. After seeing it, it actually seems kind of fun. I already have a trail gps, I just never bring it because it’s kind of a hassle to load up the topo maps and routes on it for these shorter trips, but if I can load up geocaches at the same time it might be worthwhile. We often get into camp really early and there’s not much to do, geocaching would be a good way to explore and kill some time before dinner.

There are three lakes at Loch Leven. I forget which one this is. They’re all about this size.

We got into camp early so I setup my hammock and took a nap. It’s pretty cool being able to set up camp so close to the lake. You can see them through the trees, just ignore my hairy drumsticks…

Right outside of camp, maybe about 15 feet away from my hammock we found this huge pile of crap. It had to be from a bear, I couldn’t think of anything that could make a pile this big… Even if I ate a buffet for three meals in a row I don’t think it would come out this big.

My dinner also looked like a pile of crap. Beef stew. Luckily I had some wine to flavor it.

I wrapped it in foil and tossed it onto the hot coals, hobo meal style. It came out pretty good.

The reflection off of the water in the evening was quite beautiful. I wish I had brought my SLR and wide angle lens, I think it would have been cool to get a shot of the entire lake reflecting the clouds in the sky.

In the morning we hiked out. I decided to try wearing my five finger shoes for the hike down. I figure if I could wear them on a rocky trail with a 30lb pack on my back, I could wear them anywhere…

There’s a point about a mile into the trail where you cross train tracks. I didn’t notice this last week, but there are a lot of railroad spikes out there, enough to write my name with them.

There’s one portion of the trail that’s a slick granite face. It’s hard to find the trail here, even though I had been here just a week earlier. I’m guessing this is what half dome will be like, a slick granite face, just longer and much much steeper. I’m really looking forward to it, just one month left…

This ended up being a fun short trip, even though I had been there just a week before it was still nice.

Things I’m thankful for:

  • beautiful scenery
  • backpacking and hiking buddies
  • sitting and chilling by the campfire
  • gps trackers

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