loch leven again

This weekend I went backpacking at Loch Leven Lakes. It’s a pretty easy and short hike, at least as far as backpacking trips go– under 10 miles round trip. It’s also an easy trip to plan for, since permits aren’t required and because it’s so easy to get to, right off of highway 80.

I had invited a ton of people on this trip, but in the end it ended up being just the guys that I normally backpack with, Dan and Robert. We have a picture at this exact same spot from last year the only difference is that Johnny’s missing this time around.

The trail starts out with a rocky climb, then crosses the bridge in the previous picture. It then crosses over railroad tracks before climbing up the forested hill in the background of this picture. The Loch Leven Lakes are on the other side of that forested hill.

Train crossing.

After climbing up and over that forested hill, there’s a short descent down to the first lake. Lower Loch Leven Lake.

The trail continues alongside the lake for a bit and then brings you to middle Loch Leven Lake.

Middle Loch Leven Lake. In my opinion it’s the nicest of the three lakes.

The trail continues alongside middle Loch Leven Lake and then dumps you off in a dry rocky area. There’s a bit of a climb to get to the upper Loch Leven Lake.

Our destination. High Loch Leven Lake. Elevation 6920. I think it’s the smallest of the lakes.

Our campsite was right on the lake. I setup my hammock on this little rocky peninsula that jutted into the lake.

We got in pretty early in the afternoon, so I spent a good amount of time reading and napping in my hammock. I love these short and easy backpacking trips because there’s a ton of time to just be lazy in camp.

I brought my old backpacking tent too. This trusty tent has been my shelter for some awesome trips, although nowadays I don’t bring it as much because I have a much lighter one person tent. I brought it this week to get my shoulders and back used to the weight again, since I’ll be schlepping this tent up Mount Whitney in less than a week.

Dinner was a dehydrated meal. I don’t bring my stove or bear canister all that often anymore either, but brought them this time, since I’d be using those at Whitney as well. My pack was pretty heavy on this trip– probably close to double what I’d normally haul on an overnight trip nowadays.

The dehydrated meal doesn’t look all that appetizing when cooked– but it tasted decent enough.

Sunset over the mountains.

The big dipper was just over the horizon. From our campsite you could see the reflection of it on the lake. It was a pretty amazing sight, I’ve never seen the dipper reflected in water like that. Unfortunately I didn’t have a tripod with me, so I couldn’t catch the reflected dipper. But I was able to set my camera on a rock, and so I was able to get a long enough exposure to capture the dipper in the sky just over the horizon. With my headlamp I was able to paint the foreground– but now that I think of it, it probably would’ve been a better shot without the ugly stump in the foreground.

In the morning we packed up and hiked back out. When we arrived at the parking lot we found it was completely full of cars. I guess everyone was trying to take advantage of the beautiful autumn weather to get one last hike in before the season’s end.

Things I’m thankful for:

  • backpacking buddies– I’ve been backpacking with these guys for over four years now.
  • beautiful autumn weather and amazing scenery
  • bountiful buffets – our tradition is to hit an Indian casino buffet after a backpacking trip… I think we’ve done it for every trip except for one.

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