Friday, November 13, 2009

Excelsior Mountain (The Beginning)

(GPS: N38 02.875 W119 15.800)

Part of my strategy in hiking this year was to not visit the highest mountains or the most popular trails. Too many times I have read about someone saying something like, "I have climbed Mt. Whitney, and I am depressed since I do know what to do now." I purposely planned to go to lesser known Eastern Sierra peaks and trails. The Yosemite fire, which I mentioned during September, really messed things up in what I intended to do, but I did get in a couple of mountain peak hikes and a bunch of simple hikes.
This hike from the Virginia Lakes trailhead (GPS Coords above) was done on July 3rd of this year. As much as I love the area, I was not too thrilled to visit the place if it was packed with people. I told my brother this is the one hike I really wanted that weekend, and we did not have to do anything else. I thought this area might be my best bet to avoid any crowds on which is the best time of the year for the town stores to make money, but the worst for overcrowded wilderness experiences. This blog and the ones that will follow will hit some of the highlights.
Virginia Lakes is a well known place for fishing. We left the trailhead and passed the Hoover Wilderness sign very quickly. It was probably around ten minutes after we got started. Then, we started the steeper climb past Blue Lake.
Somewhere past that point I looked to the right to see a sliding chute with talus rocks. Most climbs outside of the established trails are on talus rock. That is what I knew would be coming later on in the hike.
We passed an old cabin.
There were lots of streams and ponds along the way. One thing to note is the snow. We were a bit concerned about the snow on the steeper parts of the trail. I knew at some point later on if the snow was completely covering the area we might be forced to turn around.
We passed Cooney Lake. Then, I liked the snow reflection in Frog Lake.
This hike will take a bunch of blogs to cover. In the next entry, I show what we encountered to get to the pass.

The following video was re-edited during the summer of 2013. I cut out a lot of things compared to the original videos:

To Excelsior Mountain (Youtube Version)

To Excelsior Mountain (Vimeo Version)

The following music was used from Mellowtron, Constancy Part One, Gustav Sting, and Fluidscape.