Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reflections at Conness Glacier (The Glacier)

(GPS: N37 58.795 W119 18.310)

Time to wrap this one up. When one thinks of glaciers they are usually thinking of something much bigger than this. The Sierra Nevada does have its share of glaciers as small as many of them are. I have seen pictures of some going back to the early 20th century when they were a lot bigger compared to now. If things continue like they have, then they will eventually be gone.
When I went there you could still see a lot of snow or ice on the mountain side. So, it is hard to differentiate between the glacier and the temporary snow connected to it.
The glacier part is just under the mountains you can see in the above picture and next one. It would be a lot bigger in person if you were near one, but you don't want to be because you do not want to get stuck in a bergschrund (crevasse) up there. Of course, a few years ago I was on top of Mt. Conness looking down at the glacier below me and these lakes. I added a little of that perspective in the video.Finally, I was trying to get a one shot of the turquoise water without reflections, but I can live with what I got on this one. Basically, the color of these glacier lakes or tarn is created by the glacial sediment that flows into them.
BTW, this lake was COLD! I accidentally dropped my monopod into the lake, and I had to wade a few feet out to get it. I was lucky it did not go out that far!
I did a panorama stich of the pictures I used in the blog yesterday to combine for the following picture. It is good, but this area is a lot more curved like an amphitheatre (cirque). This makes it look like everything is out in front of you, but in reality you would have to rotate or turn to view it all like this. This one is on Flickr, so click to get to flickr to see the biggest version of it.
I mentioned on one of the earlier blogs on this that to traverse that patch of snow by the falls would be a very bad decision to come back down it. With an hour of more sunlight it probably got slicker where it would be really easy to take a fall and slide down for a really bad injury or much worse. I had two plans I was thinking of while I originally climbed up it. One, I could come back down, but really hug the solid rocks or land beside the snow. Very slow and still dangerous, but I have done that before elsewhere. There was that one area at the bottom of it that I mentioned that still had me worried about trying this. Two, Just bypass it altogether. That's what I did.
It took a little longer coming down the way I did, but it was much safer. The way I came down was slightly north of the use trail that goes by the falls. There were some gradual slabs of rock that I just kept going down on. It was mostly dry, but I did encounter some snow at some parts. Nothing too dramatic though. I enjoyed it though since it gave me some time to take other pictures and video overlooking other parts of the area.

Eventually, I got back to Greenstone Lake, and then hiked around Saddlebag Lake to get back to the parking lot. Two irritating things happened right at the end of the hike. Although looking back now they are kind of funny. They were both connected:
I was back near the dam near Saddlebag Lake. I saw a bag out in the distance that could obviously go in the trash can at the parking lot. It stood out, and is the type of thing that would ruin a good picture if it stayed there. Don't get me started on people leaving their trash out at places like this when they can throw it away. So, I walked out into the grass by the trees and a stream going by. I picked it up and all of a sudden I smelt it! Oh! It was terrible!
It was human feces. I was carrying the bag, and the trash can I thought was nearby was not where I thought it was. So, I had to carry it much further back to the parking lot. At this point I was not very happy about this.

Then right as I was about to throw the bag in a trash can some guy comes up to me and asks me if I was leaving. At first I thought the guy was connected with the area or the forest service. The way he approached me and was aggressively asking me this came across a little odd. I slowed down in response to him because I was trying to figure out if he perceived me as some overnight camper. Although it is very rare, I get rangers that encounter me in the backcountry that want to know where I am camping so they can check my permits...of course, I only day hike so the assumption is always wrong.
I just gave him slow response of, "yes". The next thing I knew is he turned around, yelled at his friends that I was leaving, and wanted to know where I was parked. As I kept walking he quickly told me that they would be there for four days so they needed a place to park.
What irritated me about that was I was leaving, but I had no intention of just jumping in my truck and taking off. What I was going to do was take off my backpack at my truck, relax a few minutes with a drink, and then head back to Saddlebag Lake to shoot an alternative opening video. So, another ten minutes at most. But, since I had "volunteered" my parking spot, and the guys were waiting on me, I just took off. Not too happy, but the parking lot was full, and the footage I had was good enough as it turns out.
The thing is it was a Saturday during the end of summer and lots of people do come here. I knew that, but I got there early in the morning when very few had parked there. Long story short, I have a pet peave about when I arrive somewhere early, get my seats or parking, then later on someone arrives and starts dictating orders to me because they did not plan ahead.
Somewhere down the road I hope to do the loop hike around all the lakes again and will show that when it happens.

Reflections at Conness Glacier (Youtube Version)

Reflections at Conness Glacier (Vimeo Version)
The background music used in the videos are called Transition One and Skye Cuillin.