8/28/18 Aidan had a bit of altitude sickness, so we decided to head out a day early. After a beautiful morning at the lakes, we played in the snow, and then hiked nine long miles back to the trailhead.
1 Perhaps one of my all-time favorite views. Lake 5 just seconds before the sun broke the ridge for sunrise. In sharp contrast to the night before, the water was smooth as glass.
2 The moon is still high over the tent as the sun starts to rise. It was 35 degrees when I got out of the tent. Aidan was still sound asleep, so I decided to let him sleep in a little longer until it warmed-up.
3 I was bummed Aidan didn't get to enjoy the best of the sunrise views. But I was in photography heavan. Glassy Lake 4.
4 Moon reflecting on a calm Lake 4 with the trail running along the lake and heading up to Army Pass.
5 Some people don't understand why we backpack instead of car camp. This is why.
6 Lake 5 with probably one of the most vivid lake reflections I've ever seen. The reflection almost looked more realistic than the real mountains.
7 Check out the lower part of the photo. The water is so clear, you can see the rocks on the bottom while at the same time seeing the reflection on the surface. No polarizing filter used at all!
8 Looking down on Lake 3 at sunrise.
9 The creek draining out of Lake 4 with the moon just about to set. I decide it's warm enough now to wake up Aidan.
10 Aidan is awake with Mary the deer, his souvenier from the ranger station. Yes, Mary just had to go backpacking with him. And she took up about half the space in his pack. Unfortunately, Aidan woke-up with a queasy stomach. I wasn't sure if it was his stomatch bug from last week returning, or if it was altitude sickness. Either way, we decided to head out a day early and not take any chances. I didn't mind since I hadn't been sleeping too well the last couple nights anyway.
11 Fortunately the morning views were still amazing for Aidan.
12 Aidan was endlessly amused by throwing rocks and watching the shadows of the ripples create interesting effects.
13 We sat for quite a while admiring Lake 4. Then it was time to see if we could get to that snow patch...
14 Success. Aidan's first time in snow! It was packed and a little dirty, but not bad for late August.
15 And of course the first snowball fight.
16 A look from the West end of Lake 4 and the interesting mini-lakes next to it.
17 On the road again. All packed-up and heading back down to Lake 3.
18 Heading down the switchbacks. It's a warm, beautiful day now.
19 We took a quick detour out to the cascades flowing from Lake 4 down into Lake 3.
20 Video of the cascades.
21 We took a different way back to explore some new trail and almost make a loop. The trail here was a bit harder to follow though, which had me a little worried. Aidan still wasn't feeling too hot, and I didn't want to have to backtrack if this route didn't work out.
22 South end of Lake 3.
23 A gorgeous, little unnamed lake past Lake 3 on the way down to Lake 2.
24 Getting back down below the tree line now.
25 Lake 2 with Cirque Peak towering behind it.
26 Approaching Lake 1.
27 The winding stream flowing out of Lake 1.
28 This trail definitely doesn't get much use. A slight trampling of the grass was all we had to follow, but we found our way.
29 As we were taking a snack break, we heard what we thought was either a crazy dog or a coyote. Sure enough, out trotted a coyote not far from us. Another first for Aidan. I had heard a whole pack of them howling up on the ridge above our tent last night.
30 Looking back at Lake 1 with Mt. Langley towering over it at 14,042'.
31 More creek crossing fun. Aidan fell in almost up to his knee on this one. He was particularly excited by his first shoe dunking, probably a highlight of the trip for him! As soon as we dropped below about 10,500', Aidan's upset stomatch instantly went away, and all his energy immediately returned.
32 He was in great spirits the rest of the way and finished incredibly strong.
33 Success. Though the second day was mostly downhill, we did 9 miles, a record for Aidan, and with a pack on no less. End to an amazing adventure!