The weekend after Luke and I accomplished the Rae Lakes Loop, we were still itching to get to Woods Lake. We had just two days to go 21 miles and 8000 ft of total ascent to get to our alpine lake. Here is our GPS tracks for that day, it was such an amazing journey.
We arrived at the trailhead pretty late, leaving from work again with only one plan, to get to woods lake. Since we didn’t really know where to go, we decided to wake for the break of dawn before we headed off. It was getting cold so we just cozied up into our sleeping backs for a short break before heading out.
I always wake up before the crack of dawn, and this time was no exception. Even though we were just napping, Luke was still passed out and I decided to get some photos of the sun rising.
Luke, dead asleep.
We had to traverse through some interesting terrain, the day started off as desert, and there wasn’t going to be water anywhere soon. So we had to get an early start before the heat caught up to us.
Lone tree by our parking lot. I got this photo as Luke was preparing to leave.
Off we went, through the John Muir Wilderness.
The Kings Canyon Mountains are so awesome, I will always love the way these peaks look.
We headed over one of the mountains into a valley, where we were going to head straight up towards Sawmill pass.
Because of the dry, arid weather last year, there had been a lot of fires throughout Sequoia and Kings Canyon, here is some evidence of the destruction.
And the more we climbed, the more there was vegetation and shade. Funny thing was, we were also going to climb above the tree line at some point as well.
Roughly half way up, around 5 miles, we took a break at Sawmill Meadow.
I was getting excited to see so many clouds in the area, I was hoping to get to Woods Lake for sunset to get some landscape shots for my own collection. It was soon a race against time to see if we could make it there in time.
We arrived at Sawmill Lake with plenty of time, and a little bit of exhaustion. We filled up our water and took a long break. But the weather was changing drastically and soon a thunderstorm would follow.
I had my bivy sack, but Luke didn’t, so we made our own little A-frame tarp tent. It didn’t really keep us dry, because of the large amount of rain in such a short period of time and the dry soil. The water wasn’t being adsorbed into the soil.
It was soon a decision to either head on up and over during the storm, or to just stay at Sawmill Lake. The weather ended up clearing for a little and I made the decision to just keep on going. Here is a photo of Sawmill Lake and the interesting trees it hosts.
It was a slow hike up towards Sawmill Pass, and there were still a few lighting bolts hitting a few miles away from us. It was a little bit unsafe to head toward higher ground during this weather, especially since we were both carrying tripods. But when we made it to the top, the weather started to clear and we were able to get some pretty nice shots of Woods Lake from afar. Here is Luke at Sawmill Pass.
And our stormy photos of Woods Lake.
Luke, the photog.
We then headed down to get some shots of the lake, up close and personal. We were able to wander around for a little, but the light was moving down fast. I didn’t expect it to move so quickly. I was just admiring the landscape, while cooking dinner when all the sudden the sky filled with orange, magenta and all sorts of colors. I grabbed my dinner, tripod, and ran.
Woods Lake Pano, with Luke on the left edge. This is a 10 shot panorama.
And another pano as the sky began to bleed Magenta.
The following morning, we woke up an hour before dawn to get back to the elevated view for a sunrise shot. We were definitely lucky to get this weather! I am hoping my next adventure will be this amazing. Hopefully there is another storm that ends at sunset for me to chase.