Hiking to Parker Lake

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Ansel Adams Wilderness. One of my all time favorite photographer.

Ansel Adams Wilderness. One of my all time favorite photographer.

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The aspens are turning yellow in the Sierras already!

The aspens are turning yellow in the Sierras already!

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Beautiful Parker Lake with Mt. Wood.

Beautiful Parker Lake with Mt. Wood.

On the return, you can see Mono Lake in the distance.

On the return, you can see Mono Lake in the distance.

Parker Lake Trail, located in the Mono Lake area of the Eastern Sierra, is a very popular hike and for good reasons. It is a relatively short easy hike (3.8 miles round trip) that arrives at a gorgeous pristine alpine setting with towering Mt. Wood, Parker Peak (12,850 feet high) and Mt. Lewis. The lake is situated just above 8,000 feet. Make sure you bring lots of water and that you wear sun protection (including a hat) if you are hiking in the warm season. The first part of the trail climbs a bit and is completely exposed (if you are not acclimatized to altitude yet, you might find this gentle grade more demanding than usual). Dogs are allowed on the trail. It seems like it is a great fishing destination too!

Eldorado National Forest, Crystal Basin, CA

On our way down from the Lava Beds National Monuments, we stopped for a few hours at the Yuba River State Park. The river is an incredible deep blue turquoise and there are tons of secret spots along the river to swim and enjoy this area. It was late in the day and we didn't have time to explore, but still had a quick post sunset dip.

On our way down from the Lava Beds National Monuments, we stopped for a few hours at the Yuba River State Park. The river is an incredible deep blue turquoise and there are tons of secret spots along the river to swim and enjoy this area. It was late in the day and we didn't have time to explore, but still had a quick post sunset dip.

Union Valley Reservoir (Sunset Campground) and our friends Catamaran.

Union Valley Reservoir (Sunset Campground) and our friends Catamaran.

They took us sailing and it was so much fun!

They took us sailing and it was so much fun!

We also canoed on the beautiful lake. There is already snow on the mountain tops!

We also canoed on the beautiful lake. There is already snow on the mountain tops!

They brought us to another great spot in this area called Bassi Falls.

They brought us to another great spot in this area called Bassi Falls.

Sticks are so overrated. I retrieve pinecones.

Sticks are so overrated. I retrieve pinecones.

Bassi Falls paradise.

Bassi Falls paradise.

Upper Bassi Falls is full of beautiful basins flowing into one another. Some of them made for great waterslides too!

Upper Bassi Falls is full of beautiful basins flowing into one another. Some of them made for great waterslides too!

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We came here to meet our friends who had spend the summer in the area sailing their Catamaran and just enjoying this beautiful wild part of the sierras. They had told us how much they liked this region before and we were excited to discover it. It really blew our minds. Sunset Campground is beautiful and located on a peninsula. Unfortunately, it will be closed for the next two years for improvements. Luckily, there are other campgrounds very close by, namely Wolf Creek that our friends really like. Do not miss Bassi Falls and Wright Lake trails in the Desolation Wilderness (JF went running there) if you are in the area. It is about half way between Auburn and Lake Tahoe.