July 27, 2017 · Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Check out the route in detail on AllTrails.
We arrived at Twin Lakes around 10am, parked the car under a tree, and headed towards the trailhead through a large, car/rv campground. The approach was through a sage and pine tree valley towards epic granite snow-covered peaks. There were a few river crossings, only one which needed a de-shoeing. Stani took a quick swim at Barney lake along the way.
We got to the fork which separates Crown Lake and Peeler Lake, and decided to go for Peeler as it looked a little closer. After a bunch of switchbacks and a few snow covered sections of trail, we arrived at the beautiful Peeler lake. We hiked along the edge to the side closest to Yosemite and slept above the lake. The mosquitos were incredibly active, so we ended up getting in the tent by 7pm.
In the morning the tent was still covered in blood-sucking mosquitoes, so after a delicious breakfast of organic powdered eggs and field-roast sausages, we packed up and hiked for higher ground. We circled back to the fork in the trail and headed to Crown Lake.
Despite the swarms of mosquitoes, the scenery was amazing. We walked through boulder fields, meadows, and past alpine lakes. Crown lake offered no reprieve from the skeeters, so we kept heading up-up-up. We passed a couple geared up with netted face covers and two dogs coming down from Snow lake, and they reported that the mosquitoes were no better up there, but that it was the best lake they'd seen. We kicked snow-steps up a steep gully and regained the trail at 10,000 feet. The lake was beautiful and again, right on the border of Yosemite. We still had energy in us, so we headed up the north ridge hoping that the ridge would be windy and high enough to escape the blood-suckers.
We got up to 10,500 feet and found a mosquito free, beautifully perched camp site. Luckily there was a small stream coming off a snow field not too far. We set up camp and relaxed for a bit. While Jing sat on a rock with a pen and some paper, Stani and I climbed up to the top of Crown Point at 11,300 feet. A few scrambling moves and me giving Stani a boost here and there, we got to the top and found a log canister and a survey marker. The log book kept me entertained while Stani rested. We headed back down quickly and got back to camp with an appetite.
We enjoyed an incredible sunset as the mosquitoes slowly realized we were on the ridge and headed our way.
We were up early in the morning. After collecting some water from the run-off, we had a delicious vegan sausage egg breakfast with coffee, packed up, and headed off the ridge down to Snow Lake. The car was 11 miles away at Twin Lakes, so we hustled down the trail, only taking a break when we had to de-shoe for the river crossing. With lighter packs we cruised at about 2 miles an hour, and with a little cloud cover we were able to stay a bit cooler.
We got to glissade down a few of the big snow slopes which made the decent a lot easier. Jing even used Stani's sleeping mat as a toboggan.
We passed a few father/daughter, father/son groups coming in for the weekend, and silently hoped that the mosquitoes would lessen for them. The granite turned into sage and pine again, as the trail flattened out in the valley. After 5 hours, we were back at the campground, weaving between RVs, and navigating back to the car.