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Minnow Creek Backpack Day 5 Wednesday July 25

As dawn rose on Wednesday July 25, I got up early to make some hot chocolate. This would be our only layover day although the trip was what I call a semi base camping backpacking trip with 3 days with short hikes of less than a mile between camp sites. With first rays hitting the top of Graveyard Peak, I grabbed my camera daypack and tripod then climbed up to Minnie Lake shores. Although I could see wavy water breezes on the still shadowed waters of Peter Pande Lake below, Minnie Lake was still calm likely because a pool of cold air like a lid was shunting over the top any breezes higher up. A condition that tends to not last long. I set up my Wisner with 150mm lens at a location with rocks in the foreground waters I'd surveyed Tuesday then waited as the sun quickly dropped down to lake level before exposing the above 4x5 sheet.

The higher Sierra Crest at 11k to 13k is about 8 miles or about 42,000 feet unblocked to the east northeast so about 2000 feet higher on average than Minnie Lake. Thus the sun needed to only rise an angle of tan(2000/42000) or about 3 degrees in altitude from the time it hit the peak tops before warm clear high altitude light bathed the full landscape. At 1pm PDT mid day the sun altitude at our latitude is about 70 degrees high in the sky. It was a bit after 6am thus (60*7-10)/(70/3)= 17 minutes. Thus I had figured I had enough time to go from camp to the nearby lake, set up, with a few minutes to spare. That light would not be the orange red light one would receive if totally unblocked but rather rich gold phase light. Much like the warm gold phase light one sees on the Great Western Divide after morning sun rises above the Mount Whitney region peaks.

Next I moved further down the shore setting up for a similar landscape as warm light lightened. I was barely able to get the shot in before those same breezes down at the lower lake visited Minnie too. Note the fish ring at frame left.

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After that I sat unsuccessfully at two fine lake shore locations for about an hour while the variable breezes just became stronger. It was time to work different landscapes so I headed back to camp. With several fishing choices Joe went off to one of the lakes where he found nice Pierson's paintbrush on a turfy shore.

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I hiked off to the cliffs above Olive Lake. There I found an exposed ledge to set up on and carefully moved gear into position then pointed my 90mm Caltar 4x5 down just wide enough to capture the full lake.

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Off in the distance beyond the outlet is Bloody Mountain. One can see where we camped at on day 3. Mid lake in a large area of trees is a yellow spot near the left side of the trees at the shoreline where we camped about the back side. The yellow is dried turf grasses.

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I continued on a lengthy exploratory route through meadows below ridgelines and at a rather late 10am came upon a turfy section with dense Pierson's paintbrush as well as magenta hued Lemmon's paintbrush, alpine aster, and elephant's head. With my 150mm Nikor and a section of the Graveyard Peak ridgeline.

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I wondered how much better these landscapes might be in an afternoon after a wet winter. The grasses were already turning a less attractive yellow green. Given the increasingly harsh light, I packed up the view camera and I climbed up to a ridgeline view above Anne Lake.

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Red Slate and even a bit of Red and White Mountain in the background. A piece of blue waters of Minnie Lake shows through trees. Next below, a telephoto across Anne Lake towards Shiner Lake and peak 11225.

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Another timberline landscape with scattered whitebark pines towards the back south side of large Anne Lake with 11494 foot Graveyard Peak above.

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Joe was having a good time fishing and took this wonderful picture of one of his 13 inch or so rainbow trout, dry fly in mouth, in the clear water.

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After a large mashed potato lunch, changing film in my 5 film holders, a swim along Minnie Lake shores, and some napping, we ventured out on a hike to the southwest shores at the back of Anne Lake. Along the way I dismantled a large illegal campfire pit with a large pile of wood that had obviously been used a few times probably by the same group. The lake is at 10230 feet with fires in the wilderness illegal above 10000. It was also only about 50 feet away from the lake edge and I could see another even closer spot where they had been making their bonfires just 10 feet from the water.

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After scattering the fire pit rock works, I tossed many of the larger logs over a rock into the lake where they could float away from the area.

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An example of another of these large campfire rock rings and their large bonfire piles at the outlet of Anne Lake. Notice the blackened boulder several feet behind the fireplace where some group unfit for a permit had previously built a fire up against. Of course at such timberline locations there is not much wood available so it just takes a few inconsiderate morons to send up in smoke every loose piece of wood in an area.

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Beside a snowfield on the south side of Anne Lake, we spent an hour making making Koolaide snow and just gazing out towards the panorama. We scoop up dry snow into a cup from a snow field then pour Koolaide powder directly atop the snow and spoon it. About 5pm I pulled out the Wisner. Although it was less breezy than Tuesday, downdrafts visited all day keeping the large lake surfaces wavy. A few high clouds drifted above making for some interesting conditions. I set up a 150mm Nikor shot on this turf and sand shoreline edge with a string of talus boulders reaching out into the blue lake waters and the big peaks off in the distance. The yellow on the water line of the boulders is whitebark pine pollen.

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Next I visited a section of shore with nice paintbrush and barely was able to set up before shadows covered that area.

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Nice late afternoon light telephoto of colorful granites of Graveyard Peak with a small rock glacier. It is these uncommon colorful granites stone cutters value greatly as gravestones.

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This view just east shows lighter gabbro granites. Some traveling from Graveyard Lakes cross the saddle then descend this class 3 face to Anne Lake.

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Back at camp we made dinner then enjoyed a colorful dusk above Minnie Lake.

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Next:

Day 6 Thursday July 26

   David Senesac
   email: info@davidsenesac.com

Day 7 Friday July 27
Day 8>9 Saturday July 28

Day 0 Before the Trip
Day 1 Saturday July 21
Day 2 Sunday July 22
Day 3 Monday July 23
Day 4 Tuesday July 24

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