Early Friday morning July 27 the Peter Pande outlet pond was reasonably calm enough that I was able to expose this 4x5 sheet of Provia 100F above, of this mirror reflection of grass hummocks with Graveyard Peak in the background. A bit of Peter Pande Lake is visible at mid frame right as the pond is just inches below the level of the lake. Hundreds of years ago the shallow pond named West Marilyn Lake, was part of the lake but continued buildup of wind driven sand at the lake shore became colonized by turf and vegetation until it fully separated.
By 7:30am we were packed up and on our return over Silver Fox Pass on the same route we had come over 5 days earlier. Joe spotted this Yosemite toad along the trail. The large shallow warm pond below and fine grassy meadow is no doubt an ideal body of water for these and other endangered amphibians.
I quickly captured this flash image as she climbed over a stick. Then I tried for a face on view but she would not keep still. Toads are such vulnerable little creatures I have always felt a heartfelt liking for. As a child, I found they became afraid when we giants picked up their cool soft bodies. One can sometimes hear tiny squeeks of fear coming out of their mouths and if handled they may pee from fright on your hand. I would never hurt such a gentle creature but wanted a shot so cupped my fingers around her so she could not move. The first couple of time as soon as I lifted my finger cage, she began trying to flee. Then maybe sensing I was holding her softly and wanted her to stay there paused long enough for this head on shot showing her concerned expression. I stroked her head gently and we moved away.
By 9am we had reached the base of talus below the pass so took a good break before climbing. Having studied the boulder field carefully from further back, we changed our route up a bit from our descent path which was less tedious through smaller talus versus the more common moderate sized talus on the slope.
The upper section of the talus field.
A telephoto of East Maryland Lake below. Note we did see trout in the lake.
Climb a short distance then sit on a convenient boulder and rest a minute repeated many times over got us to the top. As always with talus, it was considerably less dangerous going up than down even though one might breathe harder. From the pass we made quick work of the descent ramp path that was familiar in our minds and were soon at our day 2 camp spot.
We again tented and set up gear, this time without having to worry about the weather. It was another sunny day with intermittently breezy downdrafts. By 10am we grabbed our fishing gear to work the large nearby Graveyard Lake 2b. The resident brook trout were mostly small pan sized so we caught and kept anything more than 7 inches. By 1pm we had enough for a good meal, returned to camp, and made another rice and fish lunch. One of my regular chores most mid days is removing exposed film from my 5 film holders and replacing them with new film performed inside a light tight black change bag. Something that must be done carefully and methodically without day dreaming or distractions. Only after that did I get to enjoy a mid day nap.
Later in the afternoon we set out up to the higher barren lakes where before our trip I had analyzed topos and Google Earth for image perspectives. Lake 3b just above our camp area.
And lakes 5a and 6a.
Lake 6a with its snowfield above where Joe jumped in for a refreshing dip.
Notice all the avalanche stunted krumholtz whitebark pines on the higher slopes frame right? View down canyon above lakes 6a and 5a with light magenta hued rockfringe growing in gravels between boulders.
One of the reasons I declined to go on trips I had planned this summer was because I expected even though there would be flowers as is the case here, landscapes were likely to have a less aesthetic rather dry look as this landscape shows. In normal years the wildflowers would be more prominent, grasses greener maybe with some seeps still active out of the talus, and in the distance the big peaks would have more interesting areas of white snow. So yeah I will return to some of these places. A rockfringe closeup using flash.
A 150mm Nikor 4x5 birds eye view down canyon of deep blue waters of lakes 3a, 2a, and 1a with Mount Mills, Mount Abbot, Bear Creek Spire, Mount Gabb, Recess Peak, Mount Hilgard, and Seven Gables at the horizon.
An SX130 telephoto of the peninsula of lake 2a.
And a telephoto of Seven Gables.
And a telephoto of Recess Peak, Mount Hilgard with Volcanic Knob the dark geology below.
A sunny late afternoon view of the south shore of Graveyard Lake 2b.
Latter at dusk, a not particularly saturated Earth shadow night wedge rising above Mount Abbot and Mount Gabb. We could see usual hazy skies west over the valley so did not expect much.
And another wider modest shot.
Next:Day 8>9 Saturday July 28