Bishop Lakes Trailhead to Dusy Basin via Chocolate Lakes
(13 miles, +3,600 feet, -2,000 feet).
The weather yesterday looked just like the day before, so we decided to take a zero day in Bishop and wait for some sunshine. It was an eerie day because the valley filled up with smoke from the Ferguson and Lions Fires (and apparently a new one near June Lake). It was a good day to loll around in a sterile room watching bad TV.
Our day off means we won’t have enough time to complete the North Lake-South Lake loop through Evolution Basin, but we do have enough time to reverse directions and explore the part of the loop which passes through Dusy Basin in Kings Canyon. And since we aren’t racing the clock, we also had time to do some cross country exploration off the main Bishop Pass Trail.
We got started bright and early on a surprisingly clear day.
After about two miles we left the main trail to head up to Chocolate Lakes.
From the Chocolate Lakes we climbed a faint trail up to the saddle with Ruwau Lake.
Above Ruwau Lake we climbed off trail a bit to forge a more direct route to the Timberline Tarns.
At Saddlerock Lake we returned to the main trail to head up to Bishop Pass.
On the way up the switchbacks we saw the remains of dozens of animals that had fallen to their death in the same place below a treacherous winter cornice. The smell was occasionally overpowering for a quarter mile on either side.
Once over the pass, we started looking for a nice place to base camp. Several people were already camped at prime spots around the lake at ~11,350 or so, but we found our own little slice of heaven at the precipice of the tarn below the outlet of the lake.
We took a couple of hours to make camp, eat, and nap and then headed out to explore the basin. We made our way down to the lake closest to Knapsack Pass, crossing meadows full of life.
When we were done exploring we found the Bishop Pass Trail and followed its switchbacks back up to our campsite.
On the way we saw an odd bit of machinery used to measure snow.
We got back to camp just as the sun was passing below the ridge line.