TR: Eagle Lake, Mineral King, Jul 25-26 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Eagle Lake, Mineral King, Jul 25-26

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TR: Eagle Lake, Mineral King, Jul 25-26

Postby tim » Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:51 pm

This was a very quick overnight trip with my sons and their friend in late July because we were too busy for a longer trip this summer. We'd never been to Mineral King and so it seemed like a good idea to scout out the area before potentially doing a longer trip next year. And Eagle Lake seemed like the shortest option in SEKI for an overnight at a nice lake (albeit with a significant climb). The drive up was pretty tiresome but we did encounter a bear sitting in the middle of the road before we even got into the park. After all these years of never seeing a bear, that was definitely a highlight of the trip.

We finally set off from Mineral King around 12pm in a beautiful green valley (though the flowers weren't all that impressive) and made good time to the first junction, where we stopped for lunch. The climb got much steeper after that and after the next junction (to Mosquito Lakes) it seemed to go on forever (at least from the perspective of my younger son). However, the views were pretty stunning across the canyon. Finally, after crossing a scree slope, the grade started to ease, but it was still quite a way up to the lake and in the end we had climbed over 2000ft by the time we got there at 4pm. The lake was very nice, and pleasant to swim in, though the campsites weren't that great - in the trees and not much flat space around. Sunset was very pretty and there weren't too many mosquitoes. It was quite busy on a Saturday night - plenty of other people had clearly picked this out to take their kids to on a first backpacking trip. However, I guess it would be much quieter in the week since most people seem to do this as an out and back, since there is no easy way go any further from the lake.

The night wasn't as cold as we expected for 10,000ft, mid to high 30s, and in the morning we packed up quickly to head down and then drove down to Visalia for lunch and the long drive back to the Bay Area. Overall, nice to get out and good to see why people like Mineral King so much, but if we'd had a 2 night trip I think it would have been hard to do much on the layover day, so I wouldn't particularly recommend this compared to other destinations (even in the Mineral King area) which are much more suited to day hiking from camp.

Mineral King.jpg
Mineral King

Climbing to Eagle Lake.jpg
Climbing to Eagle Lake

Meadow before the final climb

Sawtooth to Franklin.jpg
View across the canyon - Sawtooth to Franklin

Eagle Lake sunset.jpg
Eagle Lake sunset

Eagle Lake dam.jpg
Morning at Eagle Lake dam

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Re: TR: Eagle Lake, Mineral King, Jul 25-26

Postby maverick » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:09 pm

Thanks for sharing this cool TR, and love the pictures. I see you were not affected by the smoke, the current MK webcam is showing very smokey conditions.
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Re: TR: Eagle Lake, Mineral King, Jul 25-26

Postby Scouter9 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:15 pm

Good on you for getting those young men up there!

Your sunset on the lake photo is particularly beautiful.
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Re: TR: Eagle Lake, Mineral King, Jul 25-26

Postby cslaght » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:49 pm

Awesome TR! I've been to MK a couple of times and still am just amazed by all the colors. Good stuff!
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