Big Pine Lakes
My third day in the Sierras started very early again, with a 5:30am departure time from the Big Pine Creek trailhead. This was my planned main hike of the trip, and a place I'd been really looking forward to seeing. It did not dissappoint in the least! The main loop is about 18 miles with 3,500ft elevation gain, but I ended up hiking a side trail up to Palisade Glacier as well. In retrospect it was a bit too much for one day, but I made it, though it wore me out too much to make it all the way up to Sixth, Seventh, and Black Lakes. End of day hiking total 17 miles with a whopping 4,800ft elevation gain, ending at 12,300ft. And yes, there was literally no oxygen up that high! I had been attracted to this trail by photos of second lake with Temple Crag, which was amazing. However, my favorite spot (the cover photo for this album) was Third Lake. It's a strong new contender for the single most beautiful place I've ever visited anywhere in the world. I ended my hiking for this trip with sore feet, but a new love for this area I'd never explored before. I now have about 10 more hikes that I hope to do in this region over the next few years!