Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hike to Baker Lake in Great Basin National Park

 Back in September I had the opportunity to hike to Baker Lake, a 5.5 mile (one-way) hike with about 2,400 ft elevation gain. The view from the trailhead includes False Pyramid Peak. The trail continues past it and past (true) Pyramid Peak to a cirque, which is where the lake is located.

 It was a mostly cloudy day, but when the sun came out, it really lit up the fall colors. Aspen trees line many parts of the trail.

 The trail also follows Baker Creek for most of the way, although at times the trail switchbacks away from the creek to allow for a gentler gradient. Generally in September the water levels are really low, but due to the abundant monsoon rains, the creek was roaring almost like it was spring runoff. (If you're from any area besides the desert, this probably looks like a tiny creek, but to us it's huge!)

 Several spring tributaries made us even have to step on the big rocks to get across.

 Some of the aspen hadn't fully turned, but some, like in this avalanche path from 2005, lit up the hillside.

 While we were walking, I noticed these mushrooms growing in a cut tree stump.

 Some of the leaves were already falling.

 Another avalanche area looked a little desolate.

 After about two hours, we made it to Baker Lake. It was quite a bit higher than it usually is in late September, thanks to those aforementioned rains.

My friend Chandra had never been to Baker Lake, so I took her to the far end, the west end near the cirque, to get an overview.

As we were walking back to meet the other people in our group, I noticed the moraine above the lake. What was up there? Could there be more water?

There was only one way to find out.

So we turned around and hiked further up.

We didn't find any other lake, just lots more talus and boulders.

It sure was beautiful. There are some great campsites near the lake, but campfires aren't allowed, so if you do go, be sure to take a stove.

Then it was time to get to work, collecting water samples and measuring water quality.

Baker Lake is one of the deeper lakes and supports non-native brook trout and Lahontan cutthroat trout.

The wind blew and we were cold. We worked fast to get everything done so we could get out of the wind and down to a warmer elevation. It was a good day, a fast trip, and some beautiful vistas. Looking forward to hiking up there next summer!


I Am Woody said...

Beautiful area! So thankful for the rain :)

Unknown said...

It's fascinating to see vegetation growing back. The results of epic events don't last very long!

A said...

What a beautiful lake!

jhami said...

Beautiful photos! It's been a long time since I've been up there

G. Robison said...

I've gone fishing up Baker Creek many times but never hiked all the way up to Baker Lake. It's on my list of things to do next time I am in the area!

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