The view of Picture Peak from Sailor Lake. One of the best things about backpacking is rolling out of bed in the morning and having a view like this a few hundred feet from the tent.
The hike from the Lake Sabrina trailhead to Sailor Lake is something in the ballpark of 6-7 miles with maybe 1,500 feet of elevation gain. It doesn't sound like much - but being above 10,000 feet and carrying a bunch of weight on my back has an effect - and that effect is to make me very slow.
My nephew and I went through the usual backpacking trip sequence of events:
- Drive up 395
- Pick up permits at the Lone Pine Ranger Station
- Eat too much food at the Pizza Factory
- Make a left turn somewhere (Bishop this time)
- Find a place as high as possible to camp
- Wonder what we should do the rest of the day
- Spy on other people in the campground to see what they're doing to stay entertained (I'm buying a horseshoe set when I get home)
- Go to sleep, wake up, go back to sleep, wake up, go back to sleep
- Finally get up in the morning (I'm buying a camping sleeping pad when I get home, not like weight is a concern when the car is 30 feet away)
- Eat breakfast and hit the trail
The plan for day 1 was to hike to Blue Lake, then make the call on whether to stay there or continue on towards the Sailor/Hungry Packer/Midnight Lakes area. We felt good when we got to Blue Lake and decided to continue on. From there we were warned that the trail is not as well defined. When you get a warning like that, you pay attention and we never lost the trail for more than a minute or two. We stopped at Dingleberry Lake to fill up on water. It ended up being a pretty long stop and I wasn't the same after. The rest of the way was more of a struggle. As we arrived at Hungry Packer Lake we found that the campsites were full and headed back down to Sailor Lake, which was for the best - it was a much nicer spot to wander around and take pictures. The afternoon and evening were very smoky due to nearby wildfires. I wandered around and took some pictures. My nephew also did some exploring which was cool - he slept through most of last year's trip. Unfortunately the smoke stuck around through most of a moonless night that would have been perfect for seeing the stars. The next morning was clear. I took some pictures, we wandered around, ate breakfast, etc. Knowing that the smoke would come back in as the wind picked up, and not knowing what we'd do all day we decided to head out.