Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Sotcher Lake, Devils Post Pile NM

On our trip to hike to Minaret falls we chose the wrong day as the very small car park was packed full of vehicles including a couple of school buses and there was absolutely no way we were going to get the truck parked.   Rats!

We decided to continue further up the valley to Red Lodge, which turned out to be closed for the season.   I don’t know why we were surprised as we knew that as the road into the valley is so steep and narrow snow can and does close it at any time.

However, on our way we spotted Sotcher Lake through the trees, so back we went to explore more.

A short hike of a couple or 3 miles takes you around the lake, and for some reason I decided to leave my walking sandals on assuming the trail would be flat.   Wrong!  

The trail leads from the parking area to the lake before climbing up a gritty trail to give gorgeous lake and mountain views. 

The view as we started up the gritty trail.

I loved the way the aspens reflected in the water around this duck.   Well, I think it’s a duck.

It wasn’t so bad walking up, but coming down was a little slippery, luckily we both kept our footing, but had I been wearing my boots it would’ve been so much easier, oh well you live and learn!

Against the mountains and blue sky an aspen grove showed beautiful autumn colours across the lake.

At the bottom we followed the trail and then took a path to the left crossing a log bridge over a small stream,

and found a lovely waterfall flowing down the mountain.

From here the trail became narrower as it wound through brush and some boggy ground, side trails in all directions lead down to the lake shore.   Sometimes we weren’t sure if we were actually following a proper trail.  

It was much quieter on this side of the lake and we didn’t actually bump into anyone else until we were nearly back at the truck.

Looking back across the lake this is the rock with the gritty trail we climbed up.

One of the many little beaches at Sotcher Lake.

It was a lovely short hike on a gorgeous autumn day. 

As we drove out we stopped at Starkweather Lake, where an informational board told us about lakes and meadows in the Sierra Nevada.   Most lakes in the Sierras were formed by glaciers about 11,000 years ago during the last ice age. 

Over the centuries silt and organic debris deposited in the lakes is subject to a process known as eutrophication, turning the lakes into meadows.   So one day in the dim and distant future, Starkweather Lake will become Starkweather Meadow, but I don't think we'll be around to see it!

Driving out of the valley, our last stop of the day was at the Minaret Overlook, overlooking the valley.   The mountains still had snow on them and the views were fabulous.

Although there are no trails, theoretically, from Devils Post Pile you could walk across this section of the Sierra Nevada to Yosemite National Park, I don’t know if anyone ever has. 

Have fun, we are!

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