Ann is still recovering from a big ascent of Mount Rose starting at the Galena creek trailhead, a 4500 foot climb, and so she offers to shuttle between trailheads for me today. (I stayed home to work on next weekend’s WordCamp talk.) So I get dropped off north of Mount Elwell, the highest peak in the neighborhood of Graeagle California, and head for the Round lake trailhead to the south. This area is packed with scenic alpine lakes to admire. I move quickly, greedy to explore new trail.
The first views reveal large granite formations.
Smith lake welcomes me before long.
A steep ascent, punctuated with a couple of smaller lakes, brings to the summit of mount Elwell covered in sweat. Instantly an icy wind sends me scurrying for shelter and warmies.
On the descent Long Lake dominates the foreground while the intimidating Sierra buttes loom in the distance.
I join the Pacific Crest Trail for a stretch, where I encounter some rocks that look like stacks of pancakes.
At the Round lake trail junction I look back at mount Elwell. My legs feel worked, but I have over an hour before I’m supposed to meet Ann, so I turn away from the trailhead for a little extension. By good fortune I meet Ann there at Round lake, and we hike out together.
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