Our hike starts out from the Mosquito Flats trailhead which is at the end of Rock Creek Road off the 395. It sits at 10,272 ft of elevation, making it the highest designated trailhead in the Sierra. It is heavily trafficked with hikers and fisherman on most summer days. We have decided to do this hike, because it can be done as an out and back trip, as well as seeing a friend’s pictures on Instagram made it look like a place we would love!
I am checking the weather reports as we are packing and I notice it says 10% chance of rain. I know that can mean a very good chance of it in the sierra. I am telling this to Gannon and he says there is no way it will rain and to not worry about it. I am stressing over what gear to pack to keep my weight down. The lighter the pack, the easier the hiking. But I also like to be prepared and I hate being wet and cold! He talks me out of the rain jacket and I have a feeling I will be sorry, but I go with what he says and hope for the best.
We arrive at the trailhead by mid morning and we already have to park in the overflow lot a little bit back down the road. We park next to some men who are going fishing and they ask us about the weather and if we think it will rain. We assure them it will be fine and they decide to leave their rain gear in their jeep. As we approach the trailhead there is a bigger group of people getting ready to hike. It looks like a dad, mom, grandma, and daughters. I love seeing all the girl hikers! They are backpacking too, so I have a feeling we will be leapfrogging all day.
The scenery is just gorgeous and Gannon just can’t stop commenting about it and how this is by far his favorite area to hike. It is a gradual climb up next to rushing water and lake after beautiful lake. People are fishing at every one of them. There are day hikers with dogs, babies in backpacks, and teens running cross-country. But…. The one poofy cloud I first saw has now turned into some suspicious cumulus clouds. I keep telling Gannon I think it’s going rain. He assures me it will not.
We make it to Chicken Foot Lake and decide to have a lunch break. Who names these lakes anyways? What an odd name for a lake. We have plans to go over Morgan Pass and then down to one of the Morgan Lakes. The sky is starting to not look soo good now and I am hesitant about what we will get accomplished today.
Morgan Pass is not too far ahead of us, so we definitely want to summit that pass and see what is on the other side. By the time we make it to the top, there is a lot of cloud cover and it’s getting chilly. We meet a guy up there who is day hiking and has hiked this area a lot in the past. He gives us some insider info on the area, including the fact that there is not a lot of exciting stuff to see down at the Morgan Lakes. We decide to take our photos and camp at Gem Lakes for the night.
Just as we are leaving the pass, I hear thunder. Ugh! That means one thing… rain is a coming. We book it down to Gem Lakes and find a site just in the nick of time. As we finish setting up the tent, a big hail storm starts. I should have packed my rain jacket! Man oh man. I will never second guess myself again. Lesson learned. I’m soo sorry fisherman who left their jackets because of us. I hope you are OK and not cursing us as you head back to your jeep. Yikes!
After the storm passes we are able to explore the Gem Lakes area and have a nice dinner. Gem Lakes sits 10,900 ft. It is a stunning area and the family that we saw at the trailhead is also here for the night. I think there is maybe another group as well, but that’s it. It’s a relaxing night and we watch our show, read our books, and get some sleep.
It is a crisp, cold morning. We are taking our time getting packed up, because we know it will be an easy hike down. As we slowly make our way out of camp and back down, we pass a big group of guys headed up to where we just were. They are all really nice and it looks like they are planning a fishing trip. I’m kinda glad we are leaving though, cause I have a feeling they might be a bit more rowdy than I would prefer. We pass more cross-country teens, people fishing, and day hikers. It makes me happy that people are getting out in nature and not just sitting at home.
It seems like we are back too fast. In the car and back to Mammoth we drive. Our reward as always is burgers at Burgers restaurant.
Until next time…..
Too see more photos from this trip, click here!