Monday, September 10, 2018

Ruby Lake (Mosquito Flats Trailhead) - Eastern Sierras, California - 9/6/18

Driftwood in Ruby Lake (Mt. Mills)

Mt. Mills peeking up above Waterfall

Rock Creek at Trailhead

Turn right for Ruby Lake
 It was a Ladies Day on the Trail for the Around the Bend Friends! Yep! We had eight ladies at the Mosquito Flats Trailhead after changing the hike from Convict Lake Loop. The weather was hot in the valley and the chance of rain had disappeared. So, we got ready and started up the Little Lakes Valley Trail for around half a mile before turning to the right onto the Mono Pass Trail. Next, the trail continued up with switchbacks but we took it slowly and made use of every overlook along the way. As we got higher and higher, the lakes of the valley came into view.

Getting High Enough for views of Little Lakes Valley Below
 We finally got the names of the lakes straight with the help of two hikers' GPSs and maps.

Bear Creek Spire in Distance
 On the way up switchbacks on the side of the hill, we saw Bear Creek Spire in the distance.

Marsh Lake & Heart Lake

Another Cutie ... Horse
 The last lake that we could see was Box Lake. Long Lake was too far away and around the corner of the valley. A pack train came by to take food, etc., over Mono Pass. Hikers on the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail use the mule trains to get their supplies. Up we went, zigzagging up and up and up. Finally, we reached the turnoff for Ruby Lake. It was signed. Mono Pass continued straight and up. Ruby Lake turned to the left onto a flat meadow with a stream running through it. As we hiked out this trail, we came upon David's group. They had just finished with Ruby Lake and were heading up to Mono Pass. We took a photo and continued on.

Girls being Girls
 As we approached Ruby Lake, we went through an area of flowing water and passed a beautiful waterfall. Mt. Mills peeked its nose up over the falls.

Hiking out Ruby Lake Trail
 The trail took us up and over a rise then down to the shoreline of the amphitheater-like lake setting. Mt. Mills was prominent behind the lake.

Crossing Paths with David's Group

Approaching Ruby Lake
 Then, in the distance toward the back left corner of the lake, Mt. Abbott then Mt. Dade showed themselves. Each peak had an elevation somewhere in the 13,000's. We never could find the names of the peaks that were closest to us on the left side. Taking our main break, we stayed on the shore soaking our feet in the very cold water. We wanted to wait until David's group appeared high above us on the Mono Pass Trail. It was about 500 vertical feet up! Finally, they went hiking by and stopped to wave. We waved, too, but they told us later that we looked like ants!

Ruby Lake (R to L - Mt. Mills, Mt. Abbott, Mt. Dade) Dark mountain not named.
 Finally, we put our shoes back on and started back. In no hurry, we sauntered down the steps and switchbacks.

Ladies Day on the Trail
 Ruby Lake was a much better choice for today's outing!

Ruby Lake Shoreline

David's Group on Mono Pass Trail 500' Above Us
 On the way down, we noticed a few flowers along the trail. It was late for blooms but the one flower that we could count on seeing all week was the Paintbrush. Many of the ladies had planned to continue their day by driving up to Mono Lake and June Lake. It sounded like they had a great time up there. It was a good day all around!

4.5 miles; 900 feet elevation gain; 3.5 hours

Leaving Ruby Lake

Down the Steps of Ruby Lake Trail

Zigzagging down to Little Lakes Valley

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