After my early morning excursion to Minarets Vista (see previous post) we looked for a scenic hike that was short enough for the somewhat late start. 20 Lakes Basin lies just a couple of miles outside of Yosemite in a high alpine setting and was just right for us*.
As a bonus, it’s possible to reduce the hike by about 3-4 miles (depending on the route) by taking the boat taxi across Saddlebag Lake from the Saddlebag Lake Resort. Since the boat is rather small they need to plan ahead well and we had to pick both the departure time as well as the time we wanted to go back in advance – even though it’s just a 5 mile loop it is kinda difficult to estimate how long it would take, with the camera and all that.
We hit the trail around 11 in the morning and soon ran into our friends, who made a short term change of plans and also decided to hike 20 Lakes Basin. Hiking together was fun but it also meant catching up permanently with the non-photographer people. :P Eventually, our plans to hike at a leisurely pace got squashed by – you guessed it – yet another afternoon thunderstorm.
This one really got us. There’s nothing around to find shelter. Just rocks, lakes and some sparse, scanty trees. As the rain began to really pour down, our raincoats were of limited use and we were very glad that the boat was approaching as we neared the pick-up site with the small jetty. The boat driver took as many people as possible on, and luckily, our entire group made it onto the boat.
*) Yosemite is a National Park and no dogs are allowed on the trails there – 20 Lakes Basin is in the Hoover Wilderness, and hiking with a dog is not a problem there.