September 25, 2016
Tenaya Lake to Lower Sunrise Lake
Roundtrip distance: 7.5 miles
Just a week into autumn and I strolled over beaten earth heading to Sunrise Lakes. The trail was easy to start: flat and wide. The fall colors had my spirit soaring.
After a dry summer, the stream crossings were mere puddles easy to jump.
The path narrowed and led into the dark forest. Wind blew freely through the trees. My pace slowed when the trail became a tangled mess of roots and rocks.
The climb was slight at first, a granite staircase led the way. It became harder rising 1,300 feet before leveling off.
I was encouraged to keep climbing when I passed a group of winded millennials. Being much younger, I figured they would pass me once they caught their breath, but I never saw them again. As I climbed above the tree line, the view opened up to mountains of granite.
At two and one-half miles, the trail leveled and stayed steady eventually leading somewhat downhill to the lakes.
Sunrise Lakes are a group of three small lakes on the way to the High Sierra camp. The lower lake was a gorgeous blue eye of the earth and I had it all to myself.
I walked around its shore and found the best spot to sit for lunch. A breath of wind ruffled the water. Trout jumped for the fun of living in paradise. Dragonflies skimmed the water’s surface with singing wings.
The early autumn sun warmed my shoulders while I sat. Squirrels romped over the rocks oblivious to my presence. One brave rodent even grabbed my water bottle and chewed on it.
Alas, my time at the lake amidst God’s creatures came to an end. I ambled back to the car.
On the drive home, The Rivieras blasted through the radio singing, “Well they’re out there a-havin’ fun in that warm California sun,” the perfect lyrics to describe the day I had in Yosemite National Park.