July 29 - August 5, 2021.    Sierra North.    A solo backpacking seven day / six night ramble in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, with a car camping night before near Mammoth to acclimate. This trip focused on the lesser-visited lakes in this very popular area. It was a very balanced trip. Some exploring. Some botanizing. Some just slowing it down and feeling the quiet peace of the place.

The trip neatly divides in two. The first 3-1/2 days, starting from Devil's Postpile, explored the uncrowded lakes at the top of the King Creek Drainage: Fern, Anona, Holcomb, Superior, and Beck, plus a few unnamed ponds. (I didn't make it to Ashley.) The first two galleries below cover this. Then I came almost all the way back down to Devil's Postpile. But when I hit the John Muir Trail, rather than turn south toward the Postpile, I turned north. The second part of the trip then explored lakes on and off the JMT farther north. The last three galleries cover these. The JMT is a busy route, but two of the areas I visited -- the Edith/Castle Lakes basin and Cabin Lake -- were over mile back infrequently-maintained side trails. No crowds there. I did spend my last night at a very popular place, Garnet Lake. But even there, by going far enough around the lake, I was pretty much away from it all too. Out via the River Trail to Agnew Meadows on the last day, with a bus shuttle ride back to my car in Mammoth.

While I had visited the Garnet Lake outlet area in 2010 and had entered at Red's Meadow in 2015, the last time I travelled the points between was in 1990, when I did the popular Ediza / Iceberg / Cecelia / Minaret Lakes loop. This year's trip had only a very little overlap with any of these. In particular, the second part of the trip provided me an opportunity to hike a part of the JMT I had never been on before. I had discounted this as a relatively less interesting chunk of the Muir Trail. Some was, but some most certainly was not.
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