Sunday, August 04, 2013

Alpine Lakes Loop Trail, Great Basin National Park, Nevada

Stella Lake (with Mt. Wheeler in the background), Great Basin National Park, Nevada
( if you've seen my previous post about Lehman Cave, could you imagine underneath this alpine lake and mountain peak is that beautiful marble cave with all those rare cave formations? Earth is beautiful, inside and out! )

Great Basin National Park, in Baker, Nevada, is a land of great diversity, where hot desert valleys meet cool mountain ranges. It is home to ancient bristlecone pines, rock formations, fossils, springs, caves, creeks, and even a lone glacier in Nevada. At the time we were there July 1- July 3 this year, the desert valley was at 115 degree Fahrenheit ( 46 Celsius), yet Lehman Cave, the first place we explored was at 50 degree Fahrenheit ( 10 Celsius). After exploring Lehman Cave, we hiked Alpine Lakes Loop trail, where the temperature was 72 degree Fahrenheit ( 22 Celsius).

Here are some basic information regarding Alpine Lakes Loop Trail:

Trailhead: Bristlecone Parking Area.
Aspen Grove at the Trailhead
 ( I could imagine how much more beautiful this trail would be with vivid yellow aspens in the fall)

Mileage: 2.7 miles loop trail, 600 ft gain that starts at 9,800 ft elevation (which means you will reach 10,400 ft elevation). There are various trails that can be continued from this loop, such as Bristlecone Pine and Glacier Trail and Wheeler Peak trail.

Alpine Lakes Loop trail connects two lakes, Stella Lake and Teresa Lake, both totally freezes in the winter. We hiked in the counterclockwise direction, so the first lake we saw was Stella Lake. In the very first picture above of Stella Lake, notice the reflection, the wind was a little bit calm when we got to the lake, so there were not much ripples then. After taking a few pictures, we could feel the wind strongly blowing on us, and slowly, the reflection disappeared for more ripples on the water.
Us Taking Memories of Stella Lake ( reflection in the water here slowly disappearing because of wind)
By the time we were done taking pictures of ourselves, the lake was already filled with ripples. 
Stella Lake
We were glad to at least see the different conditions of the lake, when the air was calm, and when it was windy. :) We could see patches of snow at the slopes of Mt. Wheeler. It was amazing for us to see the patches of snow on the mountain knowing that at the desert floor, it was 115F(46C)! Yet where we were was cool enough that snow still lingers. Though of course we know the thermodynamics behind this phenomena and we have experienced it many times already, but somehow, experiencing it again still makes us thankful and appreciative of our AMAZING EARTH.

After Stella Lake, we continued following the trail counterclockwise to the next lake. While hiking, we saw two hikers who were hiking with their inflatable raft.
Hiking the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail with their Inflatable Rafts
I could not help but took them a picture since they gave us an idea to do the lake hopping too, our style. :) We do not have inflatable raft, but we thought of swimming in every lake or every stream in our next hikes if time allows.
The trail is mostly in the middle of pine forest, however, we did not see any bristlecone pine yet. Though we were excited to see an ancient bristlecone ( ancient because they are the world's oldest living things), but we were not in a hurry since we would be hiking the Bristlecone and Glacier trail the next day. Before reaching the 2nd lake in the loop trail, we saw a stream so richly lined with wildflowers. We could not resist of course but stop and take a lot of pictures. :)
Stream lined with wildflowers
Following the course of this stream, we soon saw Teresa Lake. 
Stream coming from spring and feeding Teresa Lake
Teresa Lake
Teresa Lake is smaller compared to Stella Lake. Actually, both lakes are small, but beautiful with the rugged landscape adorning their surrounding. 
Teresa Lake and Mt. Wheeler
After Teresa Lake, we continued to follow the trail, and in a short while, we reached the junction, one trail goes back to the parking area, and the other one goes to Bristlecone and Glacier trail. Because of the time of day, we decided to hike the Bristlecone and Glacier trail the next day, and took the trail back to the parking lot. 

We were happy to note that we did not feel the 600 ft elevation gain at above 10,000 ft elevation ( thinner air), which meant we could do a lot more hiking in our next destination which would be at above 10,000 ft elevation as well.

After the hike, before resting in our hotel, we stopped to take in the desert valley and mountains, at Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive.
 The Great Basin Mountains at Higher Elevation
The Great Basin Desert Valley Below
as you can tell, we all were busy with camera. Hubby's niece was taking picture of desert below. I was busy reviewing my pictures. While hubby was busy taking picture of us :) 
Mt. Wheeler Cirque and Nevada's Lone Glacier from afar, the Rock Glacier
( looking at where we would be hiking the next day)
 Lehman Cave, Milky Way, and Alpine Lakes Loop, at Great Basin National Park, in Baker, Nevada.

What is next?.....

Bristlecone and Glacier Trail, an ancient forest with some of the Earth's oldest living things at 5000+ years old, and Nevada's only glacier, in my next post. 
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  1. Just beautiful. I can imagine how peaceful the place is.

  2. Such a beautiful place. Mountains always make things more beautiful.

  3. This are the place that makes us amazed and will ease our worries! As i imagine walking down the valley, it makes me happy and contented. hoping to go on one of this place soon!

  4. it is funny most people think of Nevada as very desert-like, but i remember this spot from many years ago - thanks for the memory push.

  5. Very breathtaking scenery! Perfect for those that love the outdoors just like you! The 1st photo reminds me a grizzly bear i've seen in one movie long time ago.!

  6. The pine trees at the bottom makes it even more picturesque!

  7. The views are just so pretty and magnificent, Betchai..Gorgeous photos as always!

  8. Khai busy taking pictures of you is nothing new right...haha, I can imagine his delight watching you so engrossed with your many beautiful blue here!!! even the stream lined with wild flowers..and they are pink ha, has a tinge of blue on the water reflection! I just love Teresa Lake!!! and yes, nature so beautiful inside and out...and you take photos of it magnificently...joyful joyful and looking forward to viewing the next adventures!!! :) love yah...

  9. Those wild flowers are gorgeous! I wish I could go with your adventures Ate hahaha..

  10. The wild flowers themselves look very beautiful overlooking the serene stream. Zen~:D

  11. That is absolutely beautiful. I would love to visit there and see it with my own eyes. Your camera takes great photos.

  12. heehee, KTL is so much like M who loves to play as a paparazzi.

    thank you again Beth for letting me have a glimpse of the AMAZING EARTH in your side of the world. you never fail to satisfy my thirst for nature, you never fail to remind me that GOD is simply AMAZING! you are so very blessed to be witnessing up close all His masterpieces.

  13. In Honesty, there are few times na malungkot watching your amazing photos. Why? Forgive ako ni God, if minsan i get envious, kasi dream ko rin marating ang mga places na yan. But hindi mag-materialize. I believe, God has other plans for me.

  14. awesome photos Betch... I can just imagine myself with you, standing in awe and wonder viewing one of God's creations. Hope I can hike with you in one of your future travels, lol... strange but that photo of the big tree trunk defined the whole place for quiet and peaceful... daw kanami gid i-hug ang ina nga tree. :-)

  15. All of those photos you had were really tremendously beautiful. I hope I can visit those places in the future. Thanks for sharing all of this fantastic views. I'm looking forward to see more of your interesting post.

  16. Wow,I envy you for being there! The world is indeed beautiful!

  17. Great photograph and the information. Really liked your blog. All about i share too the Joys of simple life. I must follow your blog.
    Always looking forward to meet nice people like you who do love nature and life.
    Have a good day and stay blessed.

  18. wild and beautiful! postcard worthy photos :-)

  19. Earth is beautiful, inside and out!

    This is so true.

  20. simply awesome. how i envy your trips and hikes. wish i am fitter haha

  21. This is some serious hiking. Especially with the lake loop trails. We would make a long weekend out of a trail like that. :-)