This was our first trip, and as such it was characterized by unpreparedness. We packed way too much stuff, tried to hike way too far, and had one major equipment problem. Slideshow.
At this point, Alex began complaining that his boots didn't feel right. A quick look confirmed they were falling apart: the soles were seperating from the uppers. Hmmmm.
After resting, we came down the other side of Big Sam to Red Bug Lake. We'd planned to go on to Snow Lake at this point, but were both so tired we decided to camp here instead. It rained lightly as soon as the tent was set up, but then cleared up. Red Bug Lake is small and pretty, surrounded by grass, and full of red bugs. It's still good for swimming, though. These are two pictures of Red Bug Lake.
I slept very poorly that night, and we were generally discouraged.
From Middle Emigrant Lake, we headed cross-country up to a nameless peak above Blackbird Lake. After a nice lunch, we climbed back down to the trail and up to Red Bug Lake. On our way back through Emigrant Meadow, I took a full 360° panorama which I turned into the unusual collage at left. Notice that it's rotationally symmetric around two different points, from which you can see the trail heading off in both directions.
That afternoon, I was again feeling terrible. I wasn't hungry, I was tired, and I was having trouble thinking clearly. Suddnely, it dawned on us: altitude sickness! Alex gave me some anti-inflamitories and I took a nap. When I woke up, I was bright-eyed and happy.
The swimming at this campsite was particularly nice. The creek passed through some very narrow slots in the rock and cascaded down into beautiful granite pools. We spent hours climbing, dipping, and sitting.
From there we climbed to Middle Lewis Lake, which has to be one of the most beautiful lakes I've ever seen. We spent quite a while here, diving into the lake from the rock outcroppings. There appeared to be only one campsite at this lake, but it sure would be a nice place to stay.
We climbed further to Upper Lewis Lake and Sardella Lake before continuing to the top of Granite Dome. The view from Granite Dome was stunning in all directions. It was rather windy, though, so we spent some time huddled in the strange erosion depressions up there.
After lunch, we came back down passed Ridge Lake and Iceland Lake. From there we headed back down across a beautifully smooth granite bowl to the trail and back up to the campsite.