Monday, August 12, 2013

Parker Lake Trail



The Parker Lake Trail was listed as an “easy” hike to a secluded alpine lake. And although it felt like climbing over 600 feet in the first mile was not all that easy, the second mile along Parker Creek was fairly level. The trail head can be reached off the north June Lake Loop road, about 5 miles south of Lee Vining.

The trail starts out in the scrub brush but quickly climbs into the forest, entering the Ansel Adams Wilderness.



It was cool and green along the creek. We could hear the water for most of the trail.




I just love how so many of these high altitude lakes are hidden from view. You would never know they were there, but then take a few more steps and this is what you see.



We tried walking around the lake but the trail got very steep and overgrown, so we turned back.


View of Mono Lake on the way back.


We saw some families with small children and an older couple struggling up the trail as we made our way down. We bet they would never make it all the way to the lake, but who knows. They probably read that it was an easy trail, too.

Today we just wanted a short, easy, stretch our legs kind of hike, so we went to downtown Lee Vining to walk along the Lee Vining Creek Trail. The guide said this was an easy, shady trail. Of course I know by now to never believe what the trail guides say. It’s a 1.5 mile trail along the creek to the Mono Lake Visitor Center. But most of it had no shade, and there were lots of steep, sandy, rocky ups and downs.


The hike was redeemed when I stopped to try and get a photo of a scrub jay. As I watched it fly away just as I was getting the camera ready, I spotted a familiar looking silhouette high up in an aspen tree. I think this is a long-eared owl. It intently watched us take numerous photos of it.



Yesterday I finally got a nice clear image of this female rufous hummingbird that’s been spending lots of time tormenting the cats.


Then this morning I heard a strange bird call and found this mockingbird on the feeder. I think it was squawking at it’s own reflection, but Elvis went nuts!



  1. I love today's photos, especially of the birds. The owl shots are wonderful.

    Can you imagine how the pioneers felt when they rounded a turn and saw the lakes and rivers? Must have been lifesavers for some of them. Hiking near water must be very different than some of the other hikes you take.

  2. Your pics are INCREDIBLE! Enjoy & take care!

  3. I enjoy following your travels, just beautiful pictures and how cool you got one of the owl!


  4. Lovely hike! Great shots of the owl! Owls are something we hardly ever see and certainly not in a photographable pose, so cool!

    Metamorphosis Lisa

  5. Oh my gosh...I love the owl photos. We have NEVER seen one on any of our hikes. Great shot!

  6. We have come to discover over the last six months, that hiking guides rate trails with true hikers in mind. An easy trail is considered easy for someone who hikes all the time. So when it says strenuous, you can be sure it will be extremely challenging. The only place that varies is the NP. A ranger said their trail rating are based on the nonhiker. So easy truly is a stroll in the park. Once we understood that, we were more able to select hikes that fit us best.

    You did have some beautiful scenery:) And that owl...just gorgeous! Those feathers were so fluffy. Maybe a young one?

  7. What great photos of the owl. They are not usually so cooperative.