Backpacking Lake Mildred

Remember that time we backpacked to Mildred and Genevieve Lakes?

There is quite a few trips from this past summer that for one reason or another I wasn’t able to blog about when it was fresh in my mind. Luckily, that usually that means I must have been prioritizing something else that was pretty cool, probably ecoSUMMIT or attending a wedding. But now in the heart of winter, denied of that thin alpine air, I am ‘wistfully’ looking organizing these trips into blog posts.

Convict Lake on Convict Creek Trail

Starting Point: Convict Lake Trailhead

Entering Convict Creek Canyon

Convict Creek Canyon is this narrow little thing rising abruptly around you as you hike in.

I am calling these posts, a collection of trips that are out of season, Wanderlust Wednesdays. Heavy on the pictures I’ve forgot I had taken, light on the vivid details of painful climbs and terrorizing trials. Although if you are planning a trip up convict creek I suggest you read my other blog post, specifically dedicated to the terrorizing trails (and cool geology) leading to this place.

On the Convict Creek Trail

Backpacking Convict Creek to Genevieve Lake and  Mildred Lake

Trailhead:  To reach the trailhead turn left from Hwy 395 onto Convict Creek Rd Convict 30 many miles south of Lee Vining. After traveling about 1.75 miles turn right on a small trailhead road to reach the trailhead parking. No bear bins here. Map.

Distance: Less than 9 miles (one way) out to Genevieve Lake, we then back tracked 2.5 miles to Mildred Lake for the second night’s camp (6.5 from trailhead to Mildred Lake). We took a 5 mile side trip to Bright dot Lake from Mildred Lake complete our trip at 23 miles total according to my Garmin. Trail Map at bottom of post.

Curtis, Trails (& pup – see her trip report here), and I hiked this in late September 2015 – a fall trip to enjoy the stands of yellow aspen. The whole trail seems to take longer than the wilderness map suggests (my GPS watch agrees with this assessment). This time and space disagreement might be due to my slow plodding progress as I had carefully navigated the scarier, and then steeper, sections of trail. Lake Mildred finally greets you after a final little hump near the top of the canyon. Here Mildred appeared florescent compared to the surrounding brown meadow.

Lake Mildred, Convict Creek Canyon

Hello Mildred Lake

Mildred Lake outflow

Waters from Mildred Lake to feed Convict Creek

Curtis enjoying dog time

Break for photos and relaxation

From here start the last more-strenuous accent of the day up a pika and marmot filled scree field. This will dump you off at Dorothy Lake. Dorothy Lake is lovely, and large, and windy, and very cold looking. We decided to try our luck moving out to Genevieve Lake.

Lake Dorothy, Inyo

Ice water and sunbathing along Dorothy Lake

Sheep at Dorothy Lake

Prepare to lose some elevation in hiking down to Genevieve Lake, which was perfectly alright by us since it was a bit chilly and windy. We set up camp on a shelf beneath pika habitat on the southeastern most section of the lake. Here I could watch for pikas from the evening into the morning, falling asleep to a lullaby of chirps.

Pika camp at Lake Genevieve

Pika at Lake Genevieve

Pika among the Rocks

Waldo, the pika. Can you spot him?

Genevieve in Morning

Good Morning from Lake Genevieve

The next morning we headed back towards Mildred for side trip towards Mt Baldwin’s summit (More pictures and info next week),  camping besides Mildred Lake. This would be a difficult place to attempt camping in the wet spring/early summer months since the whole area is dominated by damp and sandy alluvial land.  Since it was a dry fall we found a spot to set up on a small mound overseeing the lake.

If there is one image I like to pull from this backpacking trip, it laying under the stars here. Looking up at the sky you can to see both sides of this narrow canyon enclose you. A personal slice of the night sky just for our enjoyment.

Looking back on Lake Mildred from the trail to Dorothy Lake

Mildred from the trail above

Mildred Lake Camp

Trails and I surveying the mucky waters for a swim. Or rinse as it turned out.

Convict Creek Backpacking Map

Convict Creek Backpacking Map – click for full size

Adios Lake Mildred

Convict Creek Trail

More Wanderlust Wednesday to come – including a side trip to Bright Dot Lake, Trip to another pika paradise on Monitor Pass, and more Eastern Sierra canyon explorations.