We woke up early morning last Friday to start the sunrise drive to Mammoth and begin our backpacking adventure in the backcountry. We took the shuttle to the trailhead where our driver advised us to put on some bug spray to avoid being eaten alive. He said it with a knowingness like there was some kind of inside joke we weren’t quite picking up on. Little did we know, we’d encounter what felt like hundreds upon hundreds of mosquitoes. But, the breathtaking views and good company made it all worth it.
We started the trek to Agnes Meadow in our packs and before long, we covered ourselves from head to toe. We found an amazing camp spot in a breezy opening amongst the trees and transferred to our day packs before heading up to Shadow Lake.
Along the switchbacks and all over the trails, there was an abundance of greenery and wildflowers throughout. I’d never seen so many different varieties in one place before. It was hard not to stop and take macro photos of them all.
Part of the allure was the quietness and remoteness out here. We surprisingly ran into very few hikers along the way and mostly had the place to ourselves. There were all kinds of terrain. Rock piles, sand, dirt, grassy fields, swamp, alpine rivers, and more.
We hiked along a waterfall to get to the lake. As we climbed higher and higher, the plants became more lush and green. At the crest between two peaks, we could see the near golden hour light streaming in.
One of the things I loved about this hike was the abundance of alpine rivers and cool, fresh water we could filter out to drink.
At the top of this waterfall lay Shadow Lake. It was so still, the water looked like a mirror reflection.
We spent an hour or more enjoying the views up here, despite the mosquitoes. They even showed up in several of my photos, including the one below.
It was otherwise blissfully peaceful up here and humbling in the golden hour lighting.
Not a bad way to spend a Friday evening with good friends in a place all by ourselves.
Higher up in the rocks, Greg found a little slice of heaven free of mosquitoes.
We descended back into the valley towards sunset, with the sky painted in beautiful shades of blue, pink, and purple and the mountain tops dipped in gold.
We ended our night around the camp fire with a feast some might call “glamping.” There’s something about gazing at the stars above and sitting around a fire that warms the soul at the end of a long day. Thankfully, it also kept the mosquitoes at bay until we safely hid back in our tents later that night.
It was an amazing first day of our three-day adventure. Look out for part two of our backpacking trip in the next post!