Hike of the Week: Hiking the Hard Way

The meadow above the hard hike is worth the effort.

High above teal-blue Convict Lake south of Mammoth, at the very top of steep and rugged Convict Creek canyon, lies one of the strangest and most beautiful places in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

There’s a lake up here, deep and blue and ringed with white beaches and a big rock to sun on. The water in this lake is electric blue, a color more common to the exotic glacial lakes of Canada than here in the Central Sierra Nevada. 

There’s a creek that fees the lake and it too, is that crazy, electric blue color that glows in the dark. It meanders in lazy curls and deep pools and fish jump at the slightest cast. The water here is so clear, it looks like light if it were water.

Beyond that, past another lake and another and another, the meadow flings itself up against the big bulk of 13,123-foot Red Slate Mountain. Deep, hundred-feet deep, tight and narrow gorges carved into the grey marble rock of nearby Mt. Baldwin echo with the sound of waterfalls, dozens of them cut into the soft rock, lined with emerald moss and bright flowers. High on Baldwin’s silver slopes, giant calcite crystals the size of a man lie scattered on the grey-silver marble-rock like giant, glittering diamonds. 

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