The next morning we packed up and spent the first mile of the day hiking along the JMT.
This stretch provides some fantastic views of the Kaweahs and the Great Western Divide.
The Valley below us (Tyndall creek) eventually drops to the Kern River.
Looking back along the Tyndall creek drainage.
Fat marmots. Fat marmots everywhere.
This barren place is Bighorn Plateau, another stunning spot along the southern JMT.
JMT along Bighorn Plateau.
David in Bighorn Plateau.
There is a small lake up here on the plateau, I'm surprised there is still water in it this dry year.
Just beyond the lake we veer east off the trail to begin our hike into Wright Lakes basin. It's finally time for some cross country travel.
It starts off nice and easy.
We could take the trail down to the outlet creek and follow it back up into the basin, but we hope this will be more direct and easier.
This boulder field wasn't too pleasant, but it wasn't too bad either. At least it was short.
Pavla in the boulder field.
After a while we found ourselves in some really nice terrain for cross-country travel.
Lower Meadows in Wright Lakes Basin.
We decide to head to the middle of the Basin to find a place to camp. It would put us in a good spot for dayhikes, as well as a good point to get out via Rockwell Pass (pictures, x-country pass) in a couple of days.
The basin is barren with little large scale biological life. Most trees are dead and gnarled.
We set up camp in a nice flat spot in between lakes.
View from camp towards Mt Barnard, tomorrow's destination.
Tawny Point behind camp.
Looking southwest along Wright Creek and down on the treeline.
'Our' lake. Not a single soul was around other than the three of us.
After setting up camp we spent the afternoon exploring the basin. We wandered up the inlet to 'our' lake.
The meadows are already browning and the wildflowers were pretty much done.
Cool rock walls and caves along the way.
There is a lot of beauty found in the details in this kind of terrain. The barren sweeping views are beautiful, but under our feet are all kinds of small plants and flowers, patterns in the rock, and critters.
Looking over at Barnard. Eyeing the slabs as a potential approach for tomorrow's climb. The regular route is class 1 but goes way around. We think the slabs might work until we get closer and realize they are more...overhangy...than they looked from a distance.
Pavla and David in Wright Lakes Basin.
The Tyndall to Barnard ridge looks super impressive already and we can't even see the high point yet.
This was a gorgeous hike along the outlet stream from the highest lake.
Climbing higher and we finally see the summit of Mt Tyndall poking out.
Mt Versteeg is straight ahead in the middle of the ridge. It's a fascinating ridge to look at.
Pavla coming up the drainage.
Near the top of the drainage, clouds providing some interesting shadows.
Tyndall in Shadows
Versteeg in Shadows
This place is so amazing that they haven't even named this dramatic peak.
The lake outlet. Purty.
Unnamed peak (sometimes called Tyndall Southwest)
We reach the jackpot, the high lake in the basin below Tyndall.
It's breathtakingly gorgeous, and we stop to fish and enjoy ourselves for a while.