Horseshoe Lake, elevation approximately 9000ft. The geology of this place has changed drastically since I was little. First of all this lake is practically empty. That huge beach should be full of water. Due to seismic shifts in the earth right at this spot, a vent of CO2 has opened up. It is killing all of the trees in this immediate area. There is nothing to be done. We my dad and I took a guided tour from Horseshoe lake up to Lake George with a ranger who explained all of this to us. She also explained that Horseshoe lake drains straight down - that the water fluctuation simply has to do with the fact that it is like a giant drain and unless there is enough run-off or rain, Horseshoe's water level fluctuates regularly.
The ranger walked us half a mile up to McLeod Lake, the lowest spot in the Sierras and part of the John Muir Wilderness. It was very windy, but I managed to get this panorama shot without too much trouble.
In the morning we had hiked up to the top of Mammoth Crest. You can see the crest in the first photo. If you locate the tree stump in the front of the image (right-ish side of the image) and go straight up to the ridge - that's where we were before the geology hike. It's about a 2000ft. climb. There were lots of clouds so it wasn't as hot as it can sometimes be. And then when we got to the top, the heavens opened up and it started hailing! So we came back down a bit and ate our sandwiches looking over one of my favorite views of Mammoth Mountain.
My dad has two brand new knees we were taking for a "test drive." He says his knees were fine. Unfortunately, the down hill trek got his toes though, lots of blisters.
So today we will take it easy and go to Bodie - a ghost town, where there will be lots of good sketching opportunities.