On our last full day of camping at the Alabama Hills in California, we decided to take the hike to Lone Pine Lake along the Mount Whitney trail. We had done some late afternoon hiking on the trail a few days before and heard about the lake from some fellow hikers. From what we heard from them and our subsequent internet search of images of the lake, it sounded like our favorite kind of hike. It was about 5 miles round trip with switchbacks to help make the elevation gain a little easier and the lake looked like a lovely place to enjoy a picnic lunch.
After coffee and breakfast, we packed lunch and plenty of water and headed to Whitney Portal where the Mount Whitney Trailhead is located. It was a beautiful fall day and it is a popular trail so there were plenty of other hikers there with us. We took our time enjoying the scenery and taking lots of pictures. After about an hour and a half of hiking, we made it to the turnoff to the lake. As we approached, we could see the water sparkling through the trees but it was still a surprise when we got closer and got the full effect of the mirror-like surface of the lake. It was stunningly beautiful. We found some rocks along the shore that made a comfortable spot for us to relax and eat lunch.
After lunch, we did some rock climbing and exploring around the lake, trying to see it from all angles. After we had our fill of exploring and had taken dozens of photos, we headed back down the trail. Going downhill is always much easier and faster than climbing up but you also spot different things as your perspective changes which keeps it interesting. It was late afternoon by the time we made it back to the parking lot and headed back to our campsite. Hungry and tired from our hike, we decided to stop in Lone Pine for burgers. We got back just in time to enjoy one last beautiful sunset.