After an early morning meet up in Lone Pine with D and Ms Shasta, we head over to the Espresso Parlor. I have not seen D in over a year; there is much to catch up on.
As a warm up for Cirque Peak the following day, D suggests Meysan Lakes. (4.7 miles, 3,000 + elevation gain.)
In the gathering mid day heat we head up the steep, switch-backing trail. The view down to the Owens Valley is spectacular - to the East thunderheads are piling up over the Inyo Mountains.
I can feel my face redden with heat and exertion; below the first lake I request a break. Shasta presses close as thunder rumbles menacingly in the distance - a few warm, fat drops spatter on the trail.
The lakes (11,000 ft) are incredibly beautiful, cupped in sheer granite cirques. Mt. Mallory, Mt. LeConte and Mt. Irvine tower in the distance.
As we head back down the trail, the rain (mixed with hail) begins in earnest. We have no ponchos or other waterproof clothing and are soon completely soaked. But oddly, not cold!
As the sun sets over Mt. Whitney, pink clouds bloom against a turquoise sky. The air is warm, sweet with the scent of rain washed sage. Much later, we see mysterious lights descending from high up on the Mountaineers Route - it seems unbelievable that anyone would attempt that formidable descent in the dark.