Cottonwood Lakes


A few of us took a glorious trip to the Cottonwood Lakes in the Inyo National Forest. It was a two night adventure above 10,000 feet. Nature is awe inspiring and humbling: Huge granite mountains, deep clear lakes teeming with trout, constant epic views and peaceful silence.

Notes to myself

  • Consider lightweight gaiters to prevent rocks/twigs/etc from getting into shoes. Stopping every mile to remove rocks is tiresome.
  • Trekking poles are tempting but not sure I need them. If I do get them, I might consider a shelter that uses them as tent poles.
  • Brought too much food as always.
  • Hat was dorky but indispensable.
  • Mountain House should be eaten as a last resort. It’s just so overloaded with salt and sugar. Much much preferred Patagonia Provisions.
  • Toe bruising caused by impact of sock/front shoe. Getting new shoes will help.
  • Bear canisters are no joke. Bulky, heavy, annoying.
  • Measure Aquamira drop sizes. I was out of AM drops way too early due to miscalculation. Don’t be afraid to bring more than necessary; it’s very light.
  • Always test critical equipment, even if it’s a backup. My Sawyer mini was clogged and couldn’t push any water through. Bad since my AM drops ran out, but luckily was with people with their filters.
  • The altitude was brutal. Would nearly pass out after just 50 steps on some ascents. Need to spend more time acclimating instead of jumping right into a strenuous hike.
  • Camp chair was nice, but, wondering if a lightweight hammock would be appropriate too.
  • Map skills are important. Found myself continuing to guess vs. “knowing.” Need to buy a compass with declination
  • Better maps would have helped too, like using caltopo. Oh, it would be cheaper too.
  • Should probably have found my small scissors instead of packing my pocketknife.
  • Use lip balm. The high alpine winds and sun are brutal.
  • Should check for leukotape in my med kit.
  • Pooping: Prep area, get TP out, take off gloves, then do your business.