California is definitely in it’s third year of one of the state’s worst droughts in the past century and a recent trip to Huntington Lake certainly confirmed our fears; California is in a world of hurt for water. Huntington Lake in the majestic high sierra mountain range brought this boldly to our attention. As we have done in years past we visited Huntington Lake at the end of August. This year the scenery was shocking. The once beautiful lake that housed 100’s of colorful, bright, bouyant sail boats sat nearly empty. Docks that once held the beautiful boats lay in the dirt,
huge rocks that usually sat beneath the water were exposed, bare and dry, and the once secluded islands were all part of the landscape, with no separation from water.
The small town of Lake Shore, which is home to a store, restaurant, bar and post office was quiet this year. Not like the lively previous years when Huntington Lake was full of water and alive.
Despite the dry conditions of Huntington Lake we still managed to have a wonderful time and we did our best to support the locals of Huntington Lake as we know they have been hit hard by the drought. I guess the saying “Saving up for a rainy day” does not apply here, it seems it the opposite, “Saving up for a unrainy day” would be more appropriate. No water means no business for the wonderful people that live here.
From what the locals told us, Huntington Lake is drained every September, but is replenished with snow melt during springtime but the rain/snow fall was again less than normal making Huntington Lake dry and desolate.
Despite the dry and less that optimal conditions we still had a great trip. From Huntington Lake there are so many great adventures, we love Huntington for this reason, it makes a great base camp for further day trips. Some of our favorite excursions this year was a trip to Mono Hot Springs, a natural hot springs high in the sierras that offers not only natural hot springs but relaxing massages and the best darn buffalo burgers around!
More must sees are Florence Lake, where a short trip via a ferry will take you to Muir Trial Ranch, a wilderness base camp and gateway for many back packers, and nature lovers a like. Have not been to Muir Trail Ranch, but from what I heard, it is a diamond in the rough, excellent food and a gateway for exploring the Sierra wilderness. A warning, getting to Florence Lake is an adventure, the road is narrow, bumpy and the cliffs are steep but that is what makes this trips so much fun. It’s not always about the end point in life, it is about the journey. A real treat!
A small store sits at the west end of the lake where you can purchase last minute and forgotten sundries is a welcome relief for those who tend to forget things on a trip.
D & F Pack Station,sits at 7000 feet and offers a variety of trailheads that lead to pristine wilderness. We are repeat riders and you can see our review at MWH Rockin’ Review
We never ran out of things to do while at Huntington Lake despite the drought and lack of water, we caught tons of fish, hiked and enjoyed the scenery. When we left we gave some positive thoughts for the upcoming year, that they would have abundant snow fall and that this beautiful lake would be full of water next year.
Thanks for coming along! Until Next Time Happy Trails