Rusty Sand Vee Lake Reflection of Seven Gables
full print size of 18.6x24.6 inches @304.8ppi, above displayed at 1/138
Copyright © David Senesac 2000 view detailed crop
John Muir Wilderness, Sierra National Forest, Fresno County
early morning Tuesday August 8, 2000, slide 00O8-1
Pentax 67 AEII, 55-100mm, Benbo Trekker
Drum scanned Kodak EPN100 220 film to 200mb RGB file
Adobe Photoshop 6.0 processed for accurate image fidelity
Lightjet5000 printed on Fuji Crystal Archive paper
signature bottom mid left
This is an image of Vee Lake at 11,163 feet on Bear Creek which is tributary to the South Fork of the San Joaquin River. In the background is one of the more unique Sierra Nevada peaks, Seven Gables at 13,040+ feet at a distance of about one and a half miles. Vee Lake is so named because of its shape that on maps appears as a V with the vertex-pointing west. This image was taken from a small shallow cove on the north shore. Below the near snow field mid left one can see a sliver of the main lake. The outline of the sloping granite ridge immediately behind that sliver forms an acute angle where the lake's outlet drops down 200 feet to the basin bottom. Much of the lower features of this landscape have been smoothed out from glacial periods during the last one million years, with the last occurring just 10,000 years ago. As such the surface of the granite in many places has barely eroded and in fact one can see smooth glacial polish in some places. In the foreground is a smooth rusty beach of coarse granite sand apparently with iron oxide leached out from iron minerals in the granite locally within this bay. Vee Lake is home to a healthy population of beautiful golden trout.
Below the dual notched peak, a steep cliff drops 850 feet to one of several permanent snowfields below a semicircular northeast-facing wall. By late summer much of these snowfields will have disappeared leaving a few areas with old dense, dirty snow. During winter southwest storm winds blow drifting snow over that wall which falls below to that protecting calmer lee side where deepest snow accumulates. The weighty and sometimes avalanching snow along with another process of frost wedging in cracks slowly removes rock increasing the height of the cliff face. Below the snowfields one can see talus fans of such rock debris. When the accumulation of talus piles up too high, snow avalanches knock its boulders loose sweeping all across the middle smooth section of bedrock which contributes to additional talus unseen in this view, on the canyon bottom. Notice how some of the talus fans each orient from steep feeding chutes above.
Below Seven Gables and its snowfield, one will note some greenish patches where snowmelt re-surfaces from the talus over exposed bedrock. Such turfy areas often have a colorful colony of wildflowers. More turf with its thick rug like matrix of grass and other plants as arctic willow can be seen immediately behind the foreground cove. Note the stunted whitebark pine, pinus albcaulis, finding wind protecting slots in the monolithic granite at the top of the slope at right. Enough such trees to support a healthy local population of chipmunks with belding ground squirrels inhabiting the turfy areas.
Just above the right edge of the right of two prominent rocks in this cove is an inconspicuous gray tent belonging to my brother Joe. This was the fourth morning of our nine-day backpack out of the Bear Diversion Dam trailhead. Shortly after taking this image, I ventured to another nearby most pleasant site for which we pulled up stakes and camped at a couple nights. Later this morning a friend, who had planned to be on the trip with us but had come down with an intestinal bug just before the trip, showed up after making a marathon two-day march up to this remote wilderness locale. Due to difficult terrain in the canyon below, this East Fork of Bear Creek basin is only accessed by backpackers on foot via a crude often hard to follow trail or via a couple well known cross country routes higher in the basin.
For this image, I tripoded to put the snowfield reflection to fit between the two prominent rocks in this cove while fitting in the full reflection of Seven Gables and allowing some color from the rusty sand at near foreground. Then as usual waited some for the slight sumping morning breeze to fully quell.