A Late Fall Quick Jaunt
My brother Ed and I did a sort of spur of the moment trip to Mt. Langley after we cut short a trip we were on that started from the Western side of the Sierras. (The trip was cut short due to equipment problems.) We knew it was late in the year and the ranger said a storm was supposed to be coming in a couple of days, so we kept our eye on the weather, but viewed this as an easy trip in which we would bring beer and do some fishing. Hiking this late in the fall means the days are shorter and the nights are colder. When we got up to the parking lot at Horseshoe Meadows that is the trail head for Mt. Langley in the dark on October 1, 2011, it was already freezing at night, and that night we slept in the car. The first day we made a leisurely trip up to Cottonwood Lakes and had beer in the afternoon (the lake kept our cans of beer nice and cold). On the second morning we went up Old Army Pass and then up to Mt. Langley. Although it is not difficult at all, there is no real trail shortly after the turn off beyond the top of Old Army Pass. It was really cold and windy, especially on top of Mt. Langley. Although it is hard to really estimate the wind, it had strong enough gusts at times that one had to walk into it, and we needed gloves due to the wind chill. In fact, our stay on top was cut short not due to time, but to the freezing wind chill. We got back to camp early, tried our hand at fishing (no luck there), had some more beer, and then got to sleep early. That night it snowed. I was using a tarp tent, and the weather was not kind to it. The next day we fished some more in the morning and left once we finished the rest of our beer, and just in time, because a big storm came in and dropped a bunch of snow beginning that night. So this little jaunt turned out to be quite enjoyable and finished just in time.
When one does a trip like this to Mt. Langley it is a very fun, picturesque and leisurely trip. It is suitable for people with very little hiking experience because the mileage is short and easy, and the scenery is wonderful. I suspect the fishing is better at other times of year.