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Penner Lake Loop, August2005

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The Penner Lake hike was the most beautiful Sierra adventure of our summer 2005. This was easily achieved, as it was the only one. Jest aside, the hike from Grouse Ridge to Penner Lake, in a loop around the lakes of the region, is truly magnificent. The pristine Penner Lake lies at 6,895 feet, and is about 5.5 miles from Grouse Ridge via the trail along Shotgun Lake, or about 4 miles going around Island Lake. We did it as a loop, first going towards Shotgun Lake and then coming back by Island Lake. We walked via the Crooked Lakes trail rather than the direct way between Penner Lake and Island Lake, to add some variety to the adventure. This image shows the actual GPS route, and this one the actual elevation profile of the hike. As can be seen from the profile, it is not a daunting hike, with reasonable elevation change. Although the last quarter mile or so back up to Grouse Ridge is always a bummer (we've hiked here before...). The GPS generated route can be downloaded here, and then can be used to guide you on this beautiful hike.
The map that we used was printed from the National Geographic TOPO! California 4.x version map software. Although a few discrepancies can be seen on the map between the marked trail and reality (as shown through our GPS generated route), the TOPO! State software is a truly indispensable tool, and should be standard-issue for any back country planning and hiking. It is part of the TOPO! family of products from National Geographic. The TOPO! California maps can be printed in any of five scales and for any area and size. What's more, they can be imported into a PDA/GPS combination device, such as the Garmin iQue, for live location tracking. Below are some other features of this great product:
A worthy alternative to the TOPO! State Series software is the DeLorme Topo North America 9.0 product. The DeLorme Topo North America 9.0 topographic map software features updated USGS topographic map and elevation data integrated with the most recent DeLorme street, trail, campground, and highway network. The newly-designed 3-D mapping engine produces lifelike views of your favourite terrain, allowing you to soar above rivers and lakes, ascend mountains, and explore new places - all from your computer. The DeLorme Topo North America 9.0 software exchanges waypoints and draw objects with most popular handheld GPS models, as well as Palm OS and Pocket PC PDAs with attached receivers.
A similar great product is the MyTopo Terrain Navigator Pro series of titles, such as the Terrain Navigator Pro California, Terrain Navigator Pro Oregon, or Terrain Navigator Pro Washington. These professional-grade software programs provide the no-nonsense mapping solution for serious outdoor business and adventures. These and other featured titles Terrain Navigator Pro Alaska , Terrain Navigator Pro New England, and Terrain Navigator Pro Texas all feature the 7.5' USGS Quads as well as recent aerial imagery for an unprecedented representation of what's out there. Some of the remaining titles include Terrain Navigator Pro Arizona, Terrain Navigator Pro New Mexico, and Terrain Navigator Pro Utah.
All of these are available from our map software on-line store.