I’m developing a routine. It works like this: Go for a sunrise hike, when there are few people. Afterward I drive to another trailhead—that’s now crowded—to scout the next day’s hike.
Case in point, yesterday I went to Convict Lake to see what was up. Nowhere left to park, but I found the trailhead and got a feel for the place. This morning I arrived there shortly after sunrise. Plenty of parking, and it was just me and some anglers as I hiked the loop around the lake.
About half way along, I detoured down a game trail that led to others at the base of the mountains. No anglers there, just me and some deer. A boulder provided a perfect spot to sit and be in blissful peace. Or peaceful bliss. Whichever. It was great.