Bear lakes basin - Sep 29 - Oct 1 | High Sierra Topix  

Bear lakes basin - Sep 29 - Oct 1

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Postby Buck Forester » Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:22 pm

Where you're driving from is a factor indeed. If you're in the Fresno area, it is a long haul to the east side just to start the day. If you're looking at the same general area, another option would be (from Kaiser Pass) to drive towards Florence Lake then turn off before you reach the dam and go through Jackass Meadow and drive near Hooper Diversion Dam (you need good clearance in the last mile or so of this road, if not you can still pull off the road and hike a little longer). There is a unmarked trail that heads up into Hooper Basin at the base of Mt. Hooper. It's probably around 6 miles or so, and fairly steep (but nothing bad) but there is a series of lakes with goldens in them and very few people head up there. Gordon Lake is the first lake you come to and I've caught some good sized goldens in there (fat and up to 14"), then next is Harvey Lake and then Hooper Lake. Hooper Lake has lots of smaller, easier to catch goldens. For a cross-country jaunt you can hit Chamberlain Lake, which from my experience has goldens up to 12" or so. I've gone solo in there many times, but then again I'm experienced. As long as you have a map and compass or GPS (and know how to use them) you should be okay. It's a beautiful basin too. Talk your wife into going with you! :)

Bear Lakes is doable, as has been said, but I was assuming you want to "camp" there too, not just visit via a dayhike from a camp down on the Bear River. That makes it more feasible, but then you're missing the best times to be there, sunrise and sunset. There are goldens in the Bear River, especially the upper reaches, and it's beautiful country and you can dayhike to Vee and Bear Lakes, or up to Marie Lake.

If you're on the eastside and have the drive time, Cottonwood Lakes is always sweet, as suggested. Lone Pine is way down there though. But you might be coming up from L.A. (not sure where you're coming from), and if so, that'd be a great choice. It wouldn't be feasible for me from the Sacramento area because it takes most of the day just to drive down there (7 hours), which takes a chunk of my weekend right there. But I still do it, it's so beautiful! Another option is popping over Piute Pass to Muriel Lake, which has lots of small goldens. Lost Lakes above it has some larger ones, from my experience anyway. Piute Pass is a pretty easy pass, relatively speaking, and Muriel Lake is only a mile or so beyond on fairly easy terrain (with incredible sunset views!)

I'm sure if I really put my thinking cap on I could come up with a lot more suggestions, but it's late and I gotta get to bed... just wanted to think about fishing before I nodded off! Thanks! :D

P.S. Here's the topozone link to Hooper Basin I was referring to:
http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=37. ... ize=l&s=50
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/



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Hooper Basin

Postby cmon4day » Tue Sep 26, 2006 7:45 am

I just came down out of that basin 3 days ago. Beautiful spot. Came over Crazy Pass from Rose Lake. Crazy Lake looks barren. The creek in the meadow is loaded with fish. Harvey Lake where we camped has only one fish left. Didn't go to Gordon Lake, should have fish. The trail down is brutal, my knee still hurts.

Vic
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Hunters Camp on Hooper Trail

Postby cmon4day » Tue Sep 26, 2006 7:55 am

On the way down we came across a hunters camp. They had shot a deer and gutted it right there. The animals had scatterred the deer parts and the area was littered with trash. I was bothered by it. Not so much the deer but the lack of respect for the Wilderness. We picked up the trash and packed it out.

Buck, If you think that trail is "not to bad", you are my hero. I thought that trail was brutal, 2500' in less than 2 miles. I went down, I can't imagine going up.

Vic
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Postby tory8411 » Tue Sep 26, 2006 8:41 am

You guys rock!
Thanks for all the help. I'm still itching to get to Bear Lakes Basin. I checked out Cottonwood and think I could get there from Fresno no problem, just have to leave a little earlier. I do think I've got my wife okay with me driving up late Thurs night to acclimate (that's at least a little helpful). If you don't mind one last assessment, let me give you as accurate a description as possible of my physical conditioning and let me know if you think BLB is a doable venture:
1. triained about six weeks, 3 days a week, stairs at Fresno State stadium, prep for South Lake to North Lake loop
2. completed SL to NL in 3 1/2 days, largely due to mosquitoes, at the end of July. Ended up doing 20 miles on 3rd day from outlet at Evolution Lake to past Hutchinson meadow. (that kicked my butt, just tried to get away from them buggers, didn't work)
3. Felt pretty good that whole trip except for that one day, but recovered well and was ready to go next morning.
4. Haven't been on an extended trip since, only a handful of day hikes, nothing more than 10 miles.
5. Otherwise haven't been training much.
6. Only a couple pounds heavier.
7. Pack weighs in at 33#, that's with food and water (5 1/2# is the tent which is a three-man, I don't have a solo tent yet)

I would love to take my wife and daughter, but, I have yet to find a pack large enought to carry all of the items needed to make my wife feel as though she hasn't left the house. It needs to be able to fit a few strangely shaped items too, i.e. mattress (not air, Sealy or the like), fairly long extension cord, plethora of oddly shaped brushes/pencils/and powders, large mirror, oh and a mini-fridge. I think I saw one that might do the job in Cabela's, but I think it was only good hooked up to a tow hitch. Maybe I can modify it!

In all seriousness, my goal is to get my wife into the outdoors as soon as possible with our little girl. We'll have to ease her into it, but i believe there is hope. If nothing else, my little girl and I will be all over the backcountry as soon as she's big enough.

Thanks again! You all never disappoint.
Tory
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Postby hikerduane » Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:38 pm

tory8411, aka Family Sherpa, sounds like you could come with me anytime. You are in great shape. Those mosquitos at Hutchinson Meadow are pretty notorious, to miss them, go late Sept. or later. Pooch and I had a terrific stay there about 4 years ago, his last trip I believe.

To "break" the wife in, take the family on weekend campground overnighters or dayhikes to get them used to a little dirt if you don't do that kind of thing already. If the wife doesn't like a little sweat and dirt at night, bring a solar shower to clean up at night, they work great or stay at campgrounds where there are showers and maybe flush toliets. Not all campgrounds are that nice, some are just a little too quaint or rustic may be the word. Bring some ice chests with all the goodies you might want to enjoy and some special items to make the trip more memorable. The idea is to get them over the idea they may have that it isn't much fun or interesting out there/here. Good luck.
Piece of cake.
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Postby giantbrookie » Tue Sep 26, 2006 8:30 pm

Goodness, I can't believe I didn't see that you were going from Fresno, in spite of the fact that I live here too. On the other hand, Cottonwood is probably in the 6 hour range driving (probably faster going around the horn to the south) and Bear Creek Diversion dam is about 2.5 to 3 hours of driving from Fresno so the driving deficit one way is say 3.5 hours and the hiking difference in time of Bear Basin vs Cottonwood is likely larger than that although if you're doing Bulldog Stadium to condition yourself your doing pretty well. During my peak death march years I once did stadium stairs regularly and it served me very well. I also agree that from Fresno the Gordon/Hooper, etc. basin is easier to reach than Bear Basin. I guess it depends on how exotic a playground you wish to hike to versus the fishing time/(hiking + driving) time ratio. Cottonwoods and Hooper offer the best ratio (Hoopers probably best overall from Fresno), but I think Bear Basin is the most magical of the three.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby Buck Forester » Tue Sep 26, 2006 10:47 pm

Doh! That's one of my three most favoritest golden spots. Shhhhhhhh!!!!!

Hey, we're all like family... no one will say a word! What happens on High Sierra Topix stays on High Sierra Topix. :D
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
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Postby tory8411 » Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:47 am

Thanks again everyone. I am almost 100% certain I'm shooting for Bear Lakes Basin. I do think I'm going to stop just above Bear Meadow the first night though. Then get up early and hit the basin. Might be a wee bit cold up there.
Also, I am sharing my only secret spot as a small token of my appreciation. I know it isn't much, but it's all I can give now. As this is my first attempt at posting a picture, I hope it works. This is a very small lake, unnamed, just northeast along the ridgeline from Upper Geraldine Lake. It's not much of a pond, maybe 3 acres big is all. We caught many small fish out of Upper Geraldine and as it was getting late decided to try and find a small pond we saw on the map. Sure enough we found it. Normally you see a ton of little ones cruising the banks, but we didn't see any sign of life. No deterring us though, we launched our lines all the way to the middle (that's how small it was) a few minutes passed and then... WHAM! The largest high sierra lake trout I've ever caught. We ended up catching two each, all C&R. We didn't see any smaller fish at all. Just those four. But it made for great stories and excitement.

Thanks for all your help, I hope this worked.

http://www.photo.net/photos/Tank%20Sherman

http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=36. ... &layer=DRG
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Postby tory8411 » Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:50 am

if you click on the link, then my name and then single photos you can see the lake, and the fish.

Thanks.
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Postby giantbrookie » Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:17 am

tory8411 wrote:if you click on the link, then my name and then single photos you can see the lake, and the fish.
Thanks.


Thanks for the tidbit. I actually had that little lake in my sights for a trip early this season, along with the Geraldines, Twins, and the ever-reliable Spanish Lakes. The fact that's a rainbow in a lake that probably doesn't have natural reproduction may in fact mean that the lake receives a few fingerlings every now and then. If it isn't be air dropped, there wouldn't have been any drops since 2000, which usually translates to fishless 6 years out. Too bad about small ones in the Geraldines (small in the lower one, too?). I was hoping they'd be better.

Best of luck in Bear Basin. I'm pretty sure you'll have your first golden (and then some) under your belt by the end of the trip, and there is also a good chance you'll catch some good sized ones.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby quentinc » Wed Sep 27, 2006 7:43 pm

A belated plug for Bear Lakes Basin -- it's one of the greatest spots in the Sierras. My only caveat is that I absolutely loathed the East Fork trail from JMT to Seven Gables Lakes. It stays high above the creek for no reason at the beginning. Then, near the top, it sort of peters out and ends up in brush. It's not clear when to cross the creek (which might avoid some of the brush) -- there seem to be sketchy use trails on both sides of it.

I much prefer cross-countrying in over the pass between Gemini and Seven Gables, although that would make it a longer trip if you're starting at Lake Edison (rather than Florence).

Thank god for the East side, where you can enter via Italy Pass or Feather Pass.
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Postby copeg » Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:06 pm

Tory, sounds like you've chosen Seven Gables...have fun on your trip. You will catch some goldens I assure you.

Quentinc brings up a good point (well two, it is an awesome spot) about the use trail to Seven Gables. I was actually somewhat frustrated because I expected this section to be quicker than it actually was - normally wouldn't have cared but it being a 3 day trip I was ancy to get there. If you really want to practice your route finding, don't read this ;) Keep an eagle eye out for cairns and the use trail. As you head up the lower part of the use trail, it will cross the creek from north to south around here. Then recross to the northeast side of the stream about here. Then recross just below a falls here and then you should go around the west side of the lake north of Stub Lake. What frustrated me was my map, which looked like the travel was easy, but in reality somewhat complex (but I guess fun at the same time :D )
Have fun
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