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TR: Tunemah 6/24-6/29

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Re: TR: Tunemah 6/24-6/29

Postby Pato » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:10 pm

Day 5 – Lake 10,232 to Hell for Sure Lake. 11.5 miles - 3800’ elevation gain

This was our longest day, although today we would find the trail again which would make the miles a bit more manageable. The bugs were just as bad in the morning, and I couldn’t wait to get going on the 1800’ ascent up to Reinstein Pass. Progress and views were good up the granite slabs that towards the top got a bit trickier.
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Lake 10,232
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On the way up to Reinstein Pass
The terrain here turned to mild Class III or Class II with careful and monotonous route finding. I enjoy a little scrambling so I took the direct route. The views from the pass were quite nice, but we didn’t stay long as we wanted to try our luck fishing at another famous lake – Martha.
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Martha Lake from Reinstein Pass
The descent to Martha was easy and we spotted fish rising in southeast corner of the lake as we descended. I hit the lake and immediately threw in my line. I got a nice strike, but the fish spit it out. I continued to fish for about an hour, getting a few strikes but not able to land a fish. As we worked our way around the southwest shore we spotted several large cruisers to 16” or so who seemed not the least bit interested in our offerings. Finally, my buddy hooked one and had a nice 13” golden.
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13" Golden
As we continued around the lake, we saw more and more of these “cruisers” until we got to the outlet and realized what was going on – the spawn! There in the outlet, a least a hundred fish (big ones) swam in the shallows carving out redds. What an awesome sight! We decided to leave them alone and continue on. I definitely need to return here someday as I have unfinished business.
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Spawning goldens in the outlet


The descent down Goddard Canyon was lovely. We picked up a faint use trail through the meadows. Finally, we were able to stroll down a valley with little regard to the exact placement of our feet.
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Looking up Goddard Canyon
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Looking down Goddard Canyon
We transitioned down into the forested zone (something which we hadn’t seen since day 1) before finding the unmarked spur trail to Hell for Sure Pass at around 9,900’. This trail was a bit annoying as it rollercoastered up and down but there were nice views across the canyon and to Mt. McGee.
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Mt McGee and Goddard Canyon
Finally, the trail turned west and began ascending the canyon towards Hell for Sure Pass. As we ascended I found it difficult to stay on the trail as it zig zagged up the steep slope. I had become much accustomed to picking my own path, and preferred my method of ascent which, while steeper, allowed me to soak in my surroundings as I paused for breath. The view from top was magnificent as Mt Hutton dominated the skyline.
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Hell for Sure Lake from near the pass
A quick descent and we made camp at Hell for Sure. Fish at Hell for Sure was the same story 8-10” rainbows and since the bugs were just as the previous night a couple of us decided to make the walk over to Arctic Lake where I read reports of better fishing. Once at Arctic Lake, I walked over to its shaded west shore where miraculously there were no mosquitoes! Finally. Here I fished for well over an hour catching 4 fish and hooked a beautiful 13” golden, but he flopped off just as I was grabbing a hold of him for the picture. We stayed til alpenglow and walked back to camp.
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Fading light at Hell for Sure


Day 6 – Hell for Sure Lake to Courtright Reservoir. 14.8 miles - 1000’ elevation gain

As is becoming the usual for my trips, the last day was mostly a death march back to civilization. We were getting anxious to free ourselves from constant swatting, and we were missing our families so an early start and a solid pace had us back at the car by noon. About 2 miles from the trailhead we finally ran into the first people we had seen since the outward bound group on day 1. Wow…this was indeed some remote country. We arrived at the car dirty and tired yet at the same time refreshed. Funny how that is...



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Re: TR: Tunemah 6/24-6/29

Postby Fishon » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:47 pm

Thanks for the report, I'll be passing through some of the same areas next week.
It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming. -John Steinbeck
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Re: TR: Tunemah 6/24-6/29

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:52 am

Wow, terrific post for a terrific trip. Very nice combination to combine Tunemah, Goddard Creek, and Martha, too. That is some of the very best of the best when it comes to choice off trail High Sierra country.
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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Re: TR: Tunemah 6/24-6/29

Postby SweetSierra » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:59 am

I love the photo of the small lake seemingly on the lip of a drop off with the waterfall and flowers. Gorgeous. Thanks for posting.
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Re: TR: Tunemah 6/24-6/29

Postby SSSdave » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:33 pm

Nice read Plato, thanks for taking the time to write a story that always makes images more meaningful. Well done work with your camera and processing. No doubt your fishing reports will put a damper on some here who have imagined some of those waters holding larger fish. In my younger years there were many more such remote waters that actually did hold large fish. But alas many of those places only sustained such populations because of the occasional gifts of DF&G fingerling from aerial flights. And I much like giantbrookie in his journeys would feel excitement each time a new remote mystery water came into view that like with your group provides the impetus to bother making sometimes strenuous efforts to reach the next remote basin few others have been able to reach.

I am heartened to read what you saw at Martha Lake, which I have visited 3 times over the years. The worry has always been that its superb population of golden trout like that of Lake South America would eventually due to publicity be fished out. In 1980 I made a 9-day loop trip over Lamarck Col into Darwin Canyon that passed Evolution, and Davis, arriving at Martha. Climbed Goddard then went down the SF San Joaquin and back up Evolution Valley. At Martha in its remarkably clear sky aquamarine blue waters within an hour of arriving had a magnificent 16 inch golden trout, my first big fish in the Sierra. In those days horse packers were well aware of the bounty there and I witnessed first hand what inconsiderate sportsmen could do tossing out large lures as grappling hooks as though the game was to see how many they could haul back to their big campsite to impress their others.

After gb and I discussed those areas on threads a few years ago, made a thorough in and out plan from Hoffman to visit some of those areas beyond Hummingbird that is still on my to do list.
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Re: TR: Tunemah 6/24-6/29

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:05 pm

SSSdave wrote:After gb and I discussed those areas on threads a few years ago, made a thorough in and out plan from Hoffman to visit some of those areas beyond Hummingbird that is still on my to do list.

An epic trip and report indeed.
Just a pointer about Mantle Pass for those who don't know: the easy approach is from just west of Portal Lake and heading SE, and then heading SE south of the ridge and north of Hummingbird Lake, up the easy grassy slope: no talus and nothing worse than just walking. Once at the Mantle Pass area, also remember you do not have to do the talus pass at the low point, but rather face north and find the ramp/notch for easy walking over the pass which dumps you out above the lake east of the pass. All easy walking over easy terrain.
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The easy ramp/notch of Mantle Pass.
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Re: TR: Tunemah 6/24-6/29

Postby sparky » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:00 pm

Wow....paradise! Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures!
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
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Re: TR: Tunemah 6/24-6/29

Postby copeg » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:26 am

Great TR, and excellent photos to top it off! Thanks for sharing
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