TR: 1st lake at Chain Lakes | High Sierra Topix  

TR: 1st lake at Chain Lakes

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

TR: 1st lake at Chain Lakes

Postby thepreciselife » Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:38 pm

So after months of research/planning my gf and I decided to take advantage of the 3 day 4th of July weekend (also my birthday) and go on our first backpacking trip to Chain Lakes.

We picked up our permits and bear canister in Oakhurst then drove to Quartz Mountain Trailhead (which took 2 hours to go 16 miles on that crazy unpaved road in her Scion iQ haha)

Due to some confusion and not so greatly detailed map, we ended up at the end of the road thinking we were at the trailhead so we started from there at around 12:30pm.

There was a poorly visible trail that led down to that first marshy lake (doesn't have a name on the map) and once there we ran into an older couple that told us we went past the turnout to the trailhead and suggested on our way back, we hike to the trailhead, hide our packs, walk to where we left the car and then come back for them (which we did)

At the beginning of our hike I told my gf it wasnt worth it for us to get injured, burnt out, or sick from the high altitude so if anything felt off or she was tired to just let me know so we can stop and not risk anything. Because of many breaks, and mostly uphill hike, it took us a little over 5hrs to backpack the 6 miles. Once we laid our eyes on the first lake, the whole hike before that was just a faint memory as we were awestruck by the beauty of the lake and its glow in the sunset. We quickly set up camp between the trail and the lake and started cooking our spaghetti dinner (elbow noodles, and meat sauce) called it a night around 8pm and woke up the next morning with our bodies aching from the hike and cold night so we decided we would just save our energy and stay at the first lake for the day, since we would hike out the next day.

Man oh man, Im sure the other 2 lakes were even more beautiful, but nothing beat having a whole lake to yourself with your girlfriend. We hiked around to the east side of the lake and found a nice rocky area that went into the water and hung out there for the day, enjoying the sun and the cool breeze. Had horrible luck with the fishing pole I brought for the trip, reel kept getting stuck and my line would rip when I would cast it, sending my fly and weights into the lake but I did end up catching a small 6inch trout, too small for dinner so I let him go but it was still a fun experience.

Went back to camp around 4pm and hung out til dinner time then called it at night so we could get as much rest for our hike out. 3rd day we got up around 7, ate breakfast and packed up then hit the trail... this time it only took us 3 hours.

Words cannot explain how amazing of an experience that was, we really pushed ourselves during the hike it but the juice was sooooooo worth the squeeze even though we just seen the first lake. Ive never even been camping, skipped that whole experience and went for backpacking haha.

P.s. no water taste as delicious as fresh, cold, filtered mountain water.

Here are some photos
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Some panorama action
Image
Image
Not until you take that first breathe of fresh air surrounded by nature, will you realize this is where you were meant to be.



User avatar
thepreciselife
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:25 pm
Location: West Covina, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR: 1st lake at Chain Lakes

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:28 pm

Great to read that you and your GF had a fun experience, this will open
the door for many future trips to the Sierra! :)
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8029
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: TR: 1st lake at Chain Lakes

Postby SweetSierra » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:18 pm

One of my first backpacks was to the upper chain lakes. Twice we had snow flurries in July. On one of the trips with my brother and his wife, we ate a salad I'd brought in a plastic bag and dove into the tents because it was so cold. I have fond memories of my last trip there with my brother, his wife, and my ex-husband. We stopped at the first lake and had a great time talking and hanging out. It's a great first backpack trip, I think.
Who needs to camp first? :) Thanks for posting.
User avatar
SweetSierra
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 12:23 pm
Location: Nothern California
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR: 1st lake at Chain Lakes

Postby rlown » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:35 pm

Glad you had a good trip. That tent looks like it would sleep 4! Might want to look for a smaller tent going forward as that thing looks nice but heavy.

Pretty obvious from the pics that the skeeters are mostly gone.

It's too bad you didn't take the 10 mins hike to the second lake. When base camping and you pick a spot like you did at the lower Chain, you can leave your stuff there and do the day hikes, but I understand the pain of the next day after the first day of the hike in.

On your reel failure, it sounds like maybe you had too much line on it and it looped up on you. You have to check that with every cast, and if there's a loop, you have to strip off line until it's clear and rewind the line back on under a bit of tension. New line will twist loops on you, esp if you fill the spool too full or counter to the lay of the line. But, a fish is a fish, so keep trying.

Nice first trip :thumbsup:
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5328
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: TR: 1st lake at Chain Lakes

Postby thepreciselife » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:07 am

Yea I was a little bummed we didn't go up, but we were pretty drained. So we played it real safe.

As for the tent, it was the same width as our 2 sleeping pads next to each other so it wasn't too heavy but we did learn a lot about carrying what was truly necessary and what our bodies can handle but either way, it was totally an unforgettable experience and the start to many more trips. There is another 3-day weekend in September for us so I already want to start planning another trip.

I hadn't noticed but the inside of the plastic shell for the reel had a crack in it, and it would snag the line in there, it was a w.e reel/rod combo my friend let me have so next time, Ill have an upgrade.

Another Panorama
Image
Not until you take that first breathe of fresh air surrounded by nature, will you realize this is where you were meant to be.
User avatar
thepreciselife
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:25 pm
Location: West Covina, CA
Experience: N/A


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: andymorgosh, grains, LMBSGV, mkbgdns and 12 guests