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Green Lake, Hooover Wilderness

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Green Lake, Hooover Wilderness

Postby balzaccom » Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:03 am

Before the earthquake hit our town, we did have a very nice trip up Green Creek this past weekend. This is another nice trailhead on the East side of the Sierra, via the Hoover Wilderness. It's an area we'd been wanting to explore ever since we looked down the canyon from the Virginia Lakes trail and saw lake after lake.

The trail up to Green Lake is a very pleasant stroll up the canyon. Some of it runs alongside Green Creek, and none of it gets too steep. You couldn't ask for a better start to a backpacking trip. And we didn't see anyone at all on the trail on Friday afternoon.

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True, the weather was breezy, but that just added to the pleasure of the hike. Once at Green Lake, however, the trail changes entirely. It's a steep climb of about 1,000 feet in about a mile, and while it starts out in broken forest, the last part is through the kind of rough scree that we remembered from Bloody Canyon. And now the wind had picked up even more.

By the time we arrived at West Lake, it was howling, and we spent some time looking for a campsite that might be a little sheltered. There were not many options, but we found one hidden behind both rocks and bushes that cut the wind to a dull roar. And we are not joking about that. At one point we looked up to see if a low flying jet was in the air above us--but no, it was just the wind howling through the trees, and blowing spume off the lake in a cloud. There were whitecaps slapping against the shore, and the tops were getting blown off by the wind.

It was not exactly relaxing, but we did manage to make dinner, and as the wind lessened in the evening, take a stroll along the ridge to see the sights. The photo above is of the small tarn just below West Lake--which seemed to have better fishing than West Lake itself. The wind slowly died down over the course of the night, and the next morning dawned calm and beautiful.

And cold. In fact, we had ice in the water bottle, and a thin film of ice on our tent. You can see that if you look carefully at the photo below. So we took a few extra minutes to get out of our bags and get warmed up before we started the day---hitting the trail at the luxurious hour of about 9 a.m.

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We explored round the lake a bit, and then headed back to Green Lake, where we picked up the trail to East Lake, Nutter Lake, and Gilman Lake. Nice hiking. Gradual slopes on the trails, not many people, and perfect weather.

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We finally stopped for lunch at Gilman Lake, where we took a small (and very steep) spur use trail down to the outlet. There was barely room to sit down here, but it made for a quiet spot on a lake that most people just hike past.

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That's M above, enjoying the view ( and not sitting down!) at the outlet of Gilman Lake.

And then, perhaps because of a premonition about the earthquake, or just a desire to sleep in a bed that night, we hiked back out and drove back to our cabin above Sonora.

But this is a really nice area. We'd like to come back and explore a bit more, do some fishing, and add to our list of memories...

Full photo report here:

https://picasaweb.google.com/balzaccom/ ... ilderness#
Balzaccom

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Re: Green Lake, Hooover Wilderness

Postby SSSdave » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:39 am

The original Wilderness Press Sierra North I believe had the Hoover Lakes in the Green Creek basin on the cover and related East Lake at just 3.5 miles from the trailhead was one of the best easy trips something which I quite agree with and have advised others as an excellent introductory High Sierra backpacking destination. Given it is rather remote and down a long dusty, bumpy, road in a national forest that does not take reservations, one is not likely to have problems getting a walk-up permit except on holidays.

Not a fan of the east shore of Green Lake because it is beat up and West Lake is rather exposed and unpleasant if breezy. The East Fork of Green Creek above the confluence is an example of one of my best Sierra destinations less than 2 miles from a trailhead that almost never sees even day hikers much less backpackers. Want seclusion and a quick easy hike? Besides there not being a trail one has to cross Green Creek which is not a big deal if one accepts having to wade a bit across a minor sized stream and then negotiate some irregular cross country.
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Re: Green Lake, Hooover Wilderness

Postby ryboards » Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:47 pm

We did the hike from virginia lakes to green creek campground-we dubbed it the horseshoe hike. It was awesome. We camped at gilman, caught a bunch of solid brookies, and enjoyed the scenery. that was the first week in october 2012. the following weekend it snowed a bunch up there.
good times.
The mountains are calling and I must go.

~John Muir
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