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TR Lost Lake and Beyond. Sept 25-27 2014

Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:58 pm
by Thebrenner
September 25, 2014
Horse corral to Lost lake.

I left Santa Barbara at 4pm yesterday; 5 and a half hours and 300 miles later I arrived at Azalea campground in Sequoia National Park. I awoke this morning to a semi clear Sierra sky and wind. Lots of wind. Driving at night and awakening in a new place at the start of an adventure always feels like a bonus day. I didn't spend precious daylight driving and now I have a full day ahead.
I was surprised at how warm it was last night and this morning. But that is all about to change come tomorrow.
I picked up a walk-up permit and checked the weather one last time. Wind. Cooling temperatures at least 10 degrees and slight change of thunderstorms 20% on Saturday. Thats an 80% chance of no thunderstorms. On the other hand cool temps and thunderstorms could mean snow up high. Hmmm.
trail to Comanche Meadow.jpg
It's a perfect day for hiking and I find the trail pleasant. The temperature is in the mid 60's and the trail is a gradual ascent through dry autumn meadows. All the side creeks and streams are completely dry. Above the blue sky gives way to fast moving wispy clouds. The wind creaks through the Firs, Jeffrey and Lodgepole pines creating a spooky feeling. Occasionally pine cones thud to the ground. Three times I hear a tree branch or possibly an entire tree crash to the ground. For a minute I wonder what the chances are of a tree falling on me while I hike down the trail.

I arrive at Lost Lake at 3.30, tired but happy. The altitude is having its way with me today. No one is here. My campsite has a fabulous view of the lake and an awesome fire pit. The wispy clouds and ferocious wind have simmered down. I relax and when it gets dark at 7pm! I enjoy a nice fire which is a real treat!
Lost Lake.jpg
September 26, 2014

The wind gusted and howled throughout the night and I was toasty warm. Despite it being chilly out when I emerged from my tent at 6:30 I was quite warm....possibly due to the fact that I had all my clothes on including my rain jacket.

I practiced my map and compass skills by finding Sheep Camp Lakes. I was perfectly in target and that kicked my self confidence up a few notches. Then I head up the trail to Ranger and Beville Lakes.

Now I'm sitting on a ledge halfway up Silliman Pass with the Sierra Range spread out in front of me. It is such a treat having the binoculars! I have picked out Mt Brewer and North and South Guard whose presence accompanied me earlier this summer in the Circle of Solitude. I spread out the map on the granite slab and picked out all the peaks and canyons I've hiked! So cool to see it all before me.

The wind continues to gust, howl and swirl and way way in the distance I see clouds building. On my way back down from Silliman Pass I circumnavigate both Beville and Ranger Lakes. Whereas the shores of Beville lake are grassy, Ranger Lake is surrounded by Lodgepoles. Both lakes have an Island and both wear the signs of being over camped. Today however not another soul is present.
Beville Lake.jpg
Great Western divide.jpg
I decide to head for Seville Lake a few miles down the trail and 1,000 feet lower in elevation. The hike from the trail junction to the lake is pleasant. Pleasant seems to be my word of choice for this trip. The trail is easy to walk on, the trees and other foliage is abundant and best of all, at least for me, no one is around. I arrive at Seville Lake, another over camped area, just as the clouds blanket the sky. It is amazing how quickly the sky turns from blue to cloudy, dense and darkI. I go about my camp chores; getting water, setting up the tent, gathering wood and making dinner with a cautious eye on the sky. The temperature is plunging. I add a cup of chicken noodle soup to my dinner menu and enjoy it in front of the fire. As soon as I climb into my tent for the night it begins to rain. At some point I wake up to the sound of hail pelting my tent. And then, not hail, but snow. SNOW.

September 26, 2014
The first thing I notice when I wake up is how still it is. Absent is the howling wind. The next thing I notice is how cold it is. I see ice along the outer edge of the tent vestibule and when I unzip the rain fly I see a light dusting if snow. Steam is rising off the lake and the clouds are whipping around a few blue patches of sky. I take in the beauty around me.
Snow in the morning.jpg
Morning on Seville Lake.jpg
I survey the sky and determine that rain and or snow are imminent, I eat, pack and drink my coffee all at once. I use the campsite's new bear box as my staging area. As I'm packing, eating and drinking it begins to snow, but melts before it reaches the ground and stops by the time I start hiking.
artsy snow.jpg
After a half hour of hiking I'm still cold and stop to put more clothes on, including gloves. The trail down to Comanche Meadow is both pleasant and pretty. I see a few patches if snow, some orange and yellow Aspens and even a purple Lupine still in bloom. I'm glad I decided to hike back this way rather than the same way I hiked in.
Fall colors in Comanche.jpg
As I hike further away the clouds play hide and seek with Silliman Crest. It is cold so I keep a fast pace trying to out hike the rain. I meet two hikers coming in, the first people I've seen since Thursday. They are hiking to one of Shorty Lovelace's trapper cabins near Comanche Meadow. They have done extensive research on the trapper and over the years have been hiking to all his cabins. I tell them about the one I saw in Cloud Canyon.
Snow Survey.jpg
I stop for lunch in Rowell Meadow and make chicken noodle soup. Yum. Yum. Yum. Oh so warm oh so good. The temperature is plummeting and no blue sky remains. I put it into high gear, full tilt boogie hoping to make the last two miles before it rains. I don't make it. It rains until I reach the car. At the car I make coffee and check the temperature...39 degrees..... No wonder I'm cold. It was a great trip!


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Re: TR Lost Lake and Beyond. Sept 25-27 2014

Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:39 pm
by balzaccom
Nice post. We did a similar hike in early September last year. It's great to see how different the area is later in the season. Lovely.

Re: TR Lost Lake and Beyond. Sept 25-27 2014

Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:52 pm
by paula53
Thanks for posting. I enjoyed reading it. The pictures were beautiful, full of autumn color.

Re: TR Lost Lake and Beyond. Sept 25-27 2014

Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:06 am
by astrogerly
Nice report! I think the 226 is just the number of the location in CA snow course measurement system. Just a guess from looking at this:" onclick=";return false;

Re: TR Lost Lake and Beyond. Sept 25-27 2014

Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:35 am
by oldranger
The number was used to identify the snow survey site. I don't know if it is still used, Eric might know. But planes could flyover and take a pic. Back In the office they could determine the snow depth. The cabin at Rowell was constructed by Calif. dept. of Water Resources to support snow survey teams. For several summers in the late 70s and early 80s the cabin was used by the NPS as a ranger station. I was stationed there in 82 and 83.

In 1990 I disassembled a similar snow survey marker in Scenic Meadow because it was no longer used. I think the remote sensing station on Mitchell Peak is now used to estimate snowpack in the Roaring River Sugarloaf drainage and the subsequent spring runoff into the kings river.