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Honeymoon Lakes -- which one to honeymoon at?

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Honeymoon Lakes -- which one to honeymoon at?

Postby lovenote » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:19 am

Yes, it's totally cheesy, but also a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to do it! Getting married near Bishop in August, and we want spend our honeymoon backpacking the Sierra for a week -- starting with a night at either Honeymoon Lk (Pine Creek), or Lower or Upper Honeymoon Lk (Piute Pass). We haven't been up either drainage before, so which would the community vote for if prioritizing scenery and some solitude?

From there, what other nearby areas would you say we shouldn't miss? We will have our trail-savvy dog with us, so our trip will stay within the NF.

We are both experienced (PCT, CDT thru hikers) backpackers -- snow, river crossings, rock scrambling, route finding don't generally phase us (though our dog will limit us on some of that, we can "portage" him through some less intense stuff just fine). High miles are fine, we fall into the rhythm of our thru-hiking days and prefer it over sitting around in camp, though we can appreciate that an area might command some extra enjoyment and can happily hold still. A loop or point-to-point trip is also fine, we are adept at trailhead hitchhiking...

So... dream trips? Go wild :)



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Re: Honeymoon Lakes -- which one to honeymoon at?

Postby oldranger » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:42 am

I wouldn't say that Honeymoon Lake in the Pine Creek drainage is close to being the most attractive lake I've visited but it is the gateway to some incredible country.

Mike
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Re: Honeymoon Lakes -- which one to honeymoon at?

Postby SSSdave » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:32 pm

These are top regions with many superb lakes to do more than just pound down trails all day. At any of the below there is considerable day hiking exploring one can do. Honeymoon Lake of Pine Creek is heavily visited by horse packer clients as well as backpackers. Nice looking lake but not as aesthetic as is touted. Lower Honeymoon on Piute Creek I have not been to but the below 2 pics linked from a Yahoo Images search are very nice.

Image

https://www.flickr.com/photos/atomick/4981873142/

Just looking at the topo features with its towering headwall glacier on the divide show that it is a well above average scenic timberline lake. But at 10 miles and over 3k vertical up, a long first day. Much better to camp the first night at north end of Tomahawk Lake or above the inlet of Upper Golden Trout Lake as Mount Humphreys is a spectacular sight late in the day. Then next morning do short hike to remote LHM where you will probably have all day there to yourselves. If you get antsy for hiking, a day hike to either the Upper Honeymoon Lake or Romona Lake is likely to exhaust that energy.

Then third day hike down to Hutchinson Meadow and up French Canyon to another very scenic lake you might have all to yourselves, Merriam Lake. From there you might pick for day 4 one of the big lakes on the Moon and Puppet Lake benches. Day 5 would camp at the northeast end of Royce Lake #4 that is the col to pass through on day 6 to reach Granite Park. Camp along the small lake and stream chain between 11250 and 11550 preferably south of the stream as in opposite side versus the stream. Day 7 might be down at Honeymoon Lake and then hike out day 8 or take a layover on one of the days for a full 9 days.
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Re: Honeymoon Lakes -- which one to honeymoon at?

Postby dougieb » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:08 am

The sky is the limit I guess but for now since you suggested Pine Creek Pass, I would suggest a trip I did last year. Headed up Pine Creek Pass to Granite Park, then cut over through Royce Pass and explore the gorgeous Royce Lakes. From there cross country over toward Pine Creek Pass, head down French Canyon just a little ways and take the trail over to some of the French Lakes. Kind of a lollipop shaped route all in all and a great sampling of a beautiful area. You could also daytrip over Puppet Pass from French Lakes to peek into Humphreys Basin. Congrats on the engagement!
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Re: Honeymoon Lakes -- which one to honeymoon at?

Postby ERIC » Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:04 am

Haven't been to the Pine Creek version but my wife and I really liked Lower Honeymoon. We attempted to hike up to Upper Honeymoon but the granite spooked my wife so we turned back about half-way up. I'm sure someone on here will tell me there's a better approach.

P1000231.JPG
Lower Honeymoon looking North.


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Looking South (up) at the approach to Upper Honeymoon Lake.


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An unimpressed spouse.
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Re: Honeymoon Lakes -- which one to honeymoon at?

Postby BrianF » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:13 am

Since you say you don't mind miles or cross country travel, why not go to both? Go in over Piute to those honeymoon lakes. Then, travel from there through Merriam lake over Feather pass to Bear Lakes Basin then to Italy pass, through granit Park down to Honeymoon Lake (although I would opt to camp in Granite Park myself), over Pine Creek Pass and from there either go cross country over Puppet pass and through Humphrey's Basin or follow trails back to Piute Pass. Incredible country all the way. Bear Lakes and Granite park are beautiful areas as is Humphrey's Basin
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Re: Honeymoon Lakes -- which one to honeymoon at?

Postby lovenote » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:55 am

Brian, after the suggestions, I was actually just looking at a way to make a big loop including most of that! I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking like this...

Someone's blog suggested Piute Pass on the way in, Pine Creek on the way out with the lighter pack. Also, thanks for the reminders about horse packer camps, generally not my favorite backcountry campsite...

I'm thinking: Piute to Lower Honeymoon (thanks for the photo, Eric!), up to Merriam via Hutchinson Meadow, Feather OR Ruskie Pass (please offer your suggestions on which/why) to Seven Gables/Bear Lakes Basin, Dancing Bear Pass to Granite Park, Royce Pass to a. French Canyon Lakes/Puppet Pass/Humphrey's Basin out to North Lake, or b. Pine Creek Pass to Honeymoon Lake and out Pine Creek.

We bought a house in Lone Pine (that is currently disassembled and sucking up our weekends), so weekend trips to Humphrey's Basin or up Pine Creek aren't totally unreasonable this summer, so I think if we had layover days, Bear Lakes Basin would be my vote to take one.

Thanks all for your suggestions, lots of great info and it really set my head spinning (in a good way!) :) Liz

(I'm also in Santa Barbara, Brian!)
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Re: Honeymoon Lakes -- which one to honeymoon at?

Postby Ska-T » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:00 pm

If you want to visit the ultimate lover's lake for hardcore backpackers, then put Marion Lake on your destination. Briefly, the UC Berkeley Engineering Professor Joseph "Little Joe" Le Conte is an important figure in the history of the Sierra Club and the Sierra Nevada. In 1901 he married Helen Marion Gompertz whom he met via the Sierra Club. In 1902 they backpacked up the little known Cartridge Creek. Near the headwaters they came upon a beautiful unnamed lake that Little Joe promptly named after his new wife. So, in essence, Marion Lake is Honeymoon Lake.

One way to get to Marion Lake from the east side is via Taboose Pass and Cartridge Pass. There are other beautiful lakes along the way, such as Bench Lake which rests at the base of Arrow Peak. You can design scenic loop, semi-loop, or shuttle trips in this area.

Marion Lake is on the (mostly) off trail Sierra High Route, which starts on the west side. However, you said you'd be in Bishop and there is an epic loop out of South Lake. Go over Bishop Pass and hike west through Dusy Basin to Le Conte Canyon. Go south, then east up Palisade Creek, south up Cataract Creek to Amphitheater Lake. Go over Cataract Pass to Dumbbell Lakes and Dumbbell Pass to Lake Basin where you will find Marion Lake. Return to South Lake via Frozen Lake Pass (or Cartridge Pass), Mather Pass, Cirque Pass, Potluck Pass, Knapsack Pass, and Bishop Pass. I didn't say it was easy. Neither is marriage. :lol:

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Re: Honeymoon Lakes -- which one to honeymoon at?

Postby lovenote » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:36 am

"I didn't say it was easy. Neither is marriage." HA. Love it.

It sounds like that loop is one that we will have to leave the dog home for -- but definitely one to dog-ear for the future! For this honeymoon trip, we really want to hike with him. Which also crosses out Marion Lake in general -- though I love the history lesson, and the romance associated with it :) Thanks, Scott! We will make a point to head up there at some point when we can leave the pup behind.

Thanks all for the great suggestions! A great help and put some places on my radar that I otherwise wouldn't have known to look out for :) I will try to follow up with a trip report later this summer! Best, Liz
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