sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it? | High Sierra Topix  

sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it?

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

sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it?

Postby DavePloessel » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:59 pm

Never been up/over sawmill pass but always thought it looked interesting as an overnighter close to home. I'm wondering if any/many of you has been up there early in a low snow year like this (looking early may)?

For the important stuff: comfy in any/all terrain and season. Goals are big scenery, isolation, a good workout, and fishing.

Plan is to head up to lone pine area friday afternoon, get a very early start sat AM, camp at sawmill lake, rise early sunday and hit the pass for a peek over the top, then back down and out.

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance



User avatar
DavePloessel
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 am
Location: sandy eggo
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it?

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:23 pm

Dave,

Did you see this TR: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9279&p=68988
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: 8028
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it?

Postby ExploreABitMore » Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:47 pm

I just got up that way for the first time myself last year on a day hike to Colloseum Mountain. Loved it up there! It definitely felt isolated and remote and pristine. Sawmill Lake would make a great campsite, imho. A day hike over to Wood's Lake from there would make for a fine day.

The way Kearsarge Pass looked a couple weekends ago, I can't imagine Sawmill not being in decent shape my Mid May, assuming we don't get any more storms.

Admittedly, it is a bit of a grind getting out of the desert for Sawmill, steep and a bit sandy before you hit the cool of the canyons and get that "I'm finally in the mountains" feel, but worth it in the end.
Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert, Night Sky Photography: http://www.evanthomasphoto.com/
User avatar
ExploreABitMore
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:38 pm
Location: Ridgecrest, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it?

Postby DavePloessel » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:21 pm

maverick wrote:Dave,

Did you see this TR: http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... 79&p=68988



That was one of the only two reports I could find with much info on the place and the one that git me fired up to check it out. It looks really neat but I figured asking for a few more opinions wouldn't hurt.
User avatar
DavePloessel
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 am
Location: sandy eggo
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it?

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:43 pm

Since fishing is one of your objectives, it is definitely worth the effort, if it was mainly scenery then would
rather prefer Taboose or Shepherd.
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: 8028
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it?

Postby DavePloessel » Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:03 pm

maverick wrote:Since fishing is one of your objectives, it is definitely worth the effort, if it was mainly scenery then would
rather prefer Taboose or Shepherd.



Excellent! that is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I know that there are some reports of fish there but I haven't spoken to anybody who has actually fished up there. I did Shepherd a couple winters back on a trip to Tyndall and Williamson and have a strong love/hate relationship with it. Taboose is on the list as a future trip too.
User avatar
DavePloessel
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 am
Location: sandy eggo
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it?

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:38 pm

Dave wrote:
I did Shepherd a couple winters back on a trip to Tyndall and Williamson and have a strong love/hate relationship with it.


Since the trail damage? You may hate it even more now. :)
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: 8028
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it?

Postby DavePloessel » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:04 pm

maverick wrote:Dave wrote:
I did Shepherd a couple winters back on a trip to Tyndall and Williamson and have a strong love/hate relationship with it.


Since the trail damage? You may hate it even more now. :)



I dont know. It was all covered with several feet of snow :) very pretty, but slogging uphill through fresh snow from nearly the trailhead kind of sucked
User avatar
DavePloessel
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 am
Location: sandy eggo
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it?

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:35 pm

Damage occurred in 2013.
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: 8028
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it?

Postby DavePloessel » Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:56 pm

I just checked and I went up in early feb 2013. maybe it was before the damage, or the damage already happened it was just covered by snow. Either way I didn't really follow a trail for most of it
User avatar
DavePloessel
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 am
Location: sandy eggo
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it?

Postby oldranger » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:14 pm

Re: fishing

Mediocre in my experience. Skinny rainbow to 12". I thought sawmill canyon was pretty nice, especially since I was on a mule and not slogging up the sand.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
User avatar
oldranger
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2164
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:18 pm
Location: Bend, Oregon
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: sawmill lake as a quick weekend.. worth it?

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:52 am

DavePloessel wrote:Never been up/over sawmill pass but always thought it looked interesting as an overnighter close to home. I'm wondering if any/many of you has been up there early in a low snow year like this (looking early may)? For the important stuff: comfy in any/all terrain and season. Goals are big scenery, isolation, a good workout, and fishing. Plan is to head up to lone pine area friday afternoon, get a very early start sat AM, camp at sawmill lake, rise early sunday and hit the pass for a peek over the top, then back down and out.

I think this is a fine idea for a strenuous overnighter as long as one is in pretty good condition going in. An early start gets you around the biggest issue with the Sawmill trail, which is that the trailhead is in fact the lowest elevation trailhead of all of the big east side passes. Because of the low elevation and exposed nature of the lower trail, it can get very hot hiking up that lower portion. My wife and I had a very late start in the summer of '97 going up there and I had nearly wiped out 4L of water before I reached the first refill opportunity.

The scenery in the canyon is quite nice and I think Sawmill Lake is particularly scenic because it is deep and there are mixed rock colors with metamorphic rocks on its periphery. There are some campsites that provide a very nice two-way view (ie an eagle's perch sort of view looking down the canyon as well as looking upstream).

I think fishing quality at the lake probably varies with the season as it does with many lakes. This is a fishery that has been fairly stable for a very long time--I have a friend who went up there in the 50's or 60's and his experience was very similar to ours in 1997--good rainbows with a few browns. I realize browns aren't shown in the DFW online guide but if they were there in the 50's and late 90's I suspect they're still there.

If for some funny reason Sawmill's fish aren't cooperative or if they're running smallish as noted by Old Ranger above, then you might put a few casts into Woods Lake over the top of the pass. Woods Lake does in fact have too many brookies in it, but in 1997 these ran to a respectable 13" and were not even close to stunted (ie they were reasonably thick and not skinny). The other lakes around Woods have stunted brookies in them and are not that interesting.
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
User avatar
giantbrookie
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 2439
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:22 am
Location: Fresno
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], MSNbot Media [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 1 guest