TR Reflection-Longley-Sphinx Loop July 6-13 Part 1 | High Sierra Topix  

TR Reflection-Longley-Sphinx Loop July 6-13 Part 1

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TR Reflection-Longley-Sphinx Loop July 6-13 Part 1

Postby hurricaniac » Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:22 pm

This is a glorious region that I've been to numerous times, but never connected the dots via Longley Pass. The route circumnavigates Mt. Brewer clockwise and takes you thru some of the most stunning off-trail scenery in the So. Sierras. If you have never been to Lake Reflection, put it on your bucket list -- it is one of the jewels in the crown of the Sierras. There are other lakes just as beautiful and spectacular, but none surpass it.

Day 1-
We left Roads End late around noon and got up the Bubbs Ck. switchbacks around 2pm. Nice views of the Sphinx and the big walls.
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The view back west toward Zumwalt Mdws revealed some swaths of forest that have the pine bark beetle infestation -- very unsettling, I don't want to see what this looks like in another 5 yrs. Another climate change prediction coming true...
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We took a lunch break at the Sphinx Ck. trail bridge and headed toward Junction Mdw. A rainstorm came in and soaked everything for about an hour, but we made camp and fought off mosquitos to keep us on our toes. The area along Bubbs Creek that burned 35 years ago is revegetating with a vengeance.
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Day 2-
We crossed Bubbs Ck. without event and started working our way up toward East Lake. It's a well-graded trail with great views in all directions. Getting up out of the valleys and into the high stuff was exhiliarating. This is a beautiful trail that is a joy to hike with views of Mt. Bago and the glaciated chutes from the Mt. Brewer divide draining into East Creek are dramatic.
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East Lake, even tho being a 15 mi. hike, is a beautiful destination all by itself. The views west toward Mt. Brewer are sublime.
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Even tho East lake is such a worthy camp spot, we left the maintained trail and continued on to Lake Reflection.
day 2 - On the way to Reflection Lk.JPG.800.jpg

And of course, Lake Reflection never disappoints with either the setting or the fishing.
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Day 3 - The next morning at Lake Reflection...
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We had a layover day here and fished to our heart's content. We didn't really care if we caught anything it was just so magically beautiful at every turn of the eye.
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Day 4 - We awoke to gathering clouds as we prepared to head to the SW end of the lake and climb toward Longley Pass. It looked ominous.
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Re: TR Reflection-Longley-Sphinx Loop July 6-13 Part 1

Postby SSSdave » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:05 pm

Enjoyed the read and images, thankyou. :) Appears the same severe thunderstorm with hail and snow front that we experienced at Fish Creek in the wee hours of Thursday July 9 was the same one that hit your area a few hours later with just snow. Twas cold for July indeed.

hurricaniac >>>"... If you have never been to Lake Reflection, put it on your bucket list -- it is one of the jewels in the crown of the Sierras. There are other lakes just as beautiful and spectacular, but none surpass it..."

Ahh! have heard those sentiments before by a few others. And its image in Sierra South classic guide heaped praise on it to. And I can readily understand why non-photographers can have that view. Certainly one of the better lake visual experiences for someone just using their eyes. And certainly the huge deep deep lake would excite any fisherman considering exploring to the more remote sides of those waters.

Not to detract from your own fine perspective but some might be amused at a photographer's take. I have seen a nice image someone took looking up the narrow outlet channel sided by tall pines (except saturation sliders were way jacked). I've scooted around the northwest edge of the lake some in the morning. Once out into the main lake and thought it aesthetically somewhat limited.

Because of the tall ridge lines blocking the sun both early morning and late afternoons, being down in a deep hole, one is usually left with exposing film or sensors no earlier than mid morning or no later than mid afternoon. Well unless it is fully cloudy using diffuse light and then one has to deal with lots of flat light that tends to get unpleasant in huge rocky landscapes like that due to UV. So a large lake in a very deep canyon with some spectacular peaks way up on the ridge lines. But the much larger canyon walls dominate those adornments at the top. Sort of a case of lakes too close to spectacular peaks that are difficult to image without resorting to rather wide lenses. Also with large lakes, features on distant shores like individual trees or pretty flowers on a shoreline are so far away they have little value. And then there is the issue about calm water for reflections. Big lakes are far more likely to have waves anytime of day than small waters. And in the morning when there is most chance of calm, lakes with huge steep surrounding slopes, especially cold north facing talus, are likely to have sumping airflows at night that last well into mid morning.

So then what about using something in the foreground shore? Well I found not to much to work with because at least in the morning those shores rise up steeply right from the water. But after we camped close to Ericsson's Crags, did make a tedious talus trip one morning off to an overlook several hundred feet above the water but that was not satisfying. Thought there might be something not so high above the lake edge but up some that could look nice in certain conditions. Would be difficult to find other image of the lake on the web searching because "lake" plus "reflection"...well you know what I'm going to say haha.
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Re: TR Reflection-Longley-Sphinx Loop July 6-13 Part 1

Postby Cross Country » Tue Aug 11, 2015 1:47 pm

"saint" Diane and I did this trip in reverse to yours in 1974. Reflection es truly beautiful and good fishing for small to medium size fish. That year was about the last year there were fish in South Guard Lake.
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Re: TR Reflection-Longley-Sphinx Loop July 6-13 Part 1

Postby Cross Country » Tue Aug 11, 2015 1:50 pm

The above pic is Di and me just below the outlet of Reflection.
Below is at Sphinx
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Re: TR Reflection-Longley-Sphinx Loop July 6-13 Part 1

Postby windknot » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:31 pm

Great report and shots, thanks for sharing!
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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