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TR Cottonwood Lakes

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TR Cottonwood Lakes

Postby austex » Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:09 pm

Flew into LAX Sat the 22nd at 10:30p. By the time I got my rental and got to the Outlaws it was midnight. Did some web surfing and decided not to go Paiute Pass to Humphreys. Checked the Mt. Whitney cam from the portal and decided to make a go of it. Besides if it was bad I could just roll back to the Valley or do some car camping along the creek. Thought about Kennedy Meadows out of Isabella. Too hot. Got on the road about 9:30 and called the L.P. Visitor Center and inquired about Cottonwood Lakes for a party of 1. The girl wasn’t the sharpest axe in the mix and “didn’t have a computer” to check availability for today (Sunday) Asked if calling back in a hr w/b better; she replied yes. Won’t get into the smoke forecast/present conditions, like I said not the sharpest… Called about an hour later got another ranger and confirmed there were plenty of slots available.
Got to the VC and there was quite the line; or at least a mess of people in a loose line doing nothing. They were waiting for the Whitney lottery. So I strolled up to the front; asked for a permit, affirmed I was smart not going to Paiute let alone Whitney. He was nice and hand wrote a new permit as he couldn’t easily cancel the Paiute on and would deal with that later, awesome. Off I went up the hill. Got to the th about 2:30. Went to fill my hydration bladder at the spigot, DRY. Okay went to the trunk and emptied what I had into the bladder. Tossed my Klymit LWD and paddle into the trunk and shifted a few other pieces I wouldn’t need on the trip. The skies were blue.
Hiked two miles in and had enough water to camp for the night; so I pulled off the trail after another party who had the same idea of not going to a northern trail head and were winging it too passed me. Not knowing what lie ahead; I just pulled off trail and cowboy camped.
The next morn got up, ate and trucked off. First passing a disappointing lake #1 going the long way around to #4 stopping to fish it. Nothing. So after a bit I went looking for a site. I dropped my pack and hunted around; spied a good spot, but was taken. Went back and found a very secluded spot; and I must say WELL established and protected from the wind. Cowboy camped and woke Monday to nice skies. Wet waded at the outlet and c&r’d about 8 6-8” goldens using a dry and a dropper and then just a bh nymph. Didn’t take pictures as I didn’t want to risk my phone getting wet.
About 1p the wind came up from the wnw and the smell of smoke permeated the air and a haze of smoke came rolling in. Fished most of the rest of the day and was frustrated with a new 6# floro-mono hybrid line that let’s say had a great memory and would windknot and birdsnest just fine. About 5p I took a jaunt up to the upper lakes where it was windy and decided to hit one in the morning if I woke to blue skies. I again I cowboy camped as it was clear in the evening. Woke up ate and packed off to the upper lakes. Went to the lake to the left started counter clockwise and chucked heavy metal into the depths bottom bumping. A few bites and then nothing for a ways, fishing the steep drop off from the 20’ cliff. There is no real inlet at the lake this time of year buy a nice beach at the far side. A few skeets in the damp areas. Decided to continue along the granite block and talus route counter clockwise from the far end. About ¾ ways around pulled a fairly lethargic 10” from the depths; placed him back for another day. It was windy and clouding up. My face was windburned and decided to head back to camp but not before I fished the inlet of #4. Nary a bite. Went home, ate and just fretted if it was going to rain or not as the skies were darkening. I set up my tarp I use as a “porch” to sit under and cook etc. Then decided to set up my TT Moment if I needed it for sleeping. Ended up taking both down before dark and laying my poncho over my bag as a makeshift bivy. Sometime in the night a pack of coyotes must have nailed a deer as they yipped for about 45 mins. They did not get louder, so I was at ease they were not getting closer. I woke the next morning and packed out under blue skies. Pictures to follow, My first is too big... :crybaby:

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Re: TR Cottonwood Lakes

Postby chrismis21 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:35 am

Good to hear the fish were biting a bit. I saw lots of people fishing last week, but didn't see anyone snag one.

The water spigot by the bathroom was dry last week when we went. I meant to mention this is in my TR, too. However, the spigot on the equestrian side (facing the bathroom from the parking lot, to the left, behind the big log) worked fine. We didn't know that spigot existed the night we rolled in, and didn't find it until morning light and the wave of a friendly camper.
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Re: TR Cottonwood Lakes

Postby sandiegonate » Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:45 am

You must've got the same girl I did. I called about the smoke condition at Cottonwood lakes and she said she has no idea, but she assumes it would be pretty bad considering its northwest of Whitney and directly west of the fire. I told her I believe cottonwood lakes is more southeast of Whitney but she insisted it was northwest. I hung up on her and called back an hr later and talked to someone who was more knowledgable
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Re: TR Cottonwood Lakes

Postby rlown » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:38 am

next year.. puppet. after El Niño winter if we get it. early season. let's coordinate.

Nice report as a plan B.

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Re: TR Cottonwood Lakes

Postby tie » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:31 pm

Thanks for the trip report. Sorry to hear that it was smokey even down there, I was hoping to go. :(
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