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Planning Sabrina Basin June 25

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Planning Sabrina Basin June 25

Postby Rockyroad » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:14 pm

My two college-aged daughters finally agreed to come with me on a backpacking trip. We've done a lot of family camping but they've never backpacked, so I want this to be a special experience that will lead to other trips. Sabrina Basin seems to fit the bill since there are many options for stopping depending on our energy level. I expect it will also provide the wow factor. June 25 was based on their schedules but I'm worried that the area might be too buggy and boggy. On the other hand, maybe it will still be too early and cold for the mosquitoes? What are our chances of being eaten alive? I'd consider another place but I think most other areas with alpine lakes and meadows and snow-peaked mountain backdrops will have the same chances for mosquitoes. Also, how will the creek crossings be above Dingleberry? Thanks in advance.



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Re: Planning Sabrina Basin June 25

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:41 am

Any prediction at this date is mere speculation. In the past, in normal snowpack years, I have played the game of trying to out-run the mosquitoes by progressively going higher. One year I avoided bugs on 4th of July on top of the Tablelands, yet dropped to the upper end of Deadman Canyon (near Ranger Meadow) to only be eaten alive by swarms. Sabrina Basin is pretty high elevation so maybe you will be OK. You will likely have to wade at Dingleberry Lake but it is a wide crossing, so should not be extraordinarily deep, even at high flows.

Another method is to aim for the windiest campsites you can find and stay away from camping near lakes. There is a hard-to-reach campsite, on the rock-slab peninsula on the right hand side of Hungry Packer Lake as you view it from the outlet. I camped there last year and it was quite windy. Being close to the water, if the wind died down it could get buggy. Blue Lake is pretty much surrounded by forests so not very windy. The camping at Midnight Lake is above the lake on a ridge so may have a better breeze. I remember Moonlight Lake as more wind protected and lots of wet meadows, even in late season.

My experience is that the southern, eastern side of the Sierra is a better bet to avoid mosquitoes. For example, Cottonwood Lakes, or Miter Basin. Getting above timber also helps. June 25 is on the cusp of mosquito hell. You may just have to go with it, and retreat if needed. I would watch the weather reports, and if windy conditions are predicted, you may be OK in spite of a hatch.
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Re: Planning Sabrina Basin June 25

Postby SSSdave » Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:46 am

Rather early to be going up over 11k on the east side this year. Just look at

http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/nsa/index.ht ... =8&units=e

and can see quite a lot of snow up in those crest areas. Consider how much snow you saw June 4 going up Gibbs. Personally I am not a fan of backpacking into areas where snow is actively melting to that extent though there are a few others that seem to be. I snow ski winters and very much like cold winter snow and also at least in the past hike to backcountry ski corn. At this time of year large areas of snow are blindingly bright, much too contrasty to be aesthetic except at sunrise and sunset, awkward slippery wet for foot travel, plus stream crossings are an issue, and mosquitoes are in clouds.

You know your daughters but I would have to wonder if a more pleasant plan would be to do something at lower elevations that had already melted out and begun to green up? To do so you would need to stay below about 7k on western slopes and 8k on the east. Although there are reasons to give them a High Sierra alpine experience it really isn't the time of summer yet when those areas are wonderful.

On the east side something like Parker Lake, an easy backpack, would offer big scenery with snowy peaks, but warmer temps, lots of green including wildflowers, especially lots of arrowhead senicio and mule ears, and being much drier less mosquitoes.

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/2016_Trip_C ... les-0.html
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Re: Planning Sabrina Basin June 25

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:54 pm

It is melting fast and 15 days to June 25, so I would not give up on the idea yet.

Where is Parker Lake? You do not mean Parker Pass Lake do you?
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Re: Planning Sabrina Basin June 25

Postby LMBSGV » Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:35 pm

I also wouldn’t give up on the idea yet either. We took our son to Sabrina Basin in late June when he was 7. The skeeters were bad around Blue Lake. We camped the first night at Dingleberry (he was ready to stop for the day) and then spent two nights at Midnight. My son had no problem with the crossing above Dingleberry. My memory is there was a stock crossing and a hiker crossing. The bugs were not bad at either lake. My son had a great time playing and swimming in the outlet creek of Midnight and doing a circumnavigation hike of Midnight--crawling through the talus on the far side felt like an adventure to him. As teenagers, your daughters may find day-hiking in the basin to be fun. It's a gorgeous area, as you can tell if you check the trip reports. My son found it pretty easy to hike back from Midnight the last day.
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Re: Planning Sabrina Basin June 25

Postby Rockyroad » Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:36 pm

Thanks for all of the replies.

WD, I appreciate your suggestions on camp locations. I'll definitely be watching the wind reports leading up to the trip date and will take your advice to not give up the idea yet.

Dave, you brought up some of the issues I was thinking about (mosquitoes, stream crossings, slippery foot travel). The stream crossings and slippery foot travel are probably the only 2 factors I can guarantee to change by going somewhere else. After some consideration, I think we can handle these 2 so are inclined to keep Sabrina basin as Plan A. We've actually been to Parker Lake if you mean the one close to Grant Lake. It was nearly a wind tunnel the time we were there. I've also been to the lakes east of Parker Pass which are very nice. Love the color of the rocks there. I don't think you can camp legally at Parker Pass Lake.

LMBSGV, thanks for sharing your experiences. It's great that you started backpacking with your kids so early.
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Re: Planning Sabrina Basin June 25

Postby kpeter » Fri Jun 10, 2016 12:12 am

Sabrina is my favorite basin, and I have taken my kids there, with Blue lake and Dingleberry being good stopping points for them when they were young. College age kids could certainly go further. The stepping stones above Dingleberry were a favorite of theirs. However, if the water is high, the stones will all be submerged, and you will have to wade. Wading is not bad--it is shallow and sandy.
IMGP0380.jpg
Stepping stones above Dingleberry


I did have one disastrous trip in the middle of July one year--that was when I learned that mosquitoes really could ruin a trip. The kids just huddled in the tent and would not even come outside. The mosquitoes were so hungry that they would land and bite through Deet smeared clothes in the middle of the day. I vowed to not come back to Sabrina before the last week of July ever again--on my prior trips I hardly ever saw a mosquito in Sabrina.

In short, I would expect you will hit plenty of mosquitoes on your timeframe. If you are well prepared for them--and I mean psychologically and not just physically--you might still have an enjoyable trip. But I would not take neophytes into that maelstrom of bloodsuckers. When it is essential to make a great first impression on true neophytes, I would wait for August.

That said, I am going out to an even more famous mosquito zone next week. But that is just me, and I am ready for it. (Famous last words.)
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Re: Planning Sabrina Basin June 25

Postby Rockyroad » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:34 pm

Thanks for all of the replies and advice. Just wanted to report back that we did go to Sabrina Basin last weekend and had a wonderful time. Mosquitoes ranged from 0-4 but we were unfazed in our head nets, long sleeve shirts, and pants. I posted a trip report here... http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=14627
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