TR: Saddlebag Lake, new member, milky way 7/1/16 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Saddlebag Lake, new member, milky way 7/1/16

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TR: Saddlebag Lake, new member, milky way 7/1/16

Postby MRrogers » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:08 pm

Hi all. My name is Matt (username MRrogers). I just found this website and I have enjoyed reading the many posting filled with great info and enjoyed looked at all of the beautiful photography. So I guess you would classify me as a recent Lurker and now a trip report contributor. I am a level 3 backpacker. I graduated last year from the Yosemite High Sierra Camps to a heavier backpack now, which means bringing all of my own gear. I did the Thousand Island/Ediza loop last summer and later this summer will do Kearsarge to Rae Lakes and back. Also, in early June this year, did a day hike to Lower Young Lake and experienced many creek crossings and trail route finding in the snow. Also in June of this year, backpacked at Ostrander Lake and summited Horse Ridge.
I am posting the following trip report, in conjunction with my introduction to the group, not to inspire the experienced hiker, but to inspire the parents out there. I just took my eight year old son on his first overnight backpacking adventure. Of course, we went to Saddlebag Lake due to its level terrain and the ability to get a wilderness permit without a reservation. If you are unfamiliar with Saddlebag Lake, it is located in the Twenty Lakes Basin, which is within the Hoover Wilderness near Mt. Conness and North Peak.
Our day started at 6 am in the Bay Area. We made it to the Tuolumne Meadows wilderness center to get permits and then on to Saddlebag lake by 11 am. By noon, the boat had dropped us off on the other side of the lake and within minutes my son caught his first fish while fishing at Greenstone Lake.
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After fishing, we hiked to our campsite at the edge of Cascade Lake, which is at the base of North Peak. On our way to Cascade Lake, we crossed some small snow fields that were covering the trail and did a creek crossing just before arriving at the campsite. We may be new that sort of thing, but I’ll let you know that it takes about 10 minutes after standing in near freezing water for the pain in your feet to go away!
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Also along the hike to Cascade Lake, near Wasco Lake, another hiker was nice enough to point out some “Steer’s Skull” wildflowers. I do think they look like a steer’s skull, but my son thought they looked like scissors.
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After it became dark enough, I took some long duration exposures of the night skies, which included some nice shots of the Milky Way. I found 25 seconds at 3200 ISO worked the best. Camera is Canon T5i and lens is 14 mm, f/2.8.
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In addition, I was able to do my first time lapse video. It consists of ninety 25 second exposure photos compiled together at a rate of 20 frames per second. The only problem is that the video is actually showing them in the reverse order, so will have to figure out how to fix that later.


We woke up to warm temps and bright sunny skies. The reflections in Cascade Lake next to our tent were gorgeous. You can see that there are still small glaciers floating in the lake.
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We fished a bit, without much luck and took our time hiking back the way we came to the return boat ride.
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Mosquitos during the trip were a 1 (I guess the scale is 1 to 5). We finished the afternoon off with lunch at the Tuolumne Meadows Grill.
We had a very special 24 hours. I was able to teach my son how to filter water(which by the way tasted as good as it gets coming right out of the creek coming out of Cascade Lake), how to use a Jetboil and how to set up and take down camp. Hope this gets some other parents on board with backpacking with your children. If you haven’t been to Saddlebag Lake before, it is a great place to start backpacking. If you haven’t heard, the Saddlebag Lake Resort is for sale. Let’s hope someone buys it so we can all continue to benefit from the convenience of the boat rides across the lake that the Resort provides.



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Re: TR: Saddlebag Lake, new member, milky way 7/1/16

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:59 pm

Hi Matt,

Welcome To HST! Thanks for the intro TR and pictures, you are absolutely correct, 20 Lakes Basin is a great place to introduce beginning backpackers young or old, it is minimal effort with maximum return (beautiful high alpine country).
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
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Re: TR: Saddlebag Lake, new member, milky way 7/1/16

Postby Ska-T » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:04 pm

Hey MRrogers! Thanks for the early season trip report and photos. The best backpacking trips are with your kids. I was there in a group of four at the same time as you (July 1-3). Our campsite was up on the highest hill east-southeast of Cascade Lake just out of snoring distance from you.

July 4th weekend was the perfect time for that area this year, save the predictable crowds. Almost no mosquitoes (except up near McCabe Pass) and just enough snow for photography.
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Re: TR: Saddlebag Lake, new member, milky way 7/1/16

Postby The Other Tom » Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:07 am

Great trip report, thanks for posting. Especially loved the video !
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Re: TR: Saddlebag Lake, new member, milky way 7/1/16

Postby MRrogers » Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:31 am

Ska-T wrote:Hey MRrogers! Thanks for the early season trip report and photos. The best backpacking trips are with your kids. I was there in a group of four at the same time as you (July 1-3). Our campsite was up on the highest hill east-southeast of Cascade Lake just out of snoring distance from you.

July 4th weekend was the perfect time for that area this year, save the predictable crowds. Almost no mosquitoes (except up near McCabe Pass) and just enough snow for photography.

Ska-T, was that you that borrowed our Jetboil? Hope my son's snoring didn't keep you all awake!
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Re: TR: Saddlebag Lake, new member, milky way 7/1/16

Postby Ska-T » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:21 am

MRrogers wrote:Ska-T, was that you that borrowed our Jetboil? Hope my son's snoring didn't keep you all awake!

No, ha ha, couldn't hear a thing. We were at least 2 hundred yards from the outlet and both our stoves worked fine.
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