TR: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16

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TR: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16

Postby Bruce B » Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:29 pm

Last weekend, I needed to unplug and visit the mountains for a few days. Fortunately, my favorite backpacking partner was available. Ozzy and I drove north to the Onion Valley trailhead and headed out. Our destination was the northern Golden Trout Lakes.

Here's our camp at the upper northern Golden Trout Lake. We had the entire lake to ourselves. We didn't see a soul from the time we took the Golden Trout Lakes turnoff until we got back to the trailhead.

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Back to the beginning... We arrived at the trailhead Friday afternoon with a Saturday permit. We drove up the short 4WD road near the trailhead and found a nice, quiet place to camp for the night. We awoke to this beautiful sunrise, had breakfast, then hit the trail.

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The turnoff to the lakes from the Kearsarge Pass trail starts off steep and gains elevation quickly. You can see the Onion Valley trailhead below.

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After sections of scree sliding and boulder hopping, we hit a few patches of snow. That's Ozzy in front of the snow.

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The outflow from the lakes made some nice snow sculptures.

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The meadow below Golden Trout Lakes.

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Beautiful creek flowing through the meadow.

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From the meadow, we could go west to lakes #1 and #2, or northwest to the northern lakes. We headed northwest. Here's Ozzy taking a break above the meadow but before we arrived at the lakes.

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Not far above the meadow, we arrived at the lower northern lake. The upper lake is just beyond the tree-covered saddle in the middle of the photo.

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The trail is faint or nonexistent between the lower and upper lakes, or maybe I just missed it. Regardless, it's straightforward to the upper lake. The upper lake was stunning with the flowers still in bloom.

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Here's a self portrait after breaking down camp the next morning. The wind was blowing hard all night into the morning, which made the moderate temperatures feel downright cold. It also kept the mosquitoes at bay. I'll take wind over mosquitoes any day.

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The lower northern lake from a different angle on the way down.

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A few more snow patches as we pass the lower lake.

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Back down in the meadow. Ozzy knows he can take a break when the camera comes out.

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I'm told there used to be trail here before a major rock slide some years ago. Some boulder-hopping is required, but there are several variations of use trails to get around the most difficult sections.

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Ozzy gets roped up when crossing snowfields with any incline. He's a southern California dog who hasn't quite figured out the low-friction properties of the frozen stuff. I'm pretty sure he's glaring at me here. He doesn't understand why he has to wear a leash on this section.

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This was my first time visiting Golden Trout Lakes, and it was definitely worth it for a short weekend overnighter. I think there are only nine overnight permits per day spread over four lakes. That, along with a few rougher sections of trail, make for a nicely uncrowded trip without having to venture too far from the trailhead.

Here's a final photo. One more of the sunrise from Saturday morning at the trailhead.

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Re: TR: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:39 pm

Nice TR and pictures Bruce, haven't been back that way since the last time going in via Gould Pass. Nice dog, how old is Ozzie? How long have you been taking him into the backcountry? What is the longest trip that you have taken him on? Where?
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Re: TR: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16

Postby Bruce B » Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:56 pm

Hi maverick,

Ozzy is about five years old. I got him when he was one. He was a stray before that. From what I can tell, he had a pretty rough first year. I started taking him hiking about six months after getting him. We began with local one-nighters before going up to the Sierra. Because of the national park dog restrictions, we generally hike in the John Muir, Ansel Adams, or Hoover Wilderness.

The longest he's been out with me is nine nights, meandering around the eastside. The most mileage he's done in one trip is probably 50 miles. When I hike with him, I'm more about scenery, nice camping locations, and relaxing, rather than mileage. I'd like to do more off-trail sections with him. Unfortunately, his paw pads can only handle so much boulder hopping and scree.
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Re: TR: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16

Postby rlown » Fri Jul 15, 2016 4:03 pm

Ozzy needs an HST patch for his pack, if he doesn't already have one. PM if you want one.. I have two left.

It's up to you to get Ozzy a pair of cool shades for the snow crossings :cool:

Nice TR!!!
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Re: TR: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 15, 2016 4:56 pm

Hi maverick,

Ozzy is about five years old. I got him when he was one. He was a stray before that. From what I can tell, he had a pretty rough first year. I started taking him hiking about six months after getting him. We began with local one-nighters before going up to the Sierra. Because of the national park dog restrictions, we generally hike in the John Muir, Ansel Adams, or Hoover Wilderness.

The longest he's been out with me is nine nights, meandering around the eastside. The most mileage he's done in one trip is probably 50 miles. When I hike with him, I'm more about scenery, nice camping locations, and relaxing, rather than mileage. I'd like to do more off-trail sections with him. Unfortunately, his paw pads can only handle so much boulder hopping and scree.


Very cool that you took on a stray, 50 miles is impressive. What is his favorite backcountry meal, if he has one? Do you fish on any of your trips, if yes does he eat trout?
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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: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16

Postby rlown » Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:34 pm

Mav,

You really should get a dog if you want to learn about them. I've had 7 since i was 5. Known others with dogs of all varieties. They are all different. My current dog will be 15 in 2 weeks. Ozzy looks to be the right temperament for what is being asked of him.

Dogs also change habits over their lifespan. Interesting to watch.
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Re: TR: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16

Postby Bruce B » Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:55 pm

Maverick,

He eats kibble (Merrick chicken and sweet potato) on the trail and gets something to chew in the evening. I bring dense, high protein, high calorie food on the trail for him since I need to fit it all in my bear canister. No trout for him, even though I sometimes go with a friend who fishes. He'd love it but I'm not risking one of those fine trout bones getting stuck in his throat in the backcountry!

Rlown, you're right that he has a good temperament for the backcountry. He stays near me, doesn't chase wildlife, follows voice commands, and has the energy for long hikes without being hyper. I won the dog lottery when I found him.
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Re: TR: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16

Postby notdarkyet » Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:22 pm

I enjoyed the report and photos! Thanks.
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Re: TR: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:45 pm

He eats kibble (Merrick chicken and sweet potato) on the trail and gets something to chew in the evening. I bring dense, high protein, high calorie food on the trail for him since I need to fit it all in my bear canister. No trout for him, even though I sometimes go with a friend who fishes. He'd love it but I'm not risking one of those fine trout bones getting stuck in his throat in the backcountry!


Thanks for the reply. :)
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: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16

Postby bbayley80 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:05 pm

Bruce B.
great TR and photos!
been tempted many times to go check out those Lakes on my way past to Kearsarge Pass/Lakes..seems i need to pull the trigger!

and of course, Ozzy looks to be an outstanding trail companion ;)

thanks.
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Re: TR: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16

Postby phoenix2000 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:17 pm

I noticed that in every picture of Ozzy he's squinting from the harsh sunlight and jokingly thought "he should wear sunglasses!'. A quick check of the internet shows that they actually do make sunglasses for dogs http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Pet-Supplies-Dog-Sunglasses/zgbs/pet-supplies/2975325011.
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Re: TR: Golden Trout Lakes (Onion Valley) 7/8/16 - 7/10/16

Postby Bruce B » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:45 pm

bbayley80 wrote:Bruce B.
great TR and photos!
been tempted many times to go check out those Lakes on my way past to Kearsarge Pass/Lakes..seems i need to pull the trigger!

and of course, Ozzy looks to be an outstanding trail companion ;)

thanks.


My 79 year old dad, Ozzy, and I were dayhiking around Kearsarge Lakes a couple years ago when I saw the the turnoff to Golden Trout Lakes. At that time, I made a mental note come back and check them out. I'm glad I finally did. They're worth the trip.
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