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TR quick 3 day over Farewell Gap

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TR quick 3 day over Farewell Gap

Postby bandguy5686 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:03 am

Hello everyone,

Just got back yesterday from a nice three day trip out of Mineral King over Farewell gap and exploring upper Golden Trout Wilderness. I owe thanks for inspiration for this trip to Wandering Daisy who first suggested it to me as a possible workup to off-trail travel, and to Josh who posted this wonderful trip report: https://squashchronicles.wordpress.com/adventures/2010-2019/2015-2/silver-lake-loop/. I had only three days instead of four so I decided, with my limited route-finding skills and suspect fitness level to hike in, base camp, and day hike as route-finding practice rather than do this complete loop.

I left 7/24 after getting permit at MK Ranger Station as soon as it opened. On trail by 9 a.m. Got up to the junction of Farewell Gap and Franklin and was awash in flowers!

ImageIMG_4197
ImageIMG_4209

Unfortunately, these are the last pictures I will have until I figure out why my phone (camera) will NOT charge back up-it ran out of juice back there and I can't get it to charge! All of my nice photos are on the phone (of course). Off to Fresno now to see about fixing it.

Anyway, after this junction I never saw another living soul until I came out yesterday! Splendid solitude. I made Farewell Gap by mid-day (snow cornice on the south side of Farewell is melted off the trail now) and continued down the hill on good trail to Bullion Flat. After this the trail is pretty well unmaintained. That's a shame, as it's a beautiful area and more people should enjoy it. Another few years, though, and what was a well-engineered trail will be completely overtaken by sage, whitethorn, and manzanita and be gone. Good for the solitude quotient for sure. It's pretty clear where you're headed so no big deal though. Made Broder's Cabin site by 5 and made a nice cozy camp. After dinner I fished my Tenkara rod to tease bunches of little trout. Fun! A beautiful starry night ensued!

7/25: Awoke early, got going by 8 and day-hiked up the Coyote Pass trail to the junction with the Shotgun Pass route. I was surprised that there's still a sign on this route. That trail is one steep mother! At least you've got the burble of Shotgun Creek to keep you company as you huff and puff (I was decidedly huffing and puffing up a storm) :rolleyes:. As has been said here on HST, there is not a better workout for hiking than hiking, so this was a great workout. I made it to Silver Lake by mid-day and hung out at the lake for the entire afternoon. Fished (the fish were out in the middle of the lake at this time of day), caught one, and just took it all in. I have to learn the fly-bubble or lure with a spin setup that many of you know about. My Tenakara is good to about twenty feet-not so hot of lake fishing- but it's LIGHT!!

The Shotgun Pass trail is very clear from the lake...shoulda gone for it! When I have time (it would be good to spend the night up here) I will do the four-day loop. I MIGHT have been able to do it in three but I would've been beating myself to death-no reason to do that! Is there any better way to spend time than hanging out next to a beautiful alpine lake, all by yourself? Don't know what it could be!! I reluctantly left at 4 p.m. and got back to Broder's by 6:30. A good solid day of hiking.

7/26: On the trail by 9 and crashing the brush back up and over (lost the trail innumerable times including one where a hidden stem tripped me-fell on a rock and earned myself a really gnarly-looking contusion on my hip). I'm just glad I didn't break anything back there. Alone is alone, that's for sure! Caution and modest goals when solo are my main goal, and this fall was a reminder!

Flushed three separate coveys of Sage Grouse, and saw the most amazing thing: On one of the short, timberline trees were at least FOUR mountain bluebirds flitting about and posing for photos (which of course I couldn't take by now :thumbsdown:). My goodness, they are the bluest thing on wings! So beautiful. The entire upper portions of this three day jaunt were alive with flowers and birds which just added so much to a lovely trip.

I arrived very footsore (and hip-sore too!) back to MK just in time for a nice little rain at 6 last night. Got back to my house in Three Rivers and HOLY MOSES IT'S HOT down here! Pretty soon it's back to work, so I'm glad I got a couple of times in the Sierra this summer. I hope to get in some weekends to hike and fish even with the crazy work life I've made for myself!

P.S. I see the meetup is happening today! I hope everyone is having a blast. I hope to make it to one someday soon.



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Re: TR quick 3 day over Farewell Gap

Postby joshuacourter » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:07 pm

Glad you had a safe a fun trip. Good to hear my report was of some use for your trip. The route you took is my favorite spot in the GTW. After visiting, I assume you can see why?

Thanks for the trail report!
Last edited by ERIC on Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: removed excessive links
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Re: TR quick 3 day over Farewell Gap

Postby Buford » Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:56 pm

Nice. Thanks for the report. Some people in front of me at the ranger station had permits for Bullfrog lakes on July 23rd. I've wondered what the area past Farewell Gap is like.

The Shotgun Pass trail junction in Rattlesnake Creek is also well marked and signed. I don't know how easy the trail is to follow as it looked very unused.
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Re: TR quick 3 day over Farewell Gap

Postby bandguy5686 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:23 pm

Fixed the phone-thought I'd share some more photos.

Trailhead foo:
ImageFoo
Views up Mineral King canyon going up. Still amazes me after all these visits:
ImageMineral King view
The original post had the flowers. It was really something. Then the view over towards the Tablelands-gotta get over there!
ImageTablelands from Farewell Gap
And looking out towards the Golden Trout Wilderness-where I'm headed!!
ImageGTW from Farewell gap
Then on down to camp.

Next day up the "trail" towards Coyote Pass. Trail maintenance, as I reported, is pretty poor over here. Shame, but it's still there if one perseveres. Objective was Silver Lake and check out the Shotgun Pass use trail.
Along this trail there were these odd domes-shaped almost like pyramids:
ImageDomes on Coyote Pass route
ImageIt SHOULD have a name!
Worked my way up the steep use trail along Shotgun Creek to the lake. Well worth the effort!
ImageUntitled
Took a little detail shot on the Shotgun Pass route. Very clear where to go from the lake.
ImageShotgun pass
On the return to Broders...snapped this cool overview of the GTW:
ImageGTW overlook by Bandguy, on Flickr

It was a fun trip-just needed more days to explore further!!
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