TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16 | High Sierra Topix  

TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16

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TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16

Postby mschnaidt » Sun Jul 31, 2016 8:46 pm

Silver Divide.JPG
Trip Map


Day 1 – Graveyard lakes Trailhead to Upper Graveyard Meadow. 5.3 mi, altitude gain 1275.

My brother, a friend and I arrived at the trailhead around 2:30 after the long and winding drive over Kaiser Pass road. If there is one thing that would keep us from returning to this trailhead it would be that road. 21 miles of 1 lane with bi-directional traffic. Brutal but worth it!

The first day destination was Upper Graveyard Meadow which would give us quick access to Graveyard Lakes the following morning. The views were great along the trail which was mostly shaded. The mosquitos weren’t too bad but still a nuisance. The black flies were worse.
We chose a legal spot above the upper meadow near Cold Creek. It was a beautiful spot with the soothing sound of the creek in the background as we sipped our rum drinks in our hammocks. Paradise!

And then our neighbors arrived… The made camp a couple hundred feet away and proceeded to crank up their music, drink too much and smoke. Oh well, thank goodness for ear plugs and a breeze.

Graveyard Meadow.jpg
Graveyard Meadow


Day 2 – To Lower Graveyard Lake. 3.1 mi, altitude gain 1070.

We took it easy on day 2 as we were still getting acclimated to the elevation. There was a lot of company at Lower Graveyard Lake. There were 6 groups at the lake that night but everyone was pretty quiet.

We camped up on the bench on the Northeast side of the lake. The fishing was good for pan sized Brookies and the scenery was spectacular.

Lower Graveyard Lake.jpg
Lower Graveyard Lake


Day 3 – To Peter Pande Lake via Silver Fox Pass. 3.4 mi, Altitude gain 861, loss 830.

Our third day was entertaining with our route taking us by the two lakes above Lower Graveyard Lake and then past Upper Graveyard Lake. All of the lakes held Brookies although we didn’t fish. Upper Graveyard was very scenic and would be our choice over Lower GL next time around. There is a use trail from the lower lakes that is easy to follow.

From Upper Graveyard we ascended the obvious ramp up to the pass. There is an occasional cairn but is definitely a cross country route. Not too difficult if you are experienced. The views at the top were great. (There is Verizon 4G cell service at the top of the pass if you would like to update your weather forecast).

The route down on the North side of Silver Fox pass is steep talus and is challenging. The reward is the beautiful meadow, stream and lake at the bottom on the way to Peter Pande Lake.

Once at PPL we setup camp on the North side of the lake near a beautiful white sand beach. The fishing was good for Brook trout and the views of the divide were beautiful.

Upper Graveyard Lake.jpg
Upper Graveyard Lake

Below Silver Fox Pass.jpg
Below Silver Fox Pass

The stream below Silver Fox.jpg
The Stream Below Silver Fox Pass

The Silver Divide from Peter Pande Lake.jpg
The Silver Divide from Peter Pande Lake


Day 4 – Day trip to Olive, Minnie and Anne Lakes. 4.6 mi, 800 ft of altitude gain/loss.

We hiked down to Olive from PPL. The fishing at Olive was very good for Rainbows. The 3 of us caught and released 60ish fish between us (Yes, our barbs were crimped). Size 6 Panther Martins (black with yellow dots/gold blade. Black with Red dots/gold blade) worked the best. The fish were up to 16 inches and fat!
We then hiked up the inlet creek to Minnie and Anne lakes. The meadow below Minnie Lake was really gorgeous. We caught a couple of fish in Minnie but none in Anne. We did not fish Anne hard though as it had already been an epic day. Anne and Minnie lakes are stunning and well worth the climb. We then followed the stream back down to PPL. The breeze was up and that kept the bugs down.

Olive Lake.jpg
Olive Lake

Looking Down on Olive Lake.jpg
Looking down at Olive Lake

On the way to Minnie Lake.jpg
On the way to Minnie Lake

Anne Lake.jpg
Anne Lake
Last edited by mschnaidt on Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:27 pm, edited 6 times in total.



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Re: TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16

Postby mschnaidt » Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:09 pm

Continued...

Day 5 – Peter Pande Lake to Big Margaret Lake. 5 miles, altitude gain and loss 1350ish.

My brother headed out that day by the route we came in and my friend and I made our way to Big Margaret Lake. We contoured up the ridge behind Anne Lake and dropped over into the drainage above Beetlebug Lake. The route to the ridge was steep but not difficult. There were no cairns but the route was pretty obvious and the views were great of course.

We stayed high and the going was rough on large, loose talus. Much tougher than the backside of Silver Fox Pass. We had to drop down a couple hundred feet so that we could cross a patch of snow at a gentler angle. We then worked our way up to the notch which we named “Never Again Notch” as we looked at the route down. The other side was very steep with large loose talus and decomposed granite. The going was slow but we were careful and took plenty of breaks to ease our aching legs. Once we reached the tarn at the bottom of the talus field the route became easier and we worked our way down to Big Margaret Lake.

We camped on the Southeast side of the lake above a cove with a white sand beach. We hung our hammocks, poured some rum drinks and vowed to forego talus fields for the rest of our trip. That was a tough one!

A bonus was watching the International Space Station go over at 9:35 after it got dark. It was a -3.6 magnitude pass (bright) and very impressive.

Olive, Peter Pande, Minnie and Anne Lakes.jpg
Olive, Peter Pande, Minnie and Anne Lakes

In the Beetlebug Lake Drainage.jpg
In the Beetlebug Lake Drainage

Never Again Notch.jpg
Never Again Notch

Looking Back at Never Again Notch.jpg
Looking back at Never Again Notch

Silver Creek above Big Margaret Lake.jpg
Silver Creek above Big Margaret Lake

Cove at Big Margaret Lake.jpg
Cove at Big Margaret Lake


Day 6 – Big Margaret Lake - .7 mi, 300 elevation gain.

My day started with fishing. Big Margaret is full of pan sized brookies! We caught a fish on almost every cast and it never slowed down. It was incredible.
After lunch we moved our camp to the other side of the lake to make our exit a little easier the next day.

Big Margaret is difficult to hike around. One side has a lot of shrubs and the side we were on had a large cliff to go around. We chose to climb instead of fighting through the brush on the other shore.

We set up camp on the peninsula on the North side of the lake, took a swim and hung our hammocks. After a couple of rum drinks we decided to fish a bit more. The North side of the lake was every bit as productive as the Southeast and it was a crazy good day of fishing.

Evening at Big Margaret.jpg
Evening at Big Margaret Lake

The Cockscomb at Big Margaret Lake.jpg
The Cockscomb at Big Margaret Lake


Day 7 – Back to the trailhead via Fern Lake and FS Trail 27E18. 10 mi, 1800 ft altitude gain, 3400 ft loss.

We left Big Margaret early as our planned route out was going to be tough. Lots of elevation gain and loss. I had an old Forest Service map that showed a trail (27E18) from Fern Lake back to our trailhead that was significantly shorter than the main route from Frog Lake past Arch Rock and down. We figured we would give it a try. Well, the trail doesn’t exist anymore. The route wasn’t too bad as there wasn’t any talus but the navigating was difficult. I have the BackCountry Navigator App on my phone and that kept us on the route. I don’t like backpacking with a phone in my hand but I needed it for most of this route.

The top of the pass on Saddle Ridge was beautiful with great views and abundant wildflowers. Really an amazing sight.
As we dropped into the forest the route was steep but not too difficult. There was a lot of deadfall on the forest floor with occasional hints of a use trail. We continued on until we found a use trail with recent hoof prints. At this point we were tired of struggling through the forest and took it even though it was not in line with 27E18. This path took us a little out of our way but dropped us onto the Onion Spring 4WD route and an easy path back to the trailhead.

Near the TH is Vermillion Valley Resort. We stopped there for a beer and used the hiker showers. $6 for a hot shower with soap was worth it and felt so good!

Coyote Lake and the Cockscomb from 27E18.jpg
Coyote Lake and the Cockscomb from 27E18

On Saddle Ridge.jpg
On Saddle Ridge

Lake Edison from Saddle Ridge.jpg
Lake Edison from Saddle Ridge

On the way down Saddle Ridge.jpg
On the way down Saddle Ridge




I want to thank Wandering Daisy as her trip to the Silver Divide was the spark that led me here... Thanks Daisy for the hard work and passion you invest into your reports and this site!

Michael
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Re: TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16

Postby overheadx2 » Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:13 pm

Headed up on Friday. Going to loop around silver pass to olive and back over. How were the skeeters at the lakes? Use deet?
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Re: TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16

Postby mschnaidt » Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:21 pm

The skeeters were a pain when the breeze dropped. I used a little deet and had some clothes with Permethrin and a headnet when they were bad. We had to get into our tents for about an hour each night to avoid the worst of it.
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Re: TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Jul 31, 2016 11:43 pm

Nice report. The fishing info is informative, too. I'm glad Olive fished well. That was the best of the Minnow Creek drainage 20 years ago when I was last in there, but our top end size was not as good as yours. That is some nice territory.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16

Postby sekihiker » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:55 am

Nice photos and report. Thanks.
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Re: TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16

Postby sheperd80 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:39 pm

Thanks, great report and pics. Im heading up there on Thursday. Going up n over to the PPL side then back.

Wondering if theres any possible route back down towards Devils Bathtub from Graveyard Peak area.

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Re: TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16

Postby mschnaidt » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:45 am

giantbrookie wrote:Nice report. The fishing info is informative, too. I'm glad Olive fished well. That was the best of the Minnow Creek drainage 20 years ago when I was last in there, but our top end size was not as good as yours. That is some nice territory.


Thanks GB. Olive was the best fishing of the trip. It was clear it gets few visits each year.
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Re: TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16

Postby mschnaidt » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:53 am

sheperd80 wrote:Thanks, great report and pics. Im heading up there on Thursday. Going up n over to the PPL side then back.

Wondering if theres any possible route back down towards Devils Bathtub from Graveyard Peak area.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk


I don't have any first hand info for you but there is a reference to a route that might work for you in Tom's post in this thread.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9358

With that said, I found the saddle/notch between Anne and Margaret to be pretty tough. Not a route I would take by choice again. But I'm a 57 yr old desk jockey. YMMV. I would imagine that the saddle into Devils Bathtub would be similar.
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Re: TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16

Postby overheadx2 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:10 am

Thanks for the report. Appreciate the fishing info and mosquitoe report. Any fire restrictions at olive lake?
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Re: TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16

Postby mschnaidt » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:52 am

overheadx2 wrote:Thanks for the report. Appreciate the fishing info and mosquitoe report. Any fire restrictions at olive lake?


Yes, the Forest Service has campfire restrictions on all of the lakes in the area. Here is the info from my Wilderness permit.

Fire Restrictions.pdf
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Re: TR - Silver Divide 7/22 – 7/28/16

Postby Jason » Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:03 am

Looks like an awesome trip with some good fishing. Thanks for the report.
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