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TR: Margaret Lakes TH 7/28-7/30

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TR: Margaret Lakes TH 7/28-7/30

Postby BufordT » Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:51 pm

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Sqeeuzed this trip into a hectic schedule and started out pretty tired, so I wasn't moving too fast. The Margaret Lakes TH is located near the end of the Onion Springs OHV, which originates at the High Sierra Pack station at Lake Edison. I drove the road in a stock Tacoma 4x4 and wouldn't have wanted to try it in anything that was a whole lot less capable - although a party did get a Honda Pilot to a point about a mile short of the TH before they called in quits.

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I left Fresno at 5:00 AM and was walking a bit before 10:00. In addition to the OHV route, Kaiser Pass Road is pretty slow going. I had looked at topos and tried to find non-existent beta on a cross country route that paralleled the ridge across to Upper Saddle Lake. It looked doable on a map, but I decided that idea would remain tentative until I saw it in person. Turns out it's quite enjoyable class 1 most of the way. The final half mile turned to class 2 and route finding became a bit more challenging. In hindsight, I probably made it more difficult than necessary by trying not to lose elevation during that last portion.

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Crossing over to Upper Saddle lake was easy, and I followed class 1/2 terrain down to Fern Lake where I camped for the evening. Route finding was pretty straight forward. At the lake, mosquitoes were a 5-7 out of 10 and the fish were aggressive.

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The following morning I headed over to climb Siver Peak. Seems this summit is more often done from Devils Bathtub. There appears to be no write up on this peak in the Peak Bagging Forum, so I'll save a detailed description for there. This is a shot of a cloud letting loose over the Silver Divide.

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Returning from Silver Peak, I broke camp at Fern Lake and headed on trail to Frog Lake, with the intention of staying there for the evening. Arriving at Frog Lake, I ran into another party (the first of the trip) and more mosquitoes. The fishing looked like it would have been excellent again, but due to time constraints and having had my fill of mosquitoes, I decided to press on to the ridge and dry camp on its south side. That way it would be a quick exit in the AM and I could escape the mosquitoes.

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Arch Rock is not depicted properly on the topos - it's actually ON the ridge. Very neat to see. I think the western end of the Silver Divide has some very unique rock formations - kind of reminds me of the Alabama Hills in places. The mosquitoes followed me all the way up there to camp about 1/2 mile beyond the rock, so that kind of backfired. But I did make a quick exit in the morning to go be an adult again.
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Re: TR: Margaret Lakes TH 7/28-7/30

Postby maverick » Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:44 am

Thanks for the TR and pictures (even the two upside down ones of Sadlers Lakes. :)
Always enjoyed seeing that Arch Rock, especially at sunset with a good Alpenglow present.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination, and where the trail ends is where our adventures begin.

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: Margaret Lakes TH 7/28-7/30

Postby justm » Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:02 am

Beautiful Pics, especially the rain clouds from Silver Peak !!! Thanks for sharing !!!
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Re: TR: Margaret Lakes TH 7/28-7/30

Postby BufordT » Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:26 pm

Thanks for the kind words!
Celebrate the Trudge at http://enkooth.com
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Re: TR: Margaret Lakes TH 7/28-7/30

Postby Robo_Hiker » Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:09 am

Nice trip report! Amazing what some people will take up those roads!
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Re: TR: Margaret Lakes TH 7/28-7/30

Postby janky » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:28 pm

Great photos and review. Thx! I'm thinking of doing this trip with my 2 boys (aged 9 and 11) and my wife. I'm wondering if there's any place to stay that's close to Lake Edison that allows for us to get up in the morning and do a shorter drive and get on the trailhead. I know from reading that the drive is rough and I'm worried that it will take hours to get to the trailhead just to start the 5.7 miles to Frog Lake. From my research, I found one place called Vermilion Valley Resort - looks like an oasis for those backpackers on the Pacific Crest and John Muir Trails. Thanks for any info.
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