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TR: Pioneer Basin 9/1-9/4

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TR: Pioneer Basin 9/1-9/4

Postby steiny98 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:29 pm

9/1/17-9/4/17

I am only now getting around to posting about part 2 of my trip.

This Part 2 trip would be much more relaxed than my Part 1 trip in Bear Lakes Basin. Part 2 involved no off-trail routes and a larger group. This was also one of my friends first time backpacking. He really enjoyed himself.

September 1st: Mosquito Flat TH to Fourth Recess Lake
My friend and I hiked down from Honeymoon Lake to the Pine Creek TH and drove from Pine Creek TH to meet our other friends at Mosquito Flat TH. The trail up to Mono Pass is as easy as they come. The first section has beautiful views down Little Lakes Valley. After two hours we found ourselves at Summit Lake chowing down on lunch. There was still snow at the pass, but nothing dangerous, it was very easy to bypass or walk on. We made our way down to Fourth Recess Lake which is awesome. Two guys were nice enough to share their campsite with our group- I’m sorry if we were too loud! We set up camp, strung up the rods, and were fishing in no time. I got zilch, but my friends were catching trout. Ironically the biggest one of us (6’5”) got the award for smallest fish of the trip with a tiny three-inch trout that took a caddis fly as big as its head.

1. LL Valley-min.JPG


2. Climbing to Mono-min.JPG


3. Mono Looking to Pioneer-min.JPG


4. 4th Recess Lake-min.JPG


September 2nd: Fourth Recess Lake to Lake 11,026 in Pioneer Basin
We made the quick walk to Golden Creek, and caught the trail into Pioneer Basin. We opted to take the trail to the right at the fork, which bypassed the two lower lakes in the basin, but provided us with a gradual climb and more direct route to the upper portion of the basin. Camp was set up at the lake, rods were strung, and we went about finding some appetizers for dinner. We had no luck at Lake 11,026, but were successful catching GT at the uppermost lake. We ran into one couple on a day hike of the upper basin, and did not see anyone else. I loved Pioneer Basin. This is the type of scenery I enjoy- expansive basins with grand views of lakes surrounded by steep mountains.

5. Pioneer Basin-min.JPG


6. More Pioneer Basin-min.JPG


7. Pioneer Pano-min.JPG


8. Sunset-min.JPG


9. Appetizers-min.JPG


September 3rd: Lake 11,026 in Pioneer Basin to Neelle Lake
Camp was leisurely packed up, and we made our way to the third lake in the basin for some fishing. We successfully caught a load of brookies in the 6”-10”+ range. We descended the western portion of the basin to see the lakes we bypassed on the way up. We ran into loads of people making their way up to Pioneer Basin. After lunch along Golden Creek we made our way up to Trail Lakes and Neelle Lake. A couple groups had great spots along Trail Lakes so we opted for a site at Neelle Lake, which was beautiful, but came with a large side of ripping winds and gusts. We fished Trail Lakes and caught some smaller brookies, and caught some GT at Neelle Lake.

10. Neelle Lake-min.JPG


11. Pioneer from Neelle-min.JPG


September 4th: Neelle Lake to Mosquito Flat TH
We retraced our steps along the trail and were at Summit Lake in no time. The winds were howling up there and blew one of us over (not me). The winds died down as we made it over the pass, but we passed a ton of people hiking in the opposite direction, probably because it was Labor Day. The hike back to the parking lot was very quick and easy.

Overall the trip was a success. Much more of a leisurely experience in which fishing and lounging was the priority. Of course, it was great to spend time with friends. Pioneer Basin was awesome, and is big enough that you can find solitude even though there are likely many groups staying in the basin.
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Re: TR: Pioneer Basin 9/1-9/4

Postby Troutdog 59 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:15 pm

Very nice report for a trip intone of the very first areas I backpacked to back in the early 70's. Great part is it still looks pretty much the same. Loved the pic of Nelle Lake as I have never made the trek up there. Thanks for sharing!!!
"Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering
Or you'll find that you're joining in
The turning away"
D. Gilmour, Pink Floyd
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Re: TR: Pioneer Basin 9/1-9/4

Postby maverick » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:35 pm

We opted to take the trail to the right at the fork, which bypassed the two lower lakes in the basin, but provided us with a gradual climb and more direct route to the upper portion of the basin. Camp was set up at the lake, rods were strung, and we went about finding some appetizers for dinner. We had no luck at Lake 11,026, but were successful catching GT at the uppermost lake.


Should not have bypassed the string of lakes below Mt. Hopkins, especially if fishing is one of your main objectives, next time. :nod:
The eastern most lakes are quite pretty and rarely get visited, something to look forward to on you next trip to the basin.
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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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