Seeking advice for a 12-day trip in September 2019

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Re: Seeking advice for a 12-day trip in September 2019

Post by arkheel » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:45 am

Thanks Turbohike, sekihiker, stringbot and Wandering Daisy for sharing your trip suggestions. So many great ideas for trips. It's clear to me that I need to do many, many trips in the Sierra. Entering via the east side does sound like a much more direct way to get to high basins and passes. I'm going to sit down with some maps this coming weekend and look over the suggested routes and options. Thank you especially Wandering Daisy for sharing your suggestion. I did read and very much enjoy your Kearsarge to Whitney Portal trip report from August 2017.

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Re: Seeking advice for a 12-day trip in September 2019

Post by SSSdave » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:54 am

I like your attitude of revisiting some areas you visited in 2017 while also slowing down your pace venturing into areas you have not yet seen with more time spent in the best basins. A majority given a penchant for mileage and speeding through areas without lakes, will likely advise hiking all the way from Wolverton to Bearpaw Meadow or Buck Creek the first day, however that is strenuous.

A wiser pleasant strategy given acclimation needs, your ages, and likelihood of not actually getting on the trail early, would be a modest 5 miles 1.8k uphill the first day only to Merhten Creek at one of the 3 locations the trail crosses the creek ~8.7k before reaching the HST. From there on day 2, will suggest going the 8 miles with only modest uphill to the 13 mile point on Lone Pine Creek down in the canyon depths at 7.4k where there are superb views southeast of the Eagle Creek towers. Best for we older folk to not have a strenuous day on the second day while allowing sore body parts to recover. That way you will also get past crowds at Bearpaw Meadows and Buck Creek. On day 3, rise early and do the 2 miles to Big Hamilton Lake where one ought to arrive during the best morning light on Valhalla. Make camp there or a bit upstream to enjoy the superb scenery. By starting the following 4th day's stiff 2.7k effort early morning, one can stay in cool shade while enjoying better light westward. Note the southern cliff faces above Precipice Lake do not receive morning sunlight in September.

Nine Lake Basin is barren and most visitors only camp at the lowest lake at 10450. More pleasant is along alpine meadows of Big Arroyo at 10250 where there are trees and the trail is well to the west thus better seclusion. From there, lake 10450 is just an easy half mile. Also in early to mid September, expanses of turf height dwarf bilberry will be turning red providing wonderful color to landscapes. Day 5 enjoy your early morning at the lowest Nine Lake when one is most likely to experience calm and then late morning hike to Little Five Lakes, lake at 10270 within a wonderful foxtail pine forest that would be a base to layover in order to explore other lakes in the basin the following day 6. On one of the late afternoons, visit lake 10295. On day 7 hike the 8 miles back to the lower Hamilton Lake. Day 8 hike up Lone Pine Creek to the Elizabeth Pass trail to 9.3k and camp where there are superb view southeast. Day 9 crosscountry to Moose Lake via the 10.9k notch NW. See maiathebees trip report though note one will not see her wildflowers in September:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=18518&p=137408&hili ... ke#p137408

Then day 10 drop down to the Pear Lake area and day 11 back to Wolverton with an extra day to fit in. This itinerary also allows the option to from the Hamilton Lakes repeating the incoming trail route should weather or fitness issues occur.

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