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Re: 8-day SEKI loop, looking for campsite info

Posted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:46 pm
by CapnPaul
Okay, so now I'm on the antlers of a dilemma...

Add a side trip to Tamarack Lake on day 2?


Add a side trip to Big Five Lakes on day 5?

I've never been to either, and they both look just gorgeous. I'm thinking Tamarack will be crowded since my day 2 is a Saturday, and Big Five Lakes will offer more solitude and grandeur. What about the fishing at Big Five vs Tamarack?

Re: 8-day SEKI loop, looking for campsite info

Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:27 pm
by Wandering Daisy
You could camp at Little 5 Lakes and do the side-trip to Big 5 Lakes. I do not understand the side trip to Little 5 Lake concept- you are already there on your way to Blackrock Pass. Big 5 Lakes are more spectacular than Little 5 Lakes, so that may justify camping there. If you do that a side trip up the Big 5 valley would make more sense, or if people are fishing, drop to the lake below Big 5.

The trouble with a side-trip to Tamarack Lake, is really a long side-trip and may result in going up the hot, dry, south-facing hill to Hamilton Lake (from the bridge) in the afternoon heat. I would rather go up to Hamilton in the morning. and then you could continue to Precipice to camp, where it would be less crowded. It would also make a shorter next day, even allow for a side-trip in Nine Lakes Basin. A really great side-trip from Keweah Gap is to scramble up Mt Stewart just north of the pass. It has a great view down towards Tamarack Lake.

edit- there are limited campsites and Precipice Lake, - it is a quick hike up towards Keweah Gap where there is more camping. Depends on how many tents you will have. As you start up the trail from Precipice Lake, there is a use-trail that goes left off the main trail. This trail leads to several constructed campsites. Photo below.

Re: 8-day SEKI loop, looking for campsite info

Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:54 pm
by grampy
Fishing conditions aside, you may want to decide Day 2 based on effort (side-tripping to T. Lake adds about 1400’ elev gain, vs skipping it) and timing (you may want to reach Hamilton Lake earlier, to find tent spots and allow time for swimming/enjoying the views.
I haven’t visited Big Five Lakes (other than viewing from a distance), but they would be a nice side-trip; if you camp not too far into Nine L.B. (“heart-shaped lake”, for example) the night before, it is around 6 miles and 1200’ gain plus 1200’ loss to hike to Lake 10476’ in LFL. Set up camp, then can do approx 7-8 miles (on trail) and 1270’ elev gain (and loss) - round trip - to visit a couple of the BFL ... your mileage may vary. But better minds than mine can give you better advice.
EDIT: I just saw Wandering Daisy’s post; you should take her advice over mine

Re: 8-day SEKI loop, looking for campsite info

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:49 pm
by CapnPaul
Thanks Daisy and Grampy. As you both pointed out, Tamarack doesn't really fit into this trip's master plan so I'll save it for another time.

I've hunted around for info and reports on Nine Lakes Basin and found limited information. From what I can see, most of that area is beautiful but barren and exposed, and it's the opposite direction of our travel so I'm inclined to continue south into Big Arroyo. I understand there are many campsites along the creek on the way to LFL basin.

My logic behind camping at BFL first, then continuing to LFL is threefold. We all enjoy fishing, and there are Goldens, Rainbows and Brookies in BFL. Secondly, from what I can tell BFL are more scenic than LFL and likely less popular/crowded. Third, once we leave BFL we will be continuing in our main direction of travel, and won't have to hike 10 miles round trip just to visit BFL for the day.

Daisy, we will likely camp at Hamilton rather than Precipice, but we plan to take a nice long break at Precipice on our way over Kaweah Gap. For future reference though, how many 2P tents can fit at that Precipice site?

Thanks so much for all your input!