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Z-Lake trails

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Z-Lake trails

Postby Bill Anderson » Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:45 am

I have seen references to camping at Z Lake, which is past the end of Saddlebag Lake, off of the Tioga Pass Road.

But I can't find the trail marked on any of the maps that I have, nor have I seen a sign when I have done the 20 lakes loop.

Hopefully someone can tell me where the trail to Z Lake takes off from the loop.

Bill



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Postby cgundersen » Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:26 am

Hi Bill,
OK, to get to Z, you're going to have to take those first undirected steps off the trail, which, when/if you get accustomed to it, will lead you to spots in the mountains that will generally exceed (in beauty and solitude) most anything you can reach on trail (and I have nothing against trails, it's just my experiences off trail typically far surpass those on trail). Anyway, most off-trail sites/routes in the mountains do not have signs, so you need to get comfortable doing your own navigating using whatever tools (topo map, compass, GPS, dead reckoning) you can bring to the table. For some folks, it comes naturally, others, not. Regardless, the Saddlebag area is a great one to test your mettle, because it's got so many nice lakes, and it's hard to get lost.
Good luck!
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Re: Z-Lake trails

Postby copeg » Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:33 am

Bill Anderson wrote:I have seen references to camping at Z Lake, which is past the end of Saddlebag Lake, off of the Tioga Pass Road.

But I can't find the trail marked on any of the maps that I have, nor have I seen a sign when I have done the 20 lakes loop.

Hopefully someone can tell me where the trail to Z Lake takes off from the loop.

Bill


Here's the topozone of the area, z-lake is in the center, as cgundersen mentioned, its off the trail some.
http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=37. ... ize=l&s=50
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Postby Bill Anderson » Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:39 am

Thanks for the info so far. I am experienced in off trail navigation, but my wife is always a bit queasy about it. And the forthcoming day hikes will be with her.

My first guess is that I take the trail towards Steelhead (i.e. starting the 20 lakes loop clockwise). Then when the trail makes a shart left turn I go right up the hill towards Z Lake.

Is that a decent way? Is there an unmarked trail in the area?

Any information you can give would aid domestic tranquility.

Bill
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Postby cgundersen » Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:27 pm

Hi Bill,
If my memory of that basin serves me correctly, in this case, the sustained veering of the trail to the left that you mention will be the clue that it's time to head to the right and up the hill to Z lake. Keep in mind that the standard topo maps are very good approximations of what you'll see on the ground, but they leave out a lot of detail. In other words, the first time the trail takes a bit of a slant to the left, may not be the time to leave the trail. It is the sustained left (that should be visible) that is the clue. At the same time, the map tells you that it's not a huge uphill slog to Z; maybe only ~100 feet elevation gain (judged by the number of contour lines you cross). Plus, Z is pretty big, ergo, hard to miss. And, the best fallback situation is that even if you miss Z completely (say, by leaving the loop trail too early) you'll wind up hitting the return trail, and then you can distribute however many valiums are necessary, re-group and zig back to Z.
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