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Pioneer Basin TR

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Pioneer Basin TR

Postby copeg » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:21 pm

My wife isn't extremely fond of backpacking, so imagine my surprise when she volunteered for a backpacking trip \:D/ . I thought a nice trip would be one I did about eight years ago - Pioneer Basin and Fourth Recess Lake. The weather on that trip had not cooperated (in fact was downright scary as lighting struck all around my campsite for several hours), making me want to revisit the area again.

On saturday we got a relatively early (but slow) start from Mosquito Flat up to and over Mono Pass. The day was clear and beautiful, and the wildflowers along much of the route seemed to be in full bloom. Arriving in upper Pioneer Basin by mid-afternoon, we found the area surprisingly crowded. Not wanting to encroach on the other folks camps, we finally settled on a nice site above the lake, exposed enough to get a nice breeze to blew away the skeeters. Fishing in Pioneer Basin is just rediculously easy. Its not even competitive, I pulled in brookie after brookie with every cast. We finally settled to have trout for dinner, after which we had one of those amazing and fiery High Sierra sunsets.

Following morning we woke to cloudy skies, no wind, and what I'm going to call hordes of 'super-skeeters' that spent the morning buzzing our ears, getting sucked in with every breath, and eating through the 40% deet. By midmorning we were packing away from the basin, being driven away in frustration by the bugs. A quick hike over to Fourth Recess Lake we found the bugs much more tolerable. A quiet afternoon with the clouds always building, we expected the weather to turn wild, but only had a bout of ten minutes of intense rain. We were surprised to be the only ones at the lake.

The following morning was clear, but the clouds began building quite early. With thoughts of Fish Tacos on our mind, we hiked back out over Mono Pass, reaching Whoa Nellie Deli in time for lunch.

All in all a fantastic trip (although I'm still itching ;) ).

P.S. I always like trying out new techniques, and on this trip my new toy was a gravity water filter I made from a katadyn hiker filter, sil-nylon, some tubing, and a few rubber bands (weight ~5oz). I gotta say I'm hooked. I've used all kinds of water purification and the last few years was hooked on aqua mira. But tiring of the taste (yes, I can taste the chlorine) and time it takes to purify, I thought I'd try something new. Here's one vote for gravity filters.

Some pics (more to come):
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Re: Pioneer Basin TR

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:16 pm

That was quick TB. My old lady would have killed me if I tried to take her out when the
skeetrz where as bad as they are right now.
I prefer Pioneer Basin for a fall trip myself but understand why you'd choose this area
for her.
Kind of surprised the lakes being crowded, but then again there not difficult to get too and
are not that far from MF Trailhead.
Nice pic's good to see clear, smoke free skies, I've been delaying my trips till it started
to clear up again, by the way did you use a polarizer for the first 2 pic's (probably)?
Have you ever tried the Steri-pen for water purification, its the fastest(4c in 2 min's)
no pumping, waiting, or after taste(just clean H2O taste).
I usually dont use it unless in populated areas where I cannot get to a clean
source, otherwise its dip and drink.
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Re: Pioneer Basin TR

Postby hikerduane » Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:31 pm

Nice. Love that last photo.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Pioneer Basin TR

Postby copeg » Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:58 pm

Thanks Maverick and Duane!

maverick wrote:That was quick TB. My old lady would have killed me if I tried to take her out when the
skeetrz where as bad as they are right now.

:lol:

I was surprised to see as many folks as we did, and not as many folks at Fourth Recess Lake. Yeah, I used a polarizer on both those first two.

I've tried the Steripen...brought it on a trip in November a few years back, and the damn thing died on me - even after warming the thing up in my jacket. After reading it doesn't work well below 32F, I took it back (not that a filter wouldn't freeze though #-o). I usually just dip and drink as well, but in places where horses frequent (such as along much of this route - even saw a horse take a huge...um, er...leak...in Summit Lake :puke: ) I always treat.
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Re: Pioneer Basin TR

Postby SSSdave » Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:03 pm

Nice wide angle sky images tb.

Pioneer Basin is one classic Sierra destination I've never managed to visit though have had plans to that have all fallen through. My current plans I've sat on a few years is to base camp in the basin four nights with the final night at Summit Lake. Your 3-day trip seems like a lot of hiking given the 8 miles and 2800 feet of vertical. I'm not at all surprised to hear that the lakes #2 and #3 are crowded mid summer consiering the scenery and fishing. And lake #1 aka Mud Lake likely has visitors. But I'm betting much of the rest of that basin is usually vacant and would in fact not camp at the two popular lakes but rather at an unnamed small pond with a view.

Also why is it the mosquitoes drove you two out? I seem to be asking that question quite a bit on this board. We often backpack in peak mosquito season without being annoyed much if there are alot about. I do get bitten on my hands and wrists if fishing because each time one sticks their hands in a lake the DEET washes off so one tends to not bother. And I will admit when mosquitoes get so bad like one sees in eastern Emigrant Basin with clouds all about where they are continually swarming about one's head it does get to be too much even for someone wearing a good head net simply because of the nuisance dealing with gear while wearing the net.
Last edited by SSSdave on Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pioneer Basin TR

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:19 pm

Yeah the thing can be finicky, almost annoying sometimes, especially with
lithium batteries that are notoriously unreliable in colder weather.
I usually have the thing in my sleeping bag which does help, but there have
been a few times when I needed it and it wouldn't work immediately (mornings).
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Re: Pioneer Basin TR

Postby MooseTracks » Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:08 pm

Great TR and the photos are amazing! What a beautiful couple of days for you and your wife! :D

I looked down on Pioneer Basin from Mt. Stanford (N) a few weeks ago when we did the traverse from there to Morgan. Those lakes are amazing, indeed. Can't wait to explore it myself someday! And bring the fishing pole!

From 6-14-08:

Image

My friend Kathy said she cried when she and her friends had to leave Pioneer Basin after a trip. Now I'm REALLY itchin' to get back in there (pun on the mossie sitch intended!).

-Laura :cool:
"Why do I climb? Quite simply because the mountains and I had to meet." - Colette Richard

http://www.flickr.com/photos/moosepics621
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Re: Pioneer Basin TR

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:07 pm

Cool shot of Pioneer, Fourth Recess Lake and a peak into Third Recess MooseTracks.
If Stanford was a little more east you probably could have seen Snow and Third Recess
Lakes(both probably covered with ice/snow) or if you made the same shot from
Mt.Huntington.
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Re: Pioneer Basin TR

Postby copeg » Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:58 am

Thanks Dave and Laura.

Dave, surprisingly, 'Mud Lake' didn't seem to have anyone there. We stayed between the 2nd and 3rd lakes, and the second had 3+ parties there. In the morning, we had two parties pass below our camp who were camped above, making me think the upper basin wasn't any less crowded. As for why the mosquitos drove us out? One reason: wife. :D

Laura, that's a cool picture. The view from Stanford must've been incredible.
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Re: Pioneer Basin TR

Postby madeintahoe » Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:54 am

What a beautiful area to take your wife!
Beautiful pictures :)
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