Labor Day Weekend: Humphrey's Loop | High Sierra Topix  

Labor Day Weekend: Humphrey's Loop

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Labor Day Weekend: Humphrey's Loop

Postby Codester » Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:30 pm

After hiking to Royce Lakes a couple months ago and viewing the distant lakes in upper French Canyon, I've been really itching to go back and visit those lakes. So this past weekend, I started at the North lake trailhead around 6:45 to hike up over Piute Pass. My route involved hiking up over Piute pass, hiking to desolation lake, dropping over Carol Col into the french canyon and then hiking back up piute creek back to the trailhead. 30 miles rt with approx 5,000 gain. Hiking up the canyon to Loch Leven was beautiful. Arriving at loch leven, the eager brookies were rising everywhere. I stood up high on a perch and watched them for a while before moving on.
The wispy clouds and breeze were refreshing atop the pass:
Image

The hike from piute pass over to desolation lake was just that.. very desolate. It was however very cool to hike along in the desolate terrain to find tarns and grassy meadows hidden amongst the rocky terrain. After about 10 miles of hiking, I decided it was about time to set up camp and start fishing and caught some very beautiful fish:
Image

Image

Image

Image

The sunset was spectacular:
Image
Image

However, the following 2 days would be completely different when the high winds came in and made complete havoc. Saturday afternoon proved to be very windy and challenging for fishing. I ended up catching a few fish on the down wind sides of the lakes where the fish food was blowing against the shore, but it was a challenging afternoon. The winds really started to get obnoxiously strong around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, with 2 foot white caps across the whole lake, and I decided it would be best to call it for a day. I got back to camp, suprised my tent was still standing and decided to cook up some dinner. While cooking dinner, a Huge gust came up and slammed into my tent. The tent stakes ripped out of the ground and my tent went flying against a huge boulder. I could barely keep a hold of it, while tying to gather my tent stakes and jam them into the rocky ground. That night, i hardly got any sleep.
I awoke the next morning to rolling dark thundery clouds, with high gusts of 60 mph. I looked outside and snapped this photo:
Image
Just before the rain started splattering into my tent. It was about 5:30 in the morning and I looked at the map, wondering if i should go back the way i came in, or to just drop into the canyon to get out of the rain and wind. I decided it would be better to drop low than to go high the way i came in, so i stuffed all my crap in my backback, jumped out of my tent and stuffed my tent in, then was out of there by 6:15am.
As I dropped into french canyon, i found something peculiarly odd.. Someone walked down the entire trail, completely barefoot. These weren't big feet either.. They looked to be like a child's. I thought they may have been from a lost child, or perhaps indians hunting or something? I was baffled. The fishing in french canyon proved to be tricky with the low water flows, but I managed to catch a few colorful goldens.
I reached Hutchinson meadows around noon and fished my way up piute creek off trail. The fish ranged from 8-12" and would eagerly take my flies. I ran into moosetracks along the creek, would have stopped to say high, buy i didnt know it was her and wanted to respect the groups privacy, so I kept moving along.
Camped at golden trout lake and caught fish in the outlet and the upper lake. Fishing was slow in the lower golden trout lake.
Monday proved to be an incredible day after the windy weekend and I took my time hiking back to the trailhead, catching as many fish as i could along the way. I'm eagerly looking forward to my next adventure this weekend.



User avatar
Codester
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:33 am
Location: June Lake, Ca
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Labor Day Weekend: Humphrey's Loop

Postby windknot » Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:26 pm

Thanks for the report! Beautiful pictures and some nice-sized goldens to boot, I hope to make it up to the French Canyon area sometime soon.

Matt
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
User avatar
windknot
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1348
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:07 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Labor Day Weekend: Humphrey's Loop

Postby rayfound » Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:03 pm

Awesome Trip - I absolutely love the french Canyon. Sounds like a good trip you had - care to elaborate more on the details of the route?
User avatar
rayfound
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 328
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Re: Labor Day Weekend: Humphrey's Loop

Postby Codester » Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:35 pm

I started at the trailhead from the North Lake campground for Piute Pass. After reaching the top of the pass, I headed North and passed by Lower Desolation lake and Desolation Lake. After reaching desolation, I hiked over the hill towards Mesa Lake and followed a drainage leading up towards the saddle above Roget, Blanc, and Lorraine lakes. After hanging out around Alsace, Paris and Puppet Lakes for a couple nights, I dropped down towards Elba and Moon Lakes, then down into french canyon towards Hutchinson meadow. From there I basically hiked off trail, following Piute Creek all the way up to Lower Golden Trout lake. The next morning I fished the creek leading all the way to Summit lake. And then fished the streams leading to and coming out of Piute Lake and Loch Leven. Lots of great fishing all along the way
User avatar
Codester
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:33 am
Location: June Lake, Ca
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Labor Day Weekend: Humphrey's Loop

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:20 pm

Nice report and photos, both of the scenery and the nice goldens. You are among the few I heard of in recent years who have actually had success at Desolation L. It has a reputation for nice fish spanning many decades but many who have fished it have struck out, me included (my one visit being in August of 1987).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
User avatar
giantbrookie
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 2439
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:22 am
Location: Fresno
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Labor Day Weekend: Humphrey's Loop

Postby Snow Nymph » Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:33 pm

I bailed on a trip in that area a few years ago when the clouds looked like that. It snowed that night, and we weren't prepared for the cold. We had been out 8 days, and just got resupplied. We were out 2 more days, before bailing. We went back the next year to finish what we started. Beautiful area!

Yeah, That wind last weekend was brutal!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
User avatar
Snow Nymph
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2041
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:43 pm
Location: Santa Barbara & Mammoth Lakes, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Labor Day Weekend: Humphrey's Loop

Postby rayfound » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:13 pm

well, that was an awesome loop, and fairly similar to one I did 5 years ago. I was on the French Canyon, puppet lake, elba lake side this year as well, truly remarkable terrain there.

Great report, and good job on the fishing.
User avatar
rayfound
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 328
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSNbot Media [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 14 guests