The no.2 alternative (as conceived at the time--I've since modified this one) was to start at Bear Diversion dam, to to Cirque Lake, then Apollo, Orchid, and Three Island, then over the hump to Lower Turret Lake with a side trip to Pinnacles Creek then a long off trail route that briefly catches the JMT but leaves it and eventually works its way around to Chamberlain Lake. This would have been a shuttle with one car at Hooper Diversion and one at Bear. After learning about the semi official trail to Marcella, Cirque et al.....
Chamberlain Lake is really pretty, set in a nice cirque. What I remember is that there's a bit of sandy beach going into the water, which is very attractive if you've just struggled up there on a hot day. We did it as a day hike loop by traversing over to Hooper Lakes, the lowest one, and then taking a pretty good use trail back to Hooper Diversion Dam.
Now what's this about a semi-official trail to Marcella, etc.? I remember awhile back that there was some discussion of a route visiting that string of lakes above Bear Creek; I even took part in it. But my memories of that area are very distant; it would have been back in the 1980s when we spent several hours thrashing around on the slope above Bear Dam looking for a route that went that way. The most we found was a kind of depression (not a bench) that we followed for some distance along the slope before it petered out. If it had been a trail/road at one time, it wasn't anymore. But things change--and it's also true that we had far less experience with xc travel back then, so we may have simply been looking in the wrong place! You've reminded me though that this was also an area of interest to us, so maybe we'll start thinking about it as plan C. Regaining trail somewhere beyond/below Orchid (the map is downstairs), we might hop up to Seven Gables Lakes. That's one of my all-time favorites.
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