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Which Lakes in the Mono Divide?

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Which Lakes in the Mono Divide?

Postby maverick » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:04 pm

For those of you who have also travelled extensively in the Mono Divide, which lakes
have been the most memorable in terms of beauty, not only the lake itself, but
also its surroundings?
Pioneer Basin Lakes, Fourth Recess Lake, Chickenfoot Lake, Mills Creek Lakes
Vee Lake to name a very few.
Which ones have stayed etched in your mind, and why?



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Re: Which Lakes in the Mono Divide?

Postby paul » Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:34 pm

Does Merriam Lake qualify as being in the Mono Divide? Right at treeline, pretty lake, off the trail a little to keep the people numbers low, lovely little cirque, alpenglow on Mt. Humphreys.
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Re: Which Lakes in the Mono Divide?

Postby maverick » Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:00 pm

Yes it does.
I would like to revisit the area after 15+ yrs, and I would love to hear about some
of the off the beaten path lakes, ponds, meadows, or ridgelines that are extremely
photogenic in this area.
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Re: Which Lakes in the Mono Divide?

Postby quentinc » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:35 pm

It's hard to top Vee Lake. And the fact that my tent once blew into it etches it into my mind that much more.
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Re: Which Lakes in the Mono Divide?

Postby TehipiteTom » Sat Aug 22, 2009 6:26 am

For alpenglow, Upper Recess Peak Lake is pretty choice. Directly below the west face of Recess Peak, and there's nothing higher to the west, so it catches the last light.
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Re: Which Lakes in the Mono Divide?

Postby maverick » Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:43 am

Yes Vee Lake I remember well, but none of the other lakes are very memorable in the area
at least in my memory, except for one of the upper Bear Lakes.
Some of the Recess Lakes are pretty, Upper Mills is pretty, Snow was okay.
Coming over Royce Pass towards the east I remember a meadow with a lot of flowers which
was very impressive.
What about Gable Lakes under the Four Gables to the east?
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Re: Which Lakes in the Mono Divide?

Postby quentinc » Sat Aug 22, 2009 10:59 am

I forgot to mention Grinnell Lake -- one of my favorite in the Sierra. Sunset on Red & White Mountain above the lake is pretty wonderful.

As for Vee --- I love the entire Bear Lakes basin. Also, the lakes below Seven Gables are very nice.
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Re: Which Lakes in the Mono Divide?

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:02 am

My very favorite in this area, in terms of scenery, is the unnamed lake above the "Hourglass" on Mt. Dade. It has talus-streaked ice calving into it with jagged pinnacles above. Few spots are more savagely alpine in the Sierras than this one.

Second favorite, if it qualifies (it's not really Mono Divide, but since maverick put in Chickenfoot, I'll put in a vote for...) is Spire Lake below Bear Creek Spire on the E. side. Deep and rugged with the finest face of Bear Creek Spire above it. Finally comes a choice that many folks don't like. This is Lake Italy. Why do I like Lake Italy? It is not so much the view from it, which is nice, but fairly ordinary. It is the view of Lake Italy from above from summits such as Gabb and Hilgard. Because of the lake's size and shape, it serves as a very nice backdrop to the peaks beyond.

Speaking of Grinnell, I've never been there, but from above (from the summit of Red and White) it is quite stunning, much in the same way L. Italy is because it is so big and its surroundings are richly colored (Red and White is aptly named for its deeply colored metamorphic rocks). The drop off down to Grinnell from Red and White is steep enough so that the view of Grinnell from above gives the impression of flying over the lake.
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
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Re: Which Lakes in the Mono Divide?

Postby maverick » Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:51 am

Is that lake west and above Dade Lake GB?
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Re: Which Lakes in the Mono Divide?

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:38 pm

maverick wrote:Is that lake west and above Dade Lake GB?

It is indeed above and WSW of Dade Lake and it is more or less at the base of the S slope of Mt. Dade, SSE of the summit.
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
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Re: Which Lakes in the Mono Divide?

Postby maverick » Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:03 pm

Gracias
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Re: Which Lakes in the Mono Divide?

Postby SSSdave » Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:22 pm

I've been to all the lakes mentioned and many more though by no means all in that zone. Topographically the Mono Divide is just the area between Mono Creek and the Italy Branch of Bear Creek. Thus areas like Grinnel or Vee Lake are beyond. So Mav what you really mean is the west of the crest Bear and Mono Creek basins?

With lake aesthetics much has to do with elements like the shape of peaks behind a body of water or whether or not such elements block the sun. Many scenic lakes are only beautiful at one period of the day and that is usually when they are front lit by sunlight. Some lakes without ridges to the east are beautiful from just after sunrise till mid morning when the sun becomes impossibly harsh. Other lakes are so blocked by ridges that they only become beautiful for a brief period at mid morning when the sun has risen high enough to light their shores but no so late that the light is harsh. A few scenic lakes have interesting features both to the west, east, north, and south of their shores thus may be beautiful over more of a day. With lakes and ponds, calm reflecting water usually offers the best aesthetic possibilities, however that depends on the fickle nature of winds. Besides the obvious element of weather, the likelyhood a lake will have calm conditions has much to do with its location in a landscape and understanding such nature is something few visitors likely have much understanding of. Often the most aesthetic bodies of waters for reflection images are unnamed ponds because elements on opposite sides are close enough to be interesting and waves on their small waters calm much quicker.

The period during a season one visits a lake can make a considerable difference on its beauty. Generally lakes look best during the short period of peak summer greening when wildflowers and vegetation are nicely green, streams are still lacing across landscapes, and small snowfields dapple nearby slopes and peaks. Also the best light may depend on when the rising or setting sun is unblocked by peaks and ridges and such periods may only be a few days or weeks each year.

There are a number of superb potential lake and pond images about the Mono Divide region I know about but have not yet captured well enough with large format to go public with and generally am not apt to say much about them much like lakes with large trout. Lower Mills Creek Lake is one lake with a beautiful late afternoon views during late July thru early August when turf about its shores are a beautiful green. However because a towering craggy ridge blocks the morning sun in the east, the graphically nice curving view west is hard to capture because by time the sun appears, it is also usually too harsh on the bright granite geology about that landscape. Unfortunately Sierra afternoons are rather consistently breezy with only brief periods of mornings likely to offer calm so a visitor ought expect to enjoy that lake with wavy blue waters instead of a calm relfection. In early morning when it is likely to be calm, the landscape is likely to be boringly flat shadows.
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