Backcountry Meeting | High Sierra Topix  

Backcountry Meeting

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!

Re: Backcountry Meeting

Postby Cross Country » Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:43 pm

After reading this, 3 aspects of the wilderness experience came to my mind. 1) the adventure aspect;
2) the fishing aspect; 3) the social aspect. This was obviously a good fishing trip. It was certainly an adventure. From the social aspect this report reads about as good as it gets. I'm really happy for each of you. I feel a little envy too. Great trip. Great read.



Cross Country
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1119
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:16 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Backcountry Meeting

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:06 pm

Image

Day 2 started out cloudy and stayed partly overcast, with about 30 seconds of light rain early on (just for variety). Around 7:30 am, I set out with Mike and Matt for a lake in the next basin over. Their idea was to meet and fish with John (giantbrookie), who was planning to dayhike to this lake; I just tagged along in the hope of meeting yet another HST icon.

The way over to the other lake was fun and interesting, with excellent routefinding by Mike and Matt (while I enjoyed the luxury of second-guessing them from the rear). I'm pretty sure the way we took was much better than the trail we kept intersecting. Again, lots of flowers all the way along.

Image

And some swell views from the ridge, in spite of the cloud cover.

Image

At the lake I left Mike and Matt to their fishing, and picked up the trail up to a nearby pass. Which had some pretty swell views of its own...again, despite the cloud cover.

Image

Returning via the lake, I figured I'd see if John had shown up. Scanning the lakeshore, I saw just two tiny figures, probably Mike and Matt, fishing the opposite shore. I hailed them: "any sign of John?" "Yeah," one of them responded, "this is John." Okay then. But they were quite a ways away, and (more to the point) it looked like a real pain in the neck to get there...so I figured yelling at him across the lake was as close as I'd get to meeting John.

Back in camp, I spent a semi-relaxing afternoon reading while trying to avoid a) mosquitoes and b) sun. Later in the afternoon, it turned out John and his friend Todd had decided to grace us with their presence. So we had a special HST happy hour with middle-shelf margaritas (lower-shelf tequila, top-shelf Grand Marnier) while John regaled us with stories of his legendary Brew Schist tours (geology & brewpubs: two great tastes that taste great together!).

Dinner was the aforementioned Trout & Morel Burritos--another remarkably tasty backcountry repast. More drinking, more lively and entertaining conversation, more tall (or maybe just medium-height) tales of the backcountry.
User avatar
TehipiteTom
Founding Member
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:42 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Backcountry Meeting

Postby markskor » Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:12 pm

“Wanna talk about how your hiking pole got repaired on the trail, or maybe how your bubble and fly got retrieved?”

Really trying to stick it to me Russ? OK, I’ll bite – thick skin here. Upon arriving at the first lake destination, our intended home site for 3 days with this rag-tag group of HST misanthropes, I was last. Yes the trail was hot and sweaty and I was the slowest – perhaps only because I had to pause twice for a couple of forced bowel explosions on the way up (Thanks for making me admit to that Russ!). Tom may have mentioned that it was because of my choice of beer at El Cids – Corona (everybody drank something different in a Mexican beer.), but maybe it was due to the heavy yet succulent lard content in the pre-hike meal, or maybe due to my fat ass weighting me down, or that it was a good 90+º…whatever. I was not that far behind.

On reaching the lake, there was an outlet with a log bridge that needed crossing. My last step, I planted my BD poles and stepped straight through the log bridge – testicle-deep into the creek – snapping a hiking pole like a twig…Grrrrrr! (Got that picture?)

Luckily, Steve, the metal artist, had a pair of heavy needle nose pliers along in his pack. Thanks to about an hour of metal work, copious amounts of alcohol, and pure luck, I was able to re-bend the poles bottom section and insert the smaller broken end back into the flicklock. Now with the middle and top sections all extended…145 cm, the bottom section only extended a few inches but long enough to still enable the pole to work.

My fly-and-bubble setup was really working well. Not as good as Russ’s red Roostertail but knocking them dead at a regular rate too…Life was good at my corner spot. One cast, I happened to “hurst” the bubble out a good ways but…(You know this story.)…snap/zing, out it went – ½ way across the continent.
I was intending to follow its wind-blown course and retrieve it – eventually, maybe swim for it to recover my working fly but Russ courageously volunteered to cast over it and see if he could snag it. There is an old Greek saying: “Even a blind pig sometimes finds an acorn”, and much to my surprise, second cast he snagged it. Russ is OK in my book but don’t ever let him know.

About the 70 footer I caught… (I know you have that photograph). It was just a log – 70 feet out that miraculously jumped up clean out of the lake and snatched my lure mid air…Amazing logs up there. (Nothing like trying to turn around a floating telephone pole while wading out waist deep, all the while swatting a bazillion mosquitoes in the process.) I did successfully recover that lure but unfortunately about 2 minutes too late as alas the HST peanut gallery arrived on site a bit too soon. I can still hear the snide commentary as they directed my recovery…
BTW, we have some sick puppies on our forum.
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2048
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Backcountry Meeting

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:28 pm

I can still hear the snide commentary as they directed my recovery…
BTW, we have some sick puppies on our forum.

Incidentally, in case anyone is concerned that we spent any time dishing on HST members who weren't there, we absolutely did not. We didn't talk about y'all at all.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
;)
User avatar
TehipiteTom
Founding Member
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:42 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Backcountry Meeting

Postby ERIC » Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:03 pm

Hahaha! Yes!! This thread right here is "Exhibit A" for the pleasure one might get from hosting a chaotic, SPAMER-prone mess like HST. :D :D :D
New members, please consider giving us an intro!
Follow us on Twitter @HighSierraTopix. Use hashtags #SIERRAPHILE #GotSierra? #GotMountains?
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HighSierraTopix
User avatar
ERIC
Your Humble Host & Forums Administrator
Your Humble Host & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2909
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:13 am
Location: between the 916 and 661
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Backcountry Meeting: GB version

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:28 pm

"It is like backpacking without backpacking" (isn't that an old school Bruce Lee Enter the Dragon quote?) For my part of the deal, I couldn't come along on the backpack trip because I forfeited my one backpack "ticket" for 2010 (traded for an "extra" geology conference). Instead, I planned to do a surgical long dayhike and intercept the Topix luminaries either at their campsite or at a "target" lake. Death march buddy Todd Ramsden (alumni of several epics with me in the past starting with Edyth from Cherry Lake in 1986, and most recently before this dayhike, Tunechuck 2008) arrived from Chico the evening before and we set off at about 6 am from Fresno, arriving at our 2nd choice trailhead (first choice was reported to still be blocked by timber and snow) at 810 am. Having to do the "brute force" trail approach versus the first choice off trail approach meant making good time as the equalizer for not having the fun and style points for the off trail approach. The weather was hot and muggy and by shirt was sticking to my back after 5 minutes. My mosquito free season vanished with a vengeance. There would be very few breaks from the bugs on this trip. These were the worst mosquitoes I've dealt with since a 9-day 1996 Cottonwood-Shepherd epic with my wife (which ranks as the worst mosquito epic ever). The mosquitoes were quite "Emigrant-like". This probably helped spur us along in our hiking. We cruised into a lake basin and then to a specific lake in it that we expected to meet some Topix folks. We didn't see them, so we pushed on off trail over a divide to the beautifully alpine target lake. Circling this lake anticlockwise we climbed some moderately steep snow slopes mixed with a few boulders while I sprayed an array of casts from various spots into the lifeless lake, with the first cast coming a bit before 11 am. Somebody called out to me (by name) from the inlet side. I couldn't tell who it was, and I was far enough along that I didn't want to go back. I simply said that I was headed for the inlet area, figuring whomever was calling out to me would cruise along the easier far shoreline to the inlet and meet me there. Soon after we spotted a (different) solitary guy hiking along the opposite shoreline. We met up at the inlet and it turned out to be Mike (Old Ranger). After introductions we chatted a bit. He had seen a fish "boil" (feeding just below surface) twice, but that was it. I now finished the anticlockwise circling of the lake, having thrown all manner or retrieves at the lake with pretty good water coverage. The lake is somewhat rockier on the bottom than I imagined, so I didn't take my lures to the bottom as often as I expected to. One way or another, the big brookies were hiding somewhere and it was not to be. At the inlet we met Mike's son, Matt who was apparently the fastest hiker of their group. Other members of the crew were apparently too beat to hike to the target lake that day after dragging into lower lake in the adjacent basin afternoon before. Matt mentioned something to the effect that he had never heard anybody speak as ill of Fresno as his dad, who apparently grew up there. I mentioned that I doubted that he spoke as ill of Fresno as my wife, a Fresno native, who like Mike believed she had escaped when she went to college. Unlike Mike, she was dragged back. Now I understood why Mike (and others) never stopped by to have a drink with me in Fresno when passing through the area for a trip. After lounging around a bit, we left the lake at about 3 pm. Todd and I became separated from Matt and Mike heading for the lake we had so cavalierly passed up on the way up. This lake, which was our kickoff point cross country is apparently obscured from line-of-sight view from the crest of the basin and this led Todd and I to head for the visible lower lake by mistake (should have pulled the topo out of my pocket). The lower lake proved to be very shallow. A fair number of rises were seen and we crossed the inlet stream to fish the far side from the trail. We passed a campsite with a fair number of folks scattered about--two guys were fishing. Soon I was across the cove from one of the fishermen who bore a close resemblance to Mark (Markskor). I caught a couple of rainbows right away. One was 8" and the other was a skinny 12" and change (3/8 oz brass/red Z-Ray on first, little one, and 1/4 oz of the same pattern for the larger one). Eventually we clued in that the group of folks was in fact the Topix crew so after fruitless casts along most of the rest of the lake's shoreline we headed over the socialize. By this time Mike had made it back down--he had expected us at the next lake up. What we heard made me really regret messing up and missing the casts there--that lakes apparently produced lots of plump rainbows between 12 and 14". Oh well, the lake isn't going anywhere. Mike, Mark, Tom (Tehipite Tom), Russ (rlown), and Steve (Russ' friend) were all present and they had brought the goods for a serious party, with the first course being margeritas with a touch of Grand Marnier. Tasty indeed. I really wished I could have been camped there instead of having to drink and hike. Interestingly enough, the most mosquito free part of the entire day was when we were drinking with the crew. Perhaps mosquitoes don't like alcoholic breath and sweat. It was fun hanging out with the Topix crew, but it was after 5 pm and we were still a way from the car, so Todd and I reshouldered our day packs and applied the signature off trail touch to the trip: a traverse to a trailless basin. I realized that this operation would be cutting it very close in terms of allowable daylight, but I really wanted to investigate a trailless basin that someone had suggested was a potentially good family spot. The off trail trek provided the missing hiking fun for the trip (Todd and I enjoy off trail hiking vastly more than on), reminding us of the west flank off trail stuff we'd done on the Tunechuck trip in '08. The main lake of the trailless group is a very nice lake with a Japanese garden sort of look owing to its irregular shoreline (looks like several lakes or a lake with lots of big islands). The amount of visible fish activity was moderate and the mosquitoes incredibly bad, but I eventually got the fish dialed in and caught five plump brookies, all 10 and 11" all on the 1/4 oz brass/red Z-Ray before realizing that I had quit to give us any chance at all of making the car by nightfall. The ease of fishing and nice setting, plus fairly easy access (if the other road is open) do indeed make this a good family destination, so as long as the one isn't being eaten alive by dense clouds of mosquitoes. We left the lake at about 710 pm or a perhaps a bit later. The darkness started to become a factor during the off trail descent, especially in some mixed boulder and brush sections (chose to take a ridge route instead of creek route that would have gotten us to trail more quickly--this was a bug avoidance strategy), but the cross country was generally quick and fun. The last mile plus on the trail was hiked in more or less total darkness, for we arrived at the car at 9 pm. Having to drive the dirt roads much more slowly than usual, owing to the darkness, plus a food stop in Oakhurst, and we arrived back home a bit before midnight. We had indeed spent a very full day. With the off trail cutover to the trailless spot and the trailless trek back to the trail we recovered much of the missing "pizzazz" that we had lost by not being able to go out of our first choice road. All told, though, the hike wasn't super severe, the fishing was so-so, so what really made the trip a memorable epic was getting to meet the Topix folks, and the fact that we really stretched the day.
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: Backcountry Meeting

Postby rlown » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:23 pm

ok, more info.. this was the upper lake. A UV-intense, stunted brookie lake. Kinda glad I threw the 3/8 Z-Ray at it, because they were almost smaller than my lure. When I went to lay in the shade and swat some more skeeters, Steve caught 15 brookies up to all of 8" (15 mins).

upper.jpg
upper lake


This is a view I do not want to attempt again, as Steve and I circled the lake. But It turned out to be the best lake of 3 for steady 11-14" fish.

target.jpg
middle


This is what we were consistently pulling out of the inlet at Middle:

Inlet.jpg
average


Can't beat a great trip, involving food, friends and fish.

Russ
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5349
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Backcountry Meeting

Postby Ozark Flip » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:11 pm

Ah, HST style! Featuring some of HST’s finest! And hard-core….with abalone steaks???? Russ, you are my new BFF!

Incidentally, in case anyone is concerned that we spent any time dishing on HST members who weren't there, we absolutely did not. We didn't talk about y'all at all.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Ha! You don’t have to hit me in the face with a wet mop!

Needless to say, this is a fantastic read. A good time was had. Mark really cracks me up…killing the crossing log…. catching spawning hook-jaws and phone poles….I cannot believe you all let him cook....I never do. I have had recipe conversations with him though and he seems to know his stuff….learning anyway….he can fold a napkin in more different ways than I can.

There were 7 maybe 10 large fish lined up, snapping up whatever bugs came down the waterfall stream. There were easily 1 ½ - 2 pounders positioned in a row waiting, all in a bathtub-sized pool. I do not know how fish decide positions, maybe a hierarchy of dominance/size, but they kept to their own individual spots.


Rainbows and browns weirdly enough do not have a hierarchy based on dominance/size. They simply defer to the one closest to the food at that particular time. They are stacked there and all feeding their fair share and none try to take over another feeder. Cutthroats are the ones that are cannibals and very territorial. They defer to the largest which will chase away any other feeder from the location. The larger cutt simply displays its larger red/orange slash and the small fish get outta there.

I have been in the Warner’s and other northern destinations and just getting around to hearing about your adventure. My million dollar question, in three days did anyone go to the big round lake north of your camp (between your camp and the pass)?

Right on with the right on,

Flip
User avatar
Ozark Flip
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 373
Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 12:31 pm
Location: Escalon & Cottonwood California
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Backcountry Meeting

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:32 pm

Ozark Flip wrote:My million dollar question, in three days did anyone go to the big round lake north of your camp (between your camp and the pass)?
Right on with the right on,
Flip

See "target lake" in GB account above. Yes, several of us did and this was indeed the main objective of the operation, from a fishing standpoint. I think the place pitched a total no hitter for everyone (certainly me), but I could be wrong.
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: Backcountry Meeting

Postby Jaeger » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:45 pm

What a post! Great to see the camaraderie that HST can inspire.
User avatar
Jaeger
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:24 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Backcountry Meeting

Postby rlown » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:09 pm

Jaeger wrote:What a post! Great to see the camaraderie that HST can inspire.


Um, It was all Mike's fault, and he did it for himself :rolleyes: . He knew we'd carry in the necessary libations, other stuff.

these are the lures that kicked butt on the trip for me.

lures 002.jpg
my choice of lures
lures 002.jpg (70.13 KiB) Viewed 108 times


All of these caught fish. Two Wyldedge, One Rainbow bodied Roostertail, and my old go-to, the Red body, black blade panther martin.

I didn't resort to fly and bubble. There was really no need.

notice that most of my favorite lures are dressed. I can't explain it, but I have the best luck with those.. As for Z-rays.. I casted my 3/8 oz, and the retrieve speed makes them dart side to side at different rates. These lakes didn't like the jerk in between retrieve. I could see them shy away. A steady retrieve and then a little bit faster made them mad and they hit. It's more about practice and getting a follow. I direct tie my z-rays with a double base loop and the standard 5 twist down through both loops and up the main loop. GB was also throwing 1/4 oz z-rays which were probably a better choice for the lakes we were at.

random thoughts,

Russ
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5349
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Previous

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot], mkbgdns and 9 guests