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Most remote location in the sierra?

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Re: Most remote location in the sierra?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:51 pm

The Nevada wilderness that is said to be the most remote is Jarbidge. I have never been there - sounds really interesting.

http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/wildView?WID=274



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Re: Most remote location in the sierra?

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:08 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:The Nevada wilderness that is said to be the most remote is Jarbidge. I have never been there - sounds really interesting.


I've been to the town along the main fork of the river of the same name, for fishing, of course. I did hike into the northern part of the wilderness a bit and it appears to be very lightly used. The road through the town is dirt and there are about 40 people that live there year-round. One gas station, one small store, one restaurant and two bars. Priorities, I guess! I took the road west out of there all the way to Hwy 225 and while I was driving and not in the wilderness area, I didn't see another vehicle or another person the whole time. A vast sea of sagebrush, rocks and a few pronghorn. It is indeed a beautiful area.

Yeah, I know...this isn't in the Sierra...my apologies...
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Re: Most remote location in the sierra?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Jan 31, 2016 11:32 am

You could be right about Tunemah but from not seeing any to not a single one hitting the surface even when bugs swarmed all over it to the lake having a horribly large population of water flees and red copepods which is something I typically see in fishless lakes so I just feel it has none.

Tunemah was one of those less pleasant places for me. To try and get a clean bottle of water I went to the outlet. During the day I could get a bottle without copepods in it but the water smelled bad although tasted fine. But during the evening the copepods seemed to migrate down stream as suddenly I could not get a bottle without them in it from the outlet. I had to fold my head net over as many times as I could and put it over my bottle to get clean water.

As far as remoteness goes I don't think much will compare to the feeling of being at that horrible little lake out on the Ragged Spur. I'll never know if someone signs my register I left in a large cairn there because I will never go back. :D
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Re: Most remote location in the sierra?

Postby paul » Sun Jan 31, 2016 11:39 am

When it comes to how remote it feels, regardless of how remote it actually is, season definitely has a big impact. When I'm out on a ski trip and I can be pretty confident nobody else has been at that location for several months and no one is likely to be there for a another month or more, a spot can feel pretty remote regardless of how far from a road it is. Especially If I'm in an area that I know is rarely visited on skis/snowshoes. Makes a place feel even more special to be in.
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Re: Most remote location in the sierra?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:05 pm

I agree with that idea also. When I go out to Island Bird Lake knowing that I can confirm only one party to have ever been there it just feels remote. Even though it's not all that difficult to get to. I swam out to the island wondering if I was the only human to have ever walked it.
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Re: Most remote location in the sierra?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:25 pm

limpingcrab- I looked at the GIS study on SEKI. It was designed more to find the areas that are not-quite-wilderness (areas that have degraded wilderness). It also seems to be skewed to heavy vegetation as an impediment of getting someplace. It seemed odd to me that most of the "most wilderness" areas were along drainages - particularly the Kern River. Since "solitude" was a big part, and planes overhead were considered noisy. It was a very complicated GIS analysis, but I really think only "boots on the ground" can really get a good handle on this, I would say the study is interesting, but not that great and finding the "most remote place in the Sierra". One map was interesting- it showed the areas that were farther away from trails and roads - really a small part of the Sierra.

I only skimmed the study- did not read it in detail. I gather that its purpose was to define those areas that would be "sacrificed" if the political climate were such that wilderness areas had to be "declassified". That is a gloomy thought.

Rogue- I camped at Tunamah and did not have bug problems. You must have been there during a big hatch. Yes, a hatch like that not attracting any fish is pretty suspicious. I am no fish biologist, but I have heard that there are times when fish do not feed, no matter what. Maybe someone more knowledgeable could chime in on this.

Maybe it would be more objective to find the area that takes the longest to get to - without any fuzzy definitions of "remoteness". I would also say that the area had to be something that a backpacker really wanted to get to, camp at, explore, water source, etc - tops of peaks would not count nor would half way up a rock wall.
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Re: Most remote location in the sierra?

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Sun Jan 31, 2016 4:06 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:You must have been there during a big hatch. Yes, a hatch like that not attracting any fish is pretty suspicious. I am no fish biologist, but I have heard that there are times when fish do not feed, no matter what. Maybe someone more knowledgeable could chime in on this.


When aquatic insects hatch from the water, they have to rise to the surface before they can break the surface tension and fly, so the have to run the gauntlet of the fish on their journey up to the top. If there is enough food below the surface, there's no need for the fish to use the extra energy to get the bugs on the surface. The trout might have been feasting a few feet below the surface, thereby making it look like there were no fish in the lake, even though there was an epic hatch.
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Re: Most remote location in the sierra?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:05 pm

Fly Guy Dave wrote:When aquatic insects hatch from the water, they have to rise to the surface before they can break the surface tension and fly, so the have to run the gauntlet of the fish on their journey up to the top. If there is enough food below the surface, there's no need for the fish to use the extra energy to get the bugs on the surface. The trout might have been feasting a few feet below the surface, thereby making it look like there were no fish in the lake, even though there was an epic hatch.

Yes, I've been to lakes where there has been abundant surface insect activity and little or no dimpling of the surface of a lake from trout, but...sometimes trout simply feed on other sources. In High Sierra lakes, a very common food source for trout are those fresh water shrimp (scuds) whose consumption leads to that wonderfully flavorful orange-red flesh so many of savor. This is not by any means the only subsurface food source for trout, but it is a common thread in so many of those High Sierra lakes that otherwise look amazingly sterile and lifeless yet have big fish. I ate a fish out of the lake in question about 7.5 years ago and it did indeed have very orange flesh (I did not see a rise in 3 hours when at this lake and sighted only two fish: both of which were on the end of my line).

Returning to the remote destination subject, I think the WD brings up a good point in terms of time-of-year, too. Another factor that contributes to the feeling of remoteness or lack thereof is presence or absence of evidence of human visitation, be it use trails, fire rings, litter, etc. The north side of Kendrick Creek had the least evidence of human visitation of any spot I've ever been in the Sierra except one (see below): no use trails at all (bear trails yes, but no human use trails) and only one fire ring: and this one had bushes growing out of it I estimated to be at least 5 years old. That was also the most physically miserable hiking I've done in my 50 years of hiking in the mountains. In contrast the south side of Kendrick Creek had a bit more evidence of human visitation: still no use trails, but a few more fire rings (I recall one or two at Edyth and at least one at lake downstream of Edyth). Overall, however, I'd say even the S side of Kendrick had less evidence of human passage than I've seen in the trailless expanses of Kaweah Basin-Red Spur, Glacier Divide, Ionian Basin, Goddard Creek, Tunemah vicinity (including the enchanting basin below the main lake), Dumbbell Lakes, etc. Perhaps use trails or footprints last longer in areas where vegetation doesn't grow (in contrast to Kendrick Creek), but I suspect that Kendrick Creek does in fact get less use than those areas. I saw even less evidence of visitation along the Emerald Staircase upstream of Flora (compared to S side Kendrick Creek and possibly the N side too), even though it is physically much easier to reach than Edyth. I suspect this is (partly) because it was thought to have gone fishless after Flora and the lakes upstream did after air dropping ceased decades ago. Of course I wasn't there for a fishless experience in 1995 because I had guessed that fish made it downstream into that section during the air drop era and unlike Flora and the other lakes were able to spawn. The guess was correct (very nice fish), but like many aspects of the High Sierra fisheries, this was a temporary situation. Those lakes and connecting streams have had their trout populations eradicated (or soon will be, forget which). Based on that, I guess the Emerald Staircase will see even fewer humans than it did back in the mid 90's when I was there and I did not see a single fire ring or footprint, let alone a use trail, then.

This is indeed a good thread for daydreaming and reminiscing.
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: Most remote location in the sierra?

Postby rlown » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:14 pm

to be short here.. if there is no surface dimpling and you catch nice fish, you check their teeth. if their teeth are dull (not sharp), they're eating off the bottom. I love those lakes for BK.
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Re: Most remote location in the sierra?

Postby lambertiana » Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:26 am

If the sense of total solitude is the requirement, you don't have to go as far afield as many of the locations mentioned in this thread. When I visited the lakes at 10,900' at the east end of the Sawtooth-Needham ridge, I saw zero sign of previous human presence. No footprints, no fire rings, nothing. Other than the Clark's Nutcrackers that scolded us from the foxtail pines, the only other animal sign was some bear scat that had a lot of grass in it.

That location was only half a day scrambling from the trail at the bottom of Lost Canyon.

Even the lower part of Big Arroyo (below where the trail goes up to Soda Creek) has a distinctly remote sense to it. There is sign of human passage there, but it is faint and overgrown.
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Re: Most remote location in the sierra?

Postby gabe&mel » Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:06 pm

giantbrookie wrote: Tunemah vicinity (including the enchanting basin below the main lake),


Tunemah Lake was nice (unfortunately didn't see or catch any fish when I was there last August), but I agree with GB that the basin below is much much more beautiful and I'd wager sees even less visitation than Tunemah. Fishing and reading a book at lake 10458 is my most precious backpacking experience.

Excellent thread, much appreciated to all.
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Re: Most remote location in the sierra?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:56 pm

I did some quick calculations:

To Tunemah Lake from Courtwright 24.5 miles, 20 hours -- a bit shorter from Wishon, but more off-trail makes more hours
To Keweah Basin lower lakes
from Mineral King via Pyra Queen -- 30.5 mi, 30 hours
from Wolverton via Pyra Queen -- 29.2 mi, 28 hours
from George Creek 29.8 miles, 30.5 hours

I used 2 mph for trail, 1 mph off-trail, 1 hr/1000 feet gain to estimate time

I do not have a route to Keweah Basin from other trailheads - I just copied what I have already calculated


So Keweah Basin wins big over Tunemah. The thing about Tunemah is that you are on a big trail all the way to Blackcap Basin so only have 7 miles of off-trail. Also is pretty much one big up push, whereas to get to Keweah, you have to go over passes or down to the Kern and back up.
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