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TR: A Day or Two in the Pioneer Basin

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TR: A Day or Two in the Pioneer Basin

Postby desertdawg » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:37 pm

Spent the last 4 days of Summer in the Pioneer Basin area. Fantastic weather, great times, and of course the beauty that is the Sierra Nevada.

We left September 16 from Mosquito Flat and went to the Fourth Recess Lake.

Our destination.
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A smoky Fourth Recess Lake. There was a tent here and a camp that looked like nobody had been at in a few days. Unfortunately a fire pit and some plastic water bottles as well. :(
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We left around 10:AM or so for the Pioneer Basin.
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Almost there. Mono Pass and Fourth Recess in the background.
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It was one of my friends first trip to the High Sierra. We initially set up camp at the north end of lake 10862. Scott thought we we going to stay there as did we. Scott unpacked most of his things. Greg and I did not for some reason.

Scott, at what he thinks will be home for the next couple of nights.
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We were set up on the peninsula.
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We took a little stroll and discovered this gem, Lake 11026. Greg and I knew immediately we were moving camp here, it's only about 10 minutes from where our packs are. We love the big views and our initial site did not have one.

The boys dancing with excitement.
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Enjoying the end of the "magic" hour in our kitchen.
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Sunrise, Mt Hopkins.
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Breakfast view from the kitchen.
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Camp.
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Reflections.
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More reflections.
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On day three we wanted to climb a peak. Mt Crocker was close and easy. We climbed the gap to the left.
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Typical Sierra scree.
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Mt Dade?, Mt Gabb? and the Third and Second Recesses.
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Red Slate Mt and the Mcgee Lakes. Must go here. :eek:
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Mt Baldwin.
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Pioneer Lakes Basin.
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On day 4 we hiked back to Mosquito Flat. About a mile and a half into our walk out we ran into a couple in their mid-seventies who were headed into the basin, they were the first people we had seen since day 1. They suggested we go up Golden Creek Canyon to Golden Lake to avoid the switchbacks by Trail Lakes, the old guy said we'd thank him later. I'm not too sure about that.

Golden Creek.
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Golden Lake. We had to hop on some appliance size boulders for about 15 minutes then stroll up drainage before running into the trail. The switchbacks on the main trail were dusty and rocky and full of horse poop, kinda debatable which would have been better but this way was different so it's all good.
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Bear Creek Spire? and Mt Abbot?
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Red and White Mtn, Red Slate Mtn, Mt Baldwin pano from Crocker.
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Mt Starr to Mt Mills from camp.
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As usual the Sierra did not disappoint. Our first time into that area. Way too much horse crap everywhere, didn't enjoy the sandy soil that seemed to be trampled by endless horse trains but the beauty is unsurpassed.



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Re: TR: A Day or Two in the Pioneer Basin

Postby quentinc » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:47 pm

Nice report and great pictures!

I wish I had run into that 70-ish couple 20 years ago (I guess they wouldn't have been in their 70's then :)). I find the Golden Creek alternative vastly preferable to those awful switchbacks, both up and down. Yeah, that trail is one of the worst in the Sierra for mule crap.
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Re: TR: A Day or Two in the Pioneer Basin

Postby windknot » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:20 pm

Thanks for the report and pictures! This is a beautiful area.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR: A Day or Two in the Pioneer Basin

Postby teejay » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:38 pm

That’s a very nice photo of the Mc Gee Lakes from your vantage point. I recall a fall trip in the mid nineties when the McGee pass was still snow bound and Little Mc Gee Lake was almost completely frozen over.
Great report.
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Re: TR: A Day or Two in the Pioneer Basin

Postby maverick » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:07 am

I missed you guys by a week, and believe that couple was coming down the switch backs
towards LLV when I ran into them on Thursday on the way up.
I see you were staying at the upper lake with the beach, I stayed at the lake with
the island, the larger lake on the eastern side of the basin, and my last night
at the first lake above the lowest lake, at the end of the bench.
It was much drier than I expected for a heavier than average snow year, and previous
visits.
I contemplated revisiting Fourth Recess Lake, but with the falls being dried up I did
not see the reason, to me it is what makes FRL special.
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