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Humphrey's Basin TR

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Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby copeg » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:30 pm

Humphrey's Basin, 9/25/10-9/27/10

There's only an hour difference between 4am and 5am, but my spinning head let me know that hour is priceless. I'd like to think that I wouldn't have hurt so much hiking up Piute Pass if I slept another 20 minutes - arguing with myself on the drive up - but one side had won that argument as soon as my feet hit the trail. It had been many months since the last time I departed a trailhead in the Sierra, and I was loving every step. Playing leap frog with a few other hikers on the trail, it was fun progress up to the Pass, where I took some time to rest and relax.

At first sight of Lower Desolation Lake, my mind was a mile ahead of my body. The early wake up and sea level to 11k were working against me. Every step seemed like ten. Then every step like a hundred. Just before every step felt like a thousand I arrived - Desolation Lake. It had been years since my last visit, but it seemed exactly the same. Windy, desolate, cold, and the seagulls a strange sight floating around the lake. Another backpacker passed by a short while later. David was his name.

Maybe I was moving slow, or maybe it was the short days, but by the time camp was set up the sun was already setting. With dinner in hand I was down by the lake taking photos and enjoying the view. David was there to join me, and later invited me over for some tea. Dang he makes some good berry tea, and with my addition of schnapps, it made for the perfect drink as we sat back and talked Sierra.

I never really slept. And the noises beyond my tent wall didn't help. Mice, unknown growls, and birds blazing past. My attempts to sleep were met with more tossing and turning. The next morning I woke up as slowly as I drank my coffee. A marmot kept me company, inspecting my every move. David stopped by to say his farewell as he continued his journey.

My goal was to hike towards Puppet Lake and viscinity. Packed up, it was fun taking my time scrambling towards the ridgeline separating Humphrey's basin and the areas beyond. I reached a small ridge, overshooting Carol Col which I could see in the distance. Deciding to explore another low point of the ridge to the north, I stopped in my tracks as I passed a small lake, fully circular, with views all around. I fell in love. It seemed hard to depart. I did finally reached the col, but couldn't take my mind off that lake. Another party arrived, and they were at the bottom of the other side before I decided to hike back down and enjoy Humphrey's basin a bit more. Dropping much of my gear at a small camp area, I headed down to Desolation Lake for some fishing and relaxation, before returning to camp for dinner and sunset.

I don't know what it is, but my body likes early wake up calls. At 5am the decision was made to hike up towards the col to enjoy the sunrise. The moon overpowered my headlamp, so I turned it off to climb in the soft and gentle moonlight. Something special watching the sunrise from high up; with the expansive view, deafening silence, and strong earth shadow. I spent what felt like forever up there, exploring and enjoying, before heading back down to camp for breakfast. As always seems to be the case, the trip was too short. I was packed up and trying to delay my hike back out any which way.

Easy to fall in love with this little area
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Spying my breakfast
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Mount Humphrey's
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Twilight
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A few feet from camp
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Sunrise on top un-named(?) col
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More sunrise - one of the better 'earth shadow's I've seen
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby maverick » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:55 pm

Very nice, I have been waiting for your TR.
Really like the "Twilight", and the "A few feet from camp" photo's!
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby Herm » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:56 am

Nice report, thanks for posting. That looks like a fine dot of a little lake. Did you catch any fish? Although I was just there in mid-September, this makes me want to go back to explore more of Humphreys Basin. Definitely on the charts again next year.
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby lostcoyote » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:01 am

those are some really nice shots - especially the earth shadow one at the end - very nice & soothing
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby copeg » Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:13 am

Thanks folks!
Mav, still waiting for yours ;)
Herm, didn't catch any (didn't try too hard though). Could see them tail my lure's but they were quite picky.
lostcoyote, that was possibly one of the more intense shadow's I've seen, and being up that high could see it from horizon to horizon.
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby maverick » Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:50 am

Copeg writes "Mav, still waiting for yours".
Been really busy, and as you know taking pic's in raw takes a little time to develop
correctly, but it should be ready by next week some time.
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby mokelumnekid » Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:35 pm

Incredible shots, thanks.
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby rlown » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:27 pm

So.. now i'm a little intrested. Did you head up the Humphrey's Basin use trail, marked by that hideous pyramid of rock off the main trail below Summit Lk? That would have taken you a little East smack dab into the middle of the southern edge of Deso..

That round lake you camped at is on the bench below what I'll call the Star Lake col for the lack of a better reference (guessing, but it looks right for your subsequent pics). There was another group that we ran into that used that route over, rather than Carol col. Did you skirt west around Deso or East? betting west..

We had a Pesky Marmot as well guarding us at night on the South side of Deso. Glad to finally see some of them again, as well as the Pika..

Very nice pics. you put me to shame.
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby quentinc » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:22 pm

I thought "spying my breakfast" meant you were planning on dining on the marmot.

Lovely sunrise and sunset photos.
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby bheiser1 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:29 pm

These are very nice photos... they make me want to be there...
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby copeg » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:33 am

I thought "spying my breakfast" meant you were planning on dining on the marmot.


:lol:

rlown, you are right about the lake beneath 'Star Lake Col'. Skirted the west of Deso (camped near there anyways). Many years ago I hiked around the lake fishing - the beach on the far end of the lake is so cool. Although 'Star Col' seems higher than Carol Col, from what I could see of Carol Col it seemed easier lengthwise if you are approaching from Deso Lake.
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby rlown » Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:13 pm

we spied that beach as well, but it was a big lake (um HUGE) and we were on our way out. We moved our camp twice, after dropping packs, fishing, and saying, "hey, lets move". I've caught some of my biggest fish off those kind of beaches in other such venues.. Seemed to be lots of traffic up there, but not alot of fishermen. Nice use trail in/out.. Sparse fishing unless you know where to be and when, like most lakes up there.

Maybe next year for "star lake col". The scale of that whole area is soooo big, it might take a two week trip to do the area justice..
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