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TR- Green Lake and Beyond

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TR- Green Lake and Beyond

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:58 pm

Green Lake and Beyond
July 1-3, 2011

We were all packed up for a 4-day trip without knowing until the last minute where we were going. Would it be Black Buttes, Rubicon River out of Loon Lake, Kennedy Lake, Walker River out of Levitt Meadows or Green Lake? We loaded all the maps and headed to Bridgeport ready to go for wherever we could get a permit on the holiday weekend. At noon we got the permit for Green Lake. My original plan of a loop trip to Soldier Lake was voted down by my husband who hates to walk on snow. We settled on a base camp at Green Lake, little over 2 miles in, where he could fish and I could day-hike. With reports of mosquitoes, I was apprehensive. I hate mosquitoes as much as he hates snow. It was hot but a gentle breeze cooled us off and kept bugs down. I chose to wade a few shallow side-creeks whereas my husband, with longer legs, hopped rocks or walked logs. He had trekking poles; I had forgotten to pack mine! We found a nice dry albeit over-used campsite on the east shore south of the outlet creek. The wind really picked up; great for bug abatement, but not for fly fishing. My husband fished using a spinner the rest of the afternoon with no luck.

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Fishing at Green Lake

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Camp at Green Lake

We got up at dawn and headed up to East Lake. Shortly up the switchbacks the trail crosses the creek from East Lake. I again waded and my husband with his high top leather boots splashed through on top of rocks. Soon we were basically on snow to the outlet. About half way along the east shore we found a nice dry bench for fishing where I bid farewell and continued to hike up to Summit Lake. The snow was solid although steep at times. There seemed to either be thick drifts of snow or bare ground. The rock in this drainage is dark so the trail was open where it went through rocks, and deep under snow in the trees and on north-facing slopes. I found the trail off and on all the way to the pass at the west end of Summit Lake where there surprisingly was a dry campsite. East Lake, Gilman Lake and Hoover Lakes were mostly thawed and Summit Lake was just beginning to thaw. I crossed all streams on sturdy snow bridges.

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Morning at Green Lake

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East Lake from outlet

Image Upper Hoover Lake

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Summit Lake

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Snowy north facing slope by Lower Hoover Lake

The good thing about day-hiking is a light pack; the bad thing is that once at your destination, you have to hike all the way back to camp! On the return I ran into a few people. At Gilman Lake I was careless and happy to be on a trail, headed down canyon. Shortly I realized I had made a stupid mistake- I was not lost (knew very well where I was and it was not where I intended to be!). Ugh- back uphill and over the cliffy rocky buttress east of East Lake. That cost me nearly a mile and 300 feet elevation. Since I had forgotten my trekking poles my knees began to get stressed the final descent back to Green Lake. I was already soaked, so simply walked through the creek shoes and all. I was hot and sweaty so immediately took a quick bath; it felt great! The day’s hike was 10 miles with 1,800 feet gain. Soon my husband came walking back with two nice fish for dinner. The breeze continued to keep bugs down, however we seemed to be invaded by ants, throwing many out the tent door before we called it a day. It was so warm that night that we did not even get inside our sleeping bags.

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Sunrise at Green Lake

The third day I hiked up to West Lake while my husband preferred to fish. Well, soon I was wading again. I was getting really fast at this taking off shoes and walking through water. The trail up to West Lake was dry except for the upper 300 feet of the 1,000-foot gain in 1.1 miles. There were a few dry camp spots up here, in spite of the snow. The lake was spectacular and I wished we had camped up here, but a mostly frozen lake is not what my husband had in mind for fishing! When I returned he had caught two more fish that we cooked up for lunch. We had planned on staying another day, but I had hiked about all I wanted to see and the fishing was not that great, so we returned, reaching the trailhead by 1:30. We drove home, the beautiful route via 395, then over Monitor Pass, Luther Pass and Echo Summit, dropping down to 100+ degree heat! The view at the top of Monitor Pass looked out onto a still very snow Sierra. All rivers were bank-full and flowing fast full of standing waves. Horsetail Falls was spectacular. The big melt is on!

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Green Lake from trail to West Lake

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Outlet pond at West Lake

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West Lake

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View of Green Lake from rocky point near falls from West Lake



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Re: TR- Green Lake and Beyond

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:13 pm

Thank you WD, really enjoyed your TR, and the classic Sierra morning shot from
the shores of East Lakes is one I never get tired of seeing!
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Re: TR- Green Lake and Beyond

Postby gary c. » Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:27 pm

It's 100 degrees and raining here in the AV right now but I'm hardly jealous at all. :pancho
Thanks for the report and your pictures are beautiful.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray
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Re: TR- Green Lake and Beyond

Postby windknot » Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:27 pm

Thanks for the report! Love the pictures of East, Summit, and West lakes with ice coming off.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR- Green Lake and Beyond

Postby 87TT » Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:00 am

Thanks for the pics. That area is on our fall list and a favorite of ours. Now I can't wait.
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Re: TR- Green Lake and Beyond

Postby kpeter » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:14 am

Lovely photographs that give a real feel for the place and the conditions.
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Re: TR- Green Lake and Beyond

Postby jfelectron » Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:51 am

I was in this area as well this weekend. Daisy wrote a great TR, I'll just add a few deets and some pics.

Going up to East Lake, I didn't even bother to try to follow the trail. I just made my own path up the southern side of the outlet creek. Its a very shaded area so there are still large drifts in many places. The top flat area before you reach East Lake is riddled with streams flowing under snow. There is still nice solid snow cover over the outlet creek right up to the dam. I walked up this snow and stood on the East Lake dam. The lake is still very low because the surrounding peaks haven't melted, I could have hopped down onto the exposed shore between the lake.

Going up to West Lake with my girlfriend, it was easy going until the last couple hundred feet as Daisy said. She is less experienced on snow, so we decided not to push up through the steep snow field or scramble on the exposed rock to go around the snow field up through the pass.

Flows increased over course of the weekend, there was considerably more water running down the Green Creek trail Monday the 4th than on Saturday. I noticed lots of day hikers deciding not to ford Green creek, though at the trail ford it was knee deep and wasn't terribly swift.

Besides the stunning snow-capped peaks, the things I loved were the wildflowers and the water.


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Outlook over Green Lake from West Lake Trail.

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View South up Glines Canyon.
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Re: TR- Green Lake and Beyond

Postby Snow Nymph » Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:00 pm

I love that area! Its been at least 10 years. After seeing the lake pix, I might make it one of my destinations later this month when I stay in Mammoth. I love flowers too. Thanks for the reports! :)
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Re: TR- Green Lake and Beyond

Postby Cross Country » Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:52 pm

I did this trip and Soldier too. I want to let your husband know that I didn't catch anything out of Soldier. I've never been able to remember much of the scenery of that trip until I saw your pics. Thanks.
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Re: TR- Green Lake and Beyond

Postby vinjo » Wed Jul 06, 2011 5:08 pm

Thanks for sharing your trip, beautiful pictures. I'm thinking about doing a short trip there later this month. How were the mosquitoes?
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Re: TR- Green Lake and Beyond

Postby EastSideClimb » Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:22 pm

Since I was 13 years old, the Green Creek drainage and Hoover Wldns has been home to me. Beautiful pix. I have to say that the "2 mi" hike to Green Creek from the trailhead is a VERY LOOONG 2 miles too.
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Re: TR- Green Lake and Beyond

Postby wshawkins » Sun Jul 10, 2011 5:07 pm

Nice report! I love that area! I camped at East Lake last season, felt is was more centered to all the day hikes we wanted to do. Loved the pictures.
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