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Which Trip Should I Take Next Week?

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Which Trip Should I Take Next Week?

Postby ChasingRainbows » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:32 pm

I am planning on heading out solo on Thursday the 14th for a couple of days. I have a few destinations in mind and am basically just looking for a good reason to choose one of the trips over the others. The first priority will be fishing (I imagine all these destinations are pretty similar with respect to this), with scenery coming in a close second. Any thoughts on the pros/cons with respect to mosquitos, snow, fishing, scenery, stream crossings, etc. would be greatly appreciated. I have solo backpacking experience and am comfortable going off trail as long as I don't need to use an ice axe, crampons, or any climbing equipment. These are the general destinations I have in mind, although I am open to any suggestions of other spots which might make an enjoyable trip:

1) Ostrander / Chilnualna / Givens / Hoover / Ottoway Lakes Area out of either the Bridalveil Creek or Chiquito Pass trailhead. I called the NF office and the Chiquito Pass trailhead should be accessible by next week. I have been up to Chain Lakes, but never to these lakes before.

2) Jackass / Stanford / Lillian Lakes Area out of either the Clover Meadow or Bowler trailhead. I don't really know much about this area, except that the trailheads are accessible.

3) Sunrise / Cathedral Lakes area. Permits are hard to come by in this area, but I should have no problem getting one as I am going solo.

4) Lake Vernon / Jack Main Canyon Area out of Hetch Hetchy. The main reason would be to fish Falls Creek, and I am guessing that it is running too high for this to be enjoyable.

If anyone has any thoughts, please post or send me a PM. I was also thinking about somewhere in the Emigrant Wilderness, but I don't really have any intel on this area and have never been. Thanks much!



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Re: Which Trip Should I Take Next Week?

Postby ChasingRainbows » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:45 pm

I should add that I have anywhere from 3 to 5 days, but want to take it easy and maybe average around 5 miles a day. Thanks!
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Re: Which Trip Should I Take Next Week?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:58 am

Bridalveil Creek campground was gated closed, and that trailhead has a creek crossing on it - Bridalveil is still running pretty high. Take the Ostrander/Lost Bear trail instead.

Chiquito Pass is a long uphill slog for no reason - go from Quartz Mountain trailhead, you'll walk 1/4 mile and be at the pass in no time, minus walking by Chiquito "lake" (bog, actually).

Ansel Adams/Lillian lakes is a gorgeous area - some of the lakes are no camping zones, consult a map or talk to a ranger.
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Re: Which Trip Should I Take Next Week?

Postby balzaccom » Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:00 am

You won't get to Ottoway lakes by hiking 5 mile days...and when I flew over them yesterday, they were frozen over. Nor do I think this trail, from Chiquito Pass, will have the best scenery of this group.

Sunrise and Cathedral will also have snow...if that worries you. I have never through that those lakes have great fishing. Great scenery though.

Vernon and Jack Main should be really nice---check some of the trail reports from this year---but Frog Creek to Laurel Lake are still probably tough to get to because of the fords...
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Re: Which Trip Should I Take Next Week?

Postby ChasingRainbows » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:03 pm

So I am leaning towards Lake Vernon and Jack Main Canyon. If anyone can comment on the following, I would appreciate it:

1) What is the best route to access Branigan Lakes? Just looking at my topo, the best option looks like following the trail up towards Jack Main Canyon, then crossing over to Upper Branigan, down to Middle Branigan, and then the Main Branigan Lake. My guess is that trying to scramble up off trail from Lake Vernon is not even an option. Lots of closely spaced topo lines.

2) What might I expect from Falls creek upstream of Lake Vernon? I am mainly concerned with how safe the crossings might be. I am 6' 4'', will have trekking poles, and have a lot of wading experience.

3) What is the best route to Bearup Lake? If I had to guess, I would just follow the topo line (above Moraine Ridge) from the Jack Main Canyon trail to the lake.

Looks like Laurel Lake might make a good one day side trip depending on how comfortable I am with the crossing of Frog Creek. I will also consult with the ranger station(s) before committing to this trip.

Thanks for all the advice so far, this is a great resource!
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Re: Which Trip Should I Take Next Week?

Postby Cross Country » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:53 pm

I personally think Bearup would be a good choice at this time, this year. I can think of one or more drawbacks from each of the other destinations at this time. I can't think of any drawbacks for going to Bearup. It's an ideal 3 to 5 day trip. When I went there I had very good fishing. If it were me I'd take 5 days (not less) and go to Edith but that is not my suggestion for you. I think you should go to Bearup. The best way to Bearup is to take the trail towards Jack Main about as far as makes any sense to do so.
Last edited by Cross Country on Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Which Trip Should I Take Next Week?

Postby justm » Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:40 pm

I did a backpack trip to lake Vernon last weekend. Very beautiful. I went with three friends. The ford of frog creek is a little tricky, water is fast and cold. You just got to go slow and make sure your foot is placed securely before you move the other one. It's about thigh high. We did a day hike up the canyon behind Vernon ( there were alot of people at Vernon, of course it was the weekend) to falls creek which was raging. You have to cross falls creek to get to Branigan lakes, and I don't think it's crossable, it's running to fast and wide and deep. Even by lake Vernon, you'd have to swim across were it flows deep and slow. Trying to cross this on a solo trip is to dangerous. Hope this helped!
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