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Moose Lake TR

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Moose Lake TR

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:53 pm

I took a small group of folks up into Sequoia NP to visit the tablelands. It's a bit long for an overnight given the cross country factor, but it worked.

When you get to the end of the trail at Alta Meadow, you can traverse or just start marching upward, and I've been told that the best way is to just traverse over to the old trail. A friend gave me a 1956 USGS topo with the old trail clearly marked. We found the old trail, all right. We marched uphill too steeply and met it in the saddle where the trail pops up over the edge of the tablelands. Lots of brush that way. Not too bad, just a hindrance.

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Looking out at the Sierra from somewhere in Alta Meadow

Moose Lake is at about 10,000 feet. It's got a lot of brook trout in it. I caught a few, kept none. They bite nearly every cast at dusk. We saw tons of them as we made our way around the lake to flat spots - we still had to navigate snowfields too.

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I set up my nonfreestanding tent with 50 lbs of rocks on each corner. Of course, because I went to all the trouble, there was no wind whatsoever, unlike the times I've used 20 lbs of rocks and nearly lost a tarp. But the Tarptent Sublite kept the bugs from chewing on me in the night. Mosquitos were making themselves known until pretty late.

One of our group vomited instead of eating dinner. I suspect that due to having only one water bottle and not stopping a lot at the many water sources along the way, he was dehydrated and thus feeling the elevation more than the rest of us did. Case in point about making sure you get enough water.

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Moose at sunset

We had interesting times on the way to Pear Lake, where we were rejoining the trail to get back to the car. Given the nature of the group we spent a little time eyeballing the terrain and the map and went the scenic route - longer but less steep.

Of course, it's the tablelands - the scenery is sort of slabby.

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With the occasional tarn or small lake.

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And the columbines were everywhere - my favorite flower, other than the tiger lily.

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We came down north of Pear and traversed around the final ridge, arriving at the solar outhouse around lunchtime. The ranger at Pear Lake got there when we did, and checked our wilderness permit. After all the talus hopping and slab traversing, we soaked our feet for a while before beating it for the parking lot. We stopped again at the Watchtower and a few contemplated going out to look over the edge, but onward we marched, lured by the promise of pizza.



Bear Mountain Pizza in Squaw Valley - three thumbs up!



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Re: Moose Lake TR

Postby windknot » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:23 pm

Thanks for the report and pictures! I really need to visit this area some day.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Moose Lake TR

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:17 pm

Nice photos.
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Re: Moose Lake TR

Postby cgundersen » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:49 am

AT,
Any chance you could copy off and post the relevant part of your '56 topo map? I've made many trips to Moose, almost all of them in the counterclockwise direction, and I've always begun my traverse low out of Alta Meadow (where the trail peters out) before running the ridge that overlooks the little lakes below Moose. If I read you correctly, you may have stayed high at the meadow and traversed high. Sounds like you managed it very effectively (with one suffering soul), but I'd just be interested in more details on your route.
Thanks,
cg
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Re: Moose Lake TR

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:30 pm

I'll see what I can do - don't have a working scanner any more.

The route described to me by an older gent who's been to Moose many times was to traverse until you reach the U shaped runoff/spring - turn uphill and follow the water up until you can walk across the granite slab. By going high before reaching the gully, we ended up wading through thigh deep brush. Beyond the U shaped gully it's fairly straightforward - either traverse to the trail which is on the next ridge over and marked with ducks and faint track, or just march onward and upward to where the trail crosses over into the tablelands.

The actual trail doesn't follow our route. It was surprising to me that the trail is still fairly obvious - very old tread. The section through the meadow is long gone, but the section going up the ridge is still there.
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Re: Moose Lake TR

Postby copeg » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:35 pm

Looks like a great look to try. I love that photo of Moose Lake at sunset...thanks for sharing.
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Re: Moose Lake TR

Postby Trailguru » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:55 pm

Thanks for the trip. I was up there in early August and there were very few mosquitos in Moose lake though Pear was infested with them. Your pictures brought back a lot of good memories from that trip. Love that area of Sequoia and hope to go back soon. By the way, were they still doing that road construction on hwy 198?? Remember that it took us an extra half an hour just to get to Wolverton.
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Re: Moose Lake TR

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:58 pm

Yes! The road construction wasn't in progress when we went through on the way, but was in full swing when we left - the bridge thing was annoying, the "loose gravel" for miles not so much since there's been so much traffic dispersing the gravel. Tho a truck sent a rock up my windshield!
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Re: Moose Lake TR

Postby oldranger » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:00 pm

Great sunset photo! I've only been to Moose when the sun was high.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Moose Lake TR

Postby Mike M. » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:43 pm

cg:

Image

Here's a link to a scan from the 1956 USGS map, showing a broader perspective of the area:

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d24/m ... can100.jpg

These are the maps I grew up using, and still use.

Mike
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Re: Moose Lake TR

Postby cahiker » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:39 pm

AlmostThere wrote:Bear Mountain Pizza in Squaw Valley - three thumbs up!


Mmmm. I was there a couple of weeks ago and had an ice cream appetizer. I finished my pizza the next morning at the trailhead, and one in our group finished his the following evening. Very good left over.

Nice trip report and photos. I haven't been to the Tablelands in 15 years but it's on my list...
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