TR- Silver Divide | High Sierra Topix  

TR- Silver Divide

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

TR- Silver Divide

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:53 am

Silver Divide from the East
August 26-Sept 3

After spending the night in a ridiculously priced motel in Mammoth Lakes, we headed to the Duck Lake Pass trailhead arriving (at what we thought was the trailhead) at 8AM. After about a mile we realized that we were on the wrong trail, so back we went to drive a few hundred feet farther and started again at the proper trailhead. This was my husband’s annual fishing trip and with all his luxuries (I-pod, GPS, binoculars, large knife, sharpening kit, enough lures to entice any size or type of fish, a 6 pound four-season tent, heavy-duty rain gear and his 2 liters of water in heavy Nalgene bottles), leaving me with all remaining group gear-pots, gas, and bear can with most of our food. Our packs were not light. I have given up on converting him to lightweight backpacking. We reached Duck Lake Pass about noon just as clouds were occasionally spitting rain. Another hour and we were at the outlet where we found a legal nestled under some trees. We just got the tent set up as thunder roared and rain poured down. By 3PM the rain became off and on so hubby went fishing; I deemed it was too windy for fly fishing. At 5PM he came back with an assortment of fish from 6 -12 inches. Off with tails, heads, fins, and the big one cut in half, we squeezed them in our little frying pan. Add a side dish of chili and we had dinner. It continued to spit rain all night. Warm and muggy, it felt like we were in the tropics!

Image
Fishing at Duck Lake

Image
Tent time as it rained

Morning dawned clear and still. Soon we were at Purple Lake where we dropped down to Fish Creek on a trail with the most absurdly shallow switchbacks that seemed to never end. Clouds were again building as we reached Fish Creek where swarms of mosquitoes met us and the air was so still you could drop a feather straight downward. We crossed the creek and picked the first established campsite and this time rain poured down before we got the tent all set up. Hubby, in one of those “brain farts” that we all have, instinctively threw his wet dirty pack into the tent along with himself and accompanying mosquitoes! Soon the rain stopped. Hubby went fishing and I cleaned up the mess in the tent, after which I also went fishing all decked out in head net and gloves. We caught a pan full of “sardines” and to save on fuel built a fire in spite of the wet wood. One of my husband’s new gadgets is a mosquito repellant dispersion machine. He turned it on. Well, I am not sure if it really did much more than the smoky fire but it sure did give me a whopping headache! Another warm muggy night made the tent feel like a sauna. Must say this was the low point of the trip.

Image
Crssing Fish Creek

Third morning again dawned sunny without a breath of wind. We got up before the mosquitoes and cooked breakfast bug-free, although the little buggers zoomed in on us while we were eating. In less than an hundred feet elevation gain we picked up a nice breeze and as long as we kept walking, we could “beat the skeets”. We topped out at the trail junction to Long Canyon. As much as I wanted to go to Beetlebug Lake I was worried that it would be too buggy, so we continued to Jackson Meadow, another haven for mosquitoes. No rest stops! We turned up the trail to Olive Lake. The trail is quite faint, evidently not getting much use. Finally at the slabs below the outlet, a wind picked up and we stopped for a bug-free lunch. Shortly we were at Olive Lake and found a nice established campsite on the windy north shore away from the stagnant outlet. We both immediately jumped into the lake for a bath two days of rain and bugs that had kept us from baring any skin. After setting up camp, hubby went fishing (of course). I headed up to find a route to get to Anne and Peter Pande Lake and shortly found a nice use-trail that lead up to the sublimely beautiful bench south of Anne Lake. Wildflowers were at peak and the grass was the greenest ever. When I returned to camp we had another assortment of nice sized fish. I had to push down on the frying pan lid to keep them from popping out while cooking! Again we built a fire to save on fuel. After dinner I rediscovered the old “rub-in-sand” method really worked to get soot off pots; a nice pinecone for a scrubber assisted. Although not the most spectacular lake, Olive Lake was our favorite of the trip. Since leaving Duck Lake Pass we had not met another person and Olive Lake was particularly pristine.

Image
Fishing at Olive Lake

Image
Olive Lake sunset

We now seemed to be in a great weather pattern of clear blue skies, a nice stiff breeze and warm nights. We awoke at dawn and had a bug-free breakfast, packed up and headed up the routel I found the previous day. My husband does not like side-trips so I could not convince him to continue the few hundred yards to spectacular Anne Lake since it was not directly on our path to Peter Pande Lake. He sat in the shade reading a book on his I-pod while I explored Anne Lake. Two people (looked like a father and son) were on the opposite shore. I waved, they waved but we did not meet. I really would have liked to camp here, but that is how I felt about every lake we passed! We dropped down to Peter Pande Lake and found the nice trail to the outlet where we again used an established campsite that had a spatula, coffee pot and grill. The GPS said we were at 10,004 feet- well that is close enough for me to “below 10,000 feet” to cook on a fire. We bathed, washed clothes, hung them out to dry, and filled two 2.5-liter Platypus containers to solar heat. Hubby went fishing; I headed up towards the pass to Graveyard Lakes to check it out. The little valley below the pass was close to the trail, yet seemed quite pristine. The pass was snowy but low angle- quite reasonable but I had to admit that the unseen south side was steep talus. I came back to camp and we both fished some more. We only caught very small fish, but cumulatively enough to fill the frying pan. My fishing efforts were quite a comedy. With the stiff wind every time I cast, my line would tie a knot! After dinner we discussed the route and decided to skip Graveyard Lakes due to hubby’s bum knee. This time I talked him into a side-trip to Wilbur May Lake en route to Lake of the Lone Indian. Again we had a warm night.

Image
Anne Lake

Image
Peter Pande Lake

Image
Peter Pande Sunset

Up at dawn again, we were now in a pattern- up by 6AM, travel until noon or so, set up camp, bathe and wash clothes, fish all afternoon, cook dinner and go to bed by 7:30. Mosquitoes bothered us in the still morning so we quickly packed up. We dropped our packs at the trail junction and took fishing gear to Wilbur May. Hubby caught two nice medium sized fish in about half an hour. We filled a sturdy zip lock gallon bag with water and put the cleaned fish inside, and set it all in the outside pocket of my pack. Man- was my pack heavy! The remainder of the walk to Lake of the Lone Indian was pure torture. Here we set up camp on the west shore at an established site and this time we both started on some serious fishing after our daily baths. In spite of serious fishing, I caught two small fish and he caught four- a few medium ones and two “sardines”. We now regretted not pushing on to Warrior Lake. Today we met several people who passed us at our campsite.

Image
Wilbur May Lake

Image
Lake of Lone Indian sunrise

Our next day’s objective was Lake Virginia. We did not meet anyone until we left Squaw Lake. Then it seemed like every mile we met more people until I swear it was a steady stream of south bound JMT hikers as we headed north. Fish creek below Tully’s Hole looked like good fishing but the mosquitoes were nasty. As we headed up the switchbacks, the breeze picked up and soon we were bug-free. Early afternoon we set up on the far west shore of Lake Virginia where I bathed, washed my hair and even washed my hiking pants trying to rid myself of the JMT dust! I really do not like the JMT. I walked back to the inlet, past the meadow and filled up with fresh water from the gurgling inlet stream. Back at camp I attempted to fly fish, but without success. Hubby is persistent if nothing else! He eventually caught a few fish, including the largest we had caught so far. After another early dinner stuffing ourselves on fish, we headed to the tent to read. I went out at sunset to get a few photos. Two fellows came in late and camped fairly close to us, although I do not think they even were aware that we were there as our tent was hidden by trees.

Image
Image
Lake Virginia

The next morning we packed up and headed off-trail to Ram Lakes, passing beautiful small ponds and walking over grass northwesterly of the two creeks to the obvious pass. Over the pass we encountered a world of rock, but grassy ramps resumed as we descended past another string of ponds to Glenette Lake. Rather than loose elevation to drop to Glen Lake we traversed to Ram Lake. Soon we were rim-rocked but with a bit of exploring found some ledges and ramps to descend to the inlet to Ram Lake. I had to take off my pack and lower it down a cliff at one point. At the second lake we met five fellows who were fishing and camped at the lower Ram Lake. They had not had much success so far. First order of business was setting up the tent, baths, solar heating water and washing clothes. After this hubby started serious fishing and I took what I thought was a short walk up the drainage. I had printed my maps too small to read the elevations and did not realize that we were now on a metric map. What seemed like a few contour lines turned out to be 450 feet elevation! I saw fish in all the upper lakes and ponds, although they were small fish. On my return I met my husband who was intently casting into the upper Ram Lake. I went back to camp and an hour later he came back with four fish- two nice large ones and two little ones. The biggest was about a 12 inch Golden. Again we stuffed that little frying pan and pushed hard on the lid as the fish cooked. Then we stuffed ourselves on fish! Realizing we had enough fuel for the remainder of the trip, we treated ourselves to several cups of hot cocoa.

Image
Glen Lake

Image
Ram Lakes

Image
Upper Ram Lakes Cirque

Image
Lower Ram Lake Sunrise

Image
Pika Lake

Our trip was nearing its end. We now headed back to Purple Lake on the trail, which we had some difficulty finding at Ram Lake. Once on the trail, it was occasionally difficult to follow. We took a break at Purple Lake before stepping back on the JMT where, you guessed it, we again ran into a stream of people and dust galore. I really hate the JMT. It was relieved when we turn onto the Duck Pass trail. We saw a couple at the outlet, and continued up the trail and dropped down to the inlet. I searched for campsites and we found a small but nice spot on the northwest shore. Several day hikers and other backpackers were along the northeast shore and at Pika Lake. The really good camping as well as the best views are at Pika Lake, but with a bum knee hubby wanted the least distance back to Duck Pass We were happy that we met our goal of eating fish every night of the trip! My attempt at fish chowder, however, was quite a flop. We went into the tent and were surprised at how comfortable our tent site was as it looked impossibly small when we set up. In fact all our tent sites were wonderful and I have never slept so well on a trip.

Image
Camp at Duck Lake inlet

Image
Duck Lake sunrise

We got up at dawn and enjoyed our last sunrise, sad to have to leave. The hike back up to the Duck Pass trail went faster than expected, as we were fresh from a good night’s sleep and hubby’s knee seemed to only hurt with downhill hiking. We had the trail to ourselves descending to Barney Lake, but from that point, we were inundated with day hikers on the Labor Day weekend. We got out about 11AM and drove home, with surprisingly little traffic.



User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2608
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR- Silver Divide

Postby savagebear » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:09 am

I'm envious that I don't ever have enough time off to put together a longer trip like this. Beautiful country and pics. Thanks for sharing.
User avatar
savagebear
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:08 pm
Location: Fresno, Ca
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR- Silver Divide

Postby Ozark Flip » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:11 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed your report. As always, it was a very nice read. I have visited all these places in your report, Virginia being my personal favorite of all the lakes mentioned. The worst mosquitoes I have ever encountered were at Fish Creek one particular trip. Holy Cow!

I don’t like the JMT either WD.

Please keep up the awesome reports.
User avatar
Ozark Flip
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 373
Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 12:31 pm
Location: Escalon & Cottonwood California
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR- Silver Divide

Postby bluefintu » Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:45 pm

Wandering Daisy, I sure enjoy your trail adventures. I'm like your husband, maybe old school hikers. He must have been a boy scout growing up. Big knife, check, with a sharpening kit, have to add the sharpening kit in my essentials list. Bino's I carry most of the time, I-pod, I don't have, but looking into an I-pad with solar power. I've been carrying a three man tent on most trips in my seven pound (empty) pack.

Times have changed for me, my son hikes with me nowadays and he can carry the kitchen, food, fishing tackle etc. Our last trip, I carried the raft. Your husband may need one of these things, only weights about two pounds. Way lighter than my fishing tackle. Anyway, I can't wait till my daughter and two sons can carry everything for my adventures.

Don
User avatar
bluefintu
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 159
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:57 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR- Silver Divide

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:16 pm

Thanks for the pictures of Olive Lake in one of my favorite areas. I've looked down on that lake and wished I had the time to visit. Perhaps some day. Wilbur May Lake is my favorite among the ones I visited. One of the best camps around too. Nice TR!
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
User avatar
DoyleWDonehoo
Founding Member
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:06 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR- Silver Divide

Postby windknot » Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:12 pm

Wow, I'm envious of how often you've been able to get out to the mountains this season! Thanks again for another great report and pictures. I was in this area on an all-too-short 3-day trip last September (had to day hike to Anne, Minnie, Peter Pande, etc. from camp at the Graveyards) and wish I had had more time to explore.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
User avatar
windknot
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1348
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:07 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: TR- Silver Divide

Postby jessegooddog » Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:26 am

Yes, a wonderful TR with beautiful pics - including you and hubby!
User avatar
jessegooddog
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 240
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:39 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR- Silver Divide

Postby dogspot » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:16 pm

This is fascinating! I did the same hike in August of 2012. It's great seeing this pictures from someone else's viewpoint. I parked at the Duck lake trailhead. Spent the first night at Glen Lake. Tried to reach Ram Lake, but the trail was almost nonexistant. And it was getting dark. I had no idea what lake I was at at the time. My campsite got overrun by coyotes that night. I could hear them digging through my pack and howling right outside my tent. I then went back to Purple, over to Virginia and then down the switchbacks past Virginia. Caught Fish Creek and followed the trail back through Cascade Valley. I crossed the creek at the exact spot where you crossed, and ended up camping near there for the night. My original intent was to get to Olive, Peter Pande, etc... But I never made it. I ended up turning around and hiking up the switchbacks up to Purple. Sounds like you hiked down this part. That took a lot out of me. I cut the trip short by 2 days. I was by myself, and got very lonely. Didn't see another soul for about a 45 hour period in the middle of my hike. Didn't think it would affect me like it did. I will attempt again this coming June.
User avatar
dogspot
Topix Newbie
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:04 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR- Silver Divide

Postby maverick » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:52 pm

Hi Dogspot,

Welcome to HST! Would love to read you TR also, and any pictures you may have
taken while there. We here at HST appreciate members sharing there backpacking
experiences.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8039
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: TR- Silver Divide

Postby papasequoia » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:19 am

Very nice, WD! It reminds me of trips I used to take when younger, with a different lake every night and trout cooked over an open fire. \:D/
Nature always wins
> miles = < people
User avatar
papasequoia
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:10 pm
Location: The East Side
Experience: N/A


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], stoat and 1 guest