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TR: Pear Lake and Tablelands 11/1-11/2

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TR: Pear Lake and Tablelands 11/1-11/2

Postby tim » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:35 am

I decided to take a quick trip to Pear Lake this week before winter sets in, and had beautiful weather with sunny, clear skies and no wind at all. I left home early Tuesday morning, reached Lodgepole at 9.30am and was on the trail out of Wolverton by 10.30am. Coming from sea level, the altitude took its toll and I didn't reach Pear Lake until 3.30pm. I went up via the Watchtower (on the advice of the ranger who said it was fine - apparently they changed the advice by the following day!) and encountered enough ice to make me glad I brought microspikes with me. There was still plenty of snow/ice on the north facing slopes from the storm 4 weeks ago.

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Pear Lake

I only encountered a couple of people at Heather Lake and then another guy returning from a day hike to Pear Lake, and was completely on my own at Pear Lake. I got set up quickly, and then as I sat there admiring the scenery, a coyote walked right through my camp, about 15 feet from me. It didn't seem at all bothered by my presence.

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Coyote

After a good meal and very pleasant sunset I turned in early, because it was quickly getting chilly (probably mid 20s that night), and managed to sleep pretty well (for the first night at altitude) until almost 7am. I quickly ate breakfast and headed up into the Tablelands for a day hike.

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Tablelands

I had set my sights initially on the Moose Lake overlook, which gave spectacular views of the Great Western Divide, and further north all the way to what looked very much like the Minarets in the far distance. The view across the Middle Fork Kaweah River was also amazing.

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Moose Lake

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Middle Fork Kaweah River

However, when I got there, the ridge up to Peak 11328 looked too tempting to pass up, and was an easy climb up the hard frozen snow banks, with my spikes on. It looked like only one other person had been this way since the storm 4 weeks earlier.

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Peak 11328

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Alta Peak ridge

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Alta Peak

After a quick return to camp (for what had been a 4 hour round trip), I ate lunch, packed up and hiked out slowly but surely. The climb up from Emerald and Heather Lakes was hard work! I got back to the car by 4.30pm, only seeing one day hiker on the way out, and set off on the long drive back to the Bay Area, but it was worth it, for what was definitely the best quick trip I've had to the Sierra. Who would have imagined that you could still do this in November!



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Re: TR: Pear Lake and Tablelands 11/1-11/2

Postby gary c. » Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:46 am

Beautiful pictures. :thumbsup:
"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: Pear Lake and Tablelands 11/1-11/2

Postby windknot » Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:31 pm

Great pictures, thanks for the report. Sounds like a good late-season trip!
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR: Pear Lake and Tablelands 11/1-11/2

Postby sparky » Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:51 pm

Pear Lake and the cliffs above is very scenic. Lots of bang for your buck there. Alpine glow bwahahaha been exeptional there also both times I went through there at dusk.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
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Re: TR: Pear Lake and Tablelands 11/1-11/2

Postby tim » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:57 pm

I'd definitely like to go back next summer as part of a longer loop, maybe heading down to Big Bird Lake and into Deadman Canyon. Does anyone have any experience of how difficult it is to get the (walk-in only) permits for the Lakes Trail in summer? If the campsites at Pear and Emerald Lakes were full, could you could push on into the Tablelands on the first day and avoid the quota for those sites?
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Re: TR: Pear Lake and Tablelands 11/1-11/2

Postby bob adams » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:29 am

As a person who rarely gets out to California these trip reports are a lifeline. I can't tell you how much I enjoy them. I especially like the late season TRs. The quiet melancholy of fall really shows in the photographs. Thanks!
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Re: TR: Pear Lake and Tablelands 11/1-11/2

Postby oldranger » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:43 am

Tim,

You can get into the same area via Belle Canyon or sugarloaf entrances any time during the summer except maybe Labor Day weekend with no problem with quotas.

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: TR: Pear Lake and Tablelands 11/1-11/2

Postby sparky » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:36 pm

I have got that walk up permit twice in summer with no issue. Both times for one so that does make it easier.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
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Re: TR: Pear Lake and Tablelands 11/1-11/2

Postby justm » Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:46 pm

thanks for your trip report, beautiful pics !!! :nod:
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