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TR: Chocolate Lakes Loop

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TR: Chocolate Lakes Loop

Postby scottg1178 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:59 pm

On July 9th 2012 a friend and I hiked The Chocolate Lakes Loop which is in the Inyo National Forest near the Bishop Pass and John Muir Wilderness. At 6:30am we hit the trail head out of South Lake and headed up the Mountain. In all we reached 6 lakes and viewed a handful of other lakes in the distance. We fished 3 of the lakes and caught about 12 fish total. The distance of the loop was 7 miles and we added about an extra mile or so with exploring. I would consider this hike moderate but there are some strenuous areas as well as some areas where the trail is undefined and hard to find. I will try to highlight some of these areas in this report for those who may be considering this hike.

Our first stop was Long Lake which is at 10,800 feet.

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Long Lake


From Long Lake we headed up to Ruwau Lake which isn't very far at all (maybe a half mile or so). It is a decent accent however.

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Lake Ruwau (11,044 Feet)


At Ruwau Lake I did a little exploring to get some great views.

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Long Lake From above 11,000 feet


The fishing was great at Ruwau

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Brook out of Ruwau (released after photo)


After a couple hours at Ruwau we continued our trip onward and upward. This is where the hike becomes a bit tricky and strenuous. Even with a good map the trail leading from Ruwau to Chocolate lakes was hard to find. We ended up hiking to a high view point and used binoculars to locate the trail. This part of the trail takes you up to about 11,300 feet and around Chocolate Peak. There were some great views.

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Lake Ruwau from 11,300 feet


At this point the trail (or lack of one) leads you back down the valley to Chocolate Lakes and Bull Lake. The trail is unmarked in this area and you have to do some small boulder hoping to get back down the mountain.

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Chocolate Lakes #3


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Chocolate Lakes #2


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Chocolate #1


Throughout the Chocolate Lakes the trail comes and goes a bit. Its easy to stay on track though. Our last lake we hit was Bull Lake which is at the base of Chocolate Peak.

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Bull Lake


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Bull Lake and Chocolate Peak


After Bull Lake we headed back down the mountain. This was a great trip that I would recommend to anyone that is going to be in this area.

-Scott



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TR: Chocolate Lakes Loop

Postby Hobbes » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:23 pm

We stopped by S Lake Friday afternoon (July 6) while on the way to Bishop. (We had been @ June that week, but always pack up & leave for Bishop the day before so that we can split early the next am and get back to LA before noon.)

My wife & our dog preferred to hang out in the shade by the lake, but my son was interested in going up the Bishop trail with me. My wife gave us 3 hours (2-5pm), so I figured I could hit Saddlerock (+- 4.5 miles from the lowest parking lot) within 1.5 hrs @ 3mph, then turn around and fly back down the trail.

My son has begun to take an interest in the back country, and had had a good time doing (the easy) part of the SHR between Conness & Steelhead the day before (ie North peak saddle). Now, admittedly we jogged/fast walked the long way around from the Saddlebag store while my wife/dog took the ferry, and then up the waterfall, so it was a pretty good day.

He's recently been able to beat me in some short runs (3 miles), so I figured it would be a good time to see if he could keep up on temperature, pace & gain. (East shore of S Lake positively bakes in the afternoon sun; 3mph; 9,820->11,125.) Well, it required some close in hiking (read: riding his butt from behind), but I had the daypack & chocolate, and I showed him how to carry his water bottle in his hand to create some rhythm. Sure enough, we reached Saddlerock @ 3:30, had a quick bite, then turned around and headed back. Like you, we caught really perfect weather. Here are a few pictures:

North peak saddle - Conness in rear (20 lakes basin):

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Not a very flattering shot, what with a mouth full of chocolate and a maniac dad for company, but what the hey - Saddlerock & Mt Goode:

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My son took a bunch of shots on the way back. His favorite lake? Long lake - Long Lake looking back towards Bishop pass:

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Looking back @ Bishop Canyon near the TH - I thought he captured the moment pretty well.

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All in all, I think he's finally beginning to awaken to some Sierra religion. He seemed to "get" the high alpine feeling. I'm going to take him on a 3 day/2 night bunny slope hike in Aug from Agnew -> Toulumne Meadows.
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Re: TR: Chocolate Lakes Loop

Postby windknot » Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:38 pm

Thanks for the reports guys. This is a nice area.

Scott, if you don't mind my asking, did you happen to catch any rainbows in Ruwau or were they all brookies?
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR: Chocolate Lakes Loop

Postby scottg1178 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:53 pm

windknot wrote:Thanks for the reports guys. This is a nice area.

Scott, if you don't mind my asking, did you happen to catch any rainbows in Ruwau or were they all brookies?



Didn't catch one Rainbow... Which I thought was odd considering most of what I read about Rawau suggested that the lake was known for rainbows with decent size. I caught two Bows out of long lake.
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Re: TR: Chocolate Lakes Loop

Postby windknot » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:04 pm

Thanks for the response. I was there last year and landed only brookies, but did spot a few nice rainbow cruisers. I think the rainbows are less numerous than the brookies, but also larger on average.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR: Chocolate Lakes Loop

Postby RiseToADry » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:39 pm

windknot wrote:Thanks for the response. I was there last year and landed only brookies, but did spot a few nice rainbow cruisers. I think the rainbows are less numerous than the brookies, but also larger on average.


I've fished Ruwua every year for the past 4 years, and it seems every year the number of rainbows I've landed has gone down. First year I did an overnighter around the loop and landed between a group of 4 about 10 'bows in an afternoon. Last year, not-a-one. My initial perception was 75% brookies 25% bows, but it has significantly changed in my opinion to about 90-10. Still a great fishery with a balance between size and numbers.

As an aside - thanks for the tip about the golden trout lakes a while back. Took your advice and hit the hotspots, 5 day 4 night trip report coming soon.
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