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Trip Advice: 4 day, 3 night trip (basecamp theme)

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Trip Advice: 4 day, 3 night trip (basecamp theme)

Postby Talimon » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:18 am

I am planning a trip with my girlfriend for Labor Day weekend (August 31 - September 3). 4 days, 3 nights. We are coming from San Diego, so south of Bishop would be ideal to keep drive-time down. We would like to spend at least 2 of our 3 nights at a basecamp, ideally by a lake, with opportunities for dayhiking. We love solitude, which I understand runs contrary to planning a trip on a holiday weekend, but that is the time we have available.

My innitial thought was to make it to some off-trail location, perhaps Miter or Humphrey Basin. I am also intrigued by Midnight Lake (out of Lake Sabrina), which my guidebook has a description for.

Our stats:

We are both Level 3 (numerous trips, some x-country). Comfortable with class 3 terrain, reasonable river crossings. Main interest is having some solitude by a swimming-friendly lake, with opportunities for day-hiking. We are in good shape, and are open to having a tougher first day in exchange for reaching a great location that meets our needs. No preference on loop vs out and back.

Also, if anybody can recommend an east-side (395) hotel for the night of the drive it would be appreciated. I usually camp at the TH, but I thought it would be fun to stay somewhere with my girlfriend for the first night (arriving after dark).



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Re: Trip Advice: 4 day, 3 night trip (basecamp theme)

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:51 am

Others understanding the system and submitting requests weeks or months ago have left you with little choices. Your main issue is going to be obtaining a wilderness permit as almost all Inyo NF trailheads are under a quota and in heavy demand by all you Southern California enthusiasts. And most reserved permits are likely already taken so you would otherwise need to drive to a visitor center well before 11am the day before to stand in line like many others, and hope to find something open.

https://fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUME ... 143453.pdf

No longer see their link to a page showing what trailheads have been or not been filled per specific dates but doubt any for the holiday period would be still unfilled including those starting a day or two before the weekend. Thus you will probably need to call. Otherwise plan to visit one of the few trailheads without quotas. The only notable one is Saddlebag, and that is certain to be a zoo.

Better strategy would be to try and fit into one of the more obscure western sierra trailheads in Sierra National Forest.
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Re: Trip Advice: 4 day, 3 night trip (basecamp theme)

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:50 am

My vote would be for the Midnight Lake/Sailor Lake area which is outstanding, and
can be easily reached.
Like Dave mention getting permits may be an issue. Get there the day before and
stand in line for a next day permit.
As for hotels go to: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g3208 ... otels.html
check out the ratings and reviews, personally have never stayed at one, only at a
campground if needed to.
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
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Re: Trip Advice: 4 day, 3 night trip (basecamp theme)

Postby Talimon » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:41 pm

SSSdave,

That is a good consideration. Because my priority is to try and loose the crowds, the hope was that a walk-on permit wouldn't be out of the question. I did a Labor Day trip in Hoover Wilderness out of Twin Lakes last year and didn't have any problem getting a walk-on permit, but I understand your point about the more southern trailheads getting more traffic.

I just got a permit for Sabrina basin on recreation.gov, so with maverick's endorsement that sounds like a good option.
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Re: Trip Advice: 4 day, 3 night trip (basecamp theme)

Postby no2haven » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:19 am

Unless the policy has changed since last year, the quota trailheads in the Hoover are same-day only, not day-in-advance like Inyo/Yosemite. So they're a bit more reliable if you're willing to get to Bridgeport early in the morning. Having less traffic doesn't hurt, either.

Nice snag for Labor Day...I've been checking the site for something more appetizing than the current offerings for 8/4. Had my gf not had prior commitments next Monday we could've had a nice trip to Rae Lakes via Kearsarge that freed up a few days ago.
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Re: Trip Advice: 4 day, 3 night trip (basecamp theme)

Postby Talimon » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:46 pm

Checking-in to see if anyone with experience in Sabrina basin can recommend a good basecamp for 3 or 4 days. My innitial choice was Midnight lake, but I'm intrigued by something more remote. Any preferences on setting up camp between Hungry Packer, Moonlight, Echo, Sunset, or Baboon?
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Re: Trip Advice: 4 day, 3 night trip (basecamp theme)

Postby no2haven » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:04 am

When I was there at the beginning of August, there were several groups camped in the basin around Sailor Lake/Moonlight. There are lots of campsites, and enough trees that you shouldn't see the other groups, but you won't imagine your alone. We didn't go up towards Echo, but the map makes it looks promising and the satellite shows a few trees for shelter/shade. There was a group that showed up in the morning from that direction, so there's something.

Hungry Packer's shoreline is steep and rocky by the outlet and would be pretty cramped if another party showed up. There might be a campsite around the corner on the N shore where the lake widens. Not sure if you could make those campsites legal, though, since the terrain gets vertical <100ft from the shore (saw a group camped right on a granite slab overhanging the lake).

I'd think your best bet for solitude is an off-trail lake. The area seemed pretty popular, and everyone we ran into was heading towards Dingleberry/Midnight/Hungry Packer for the night. Also, if you explore around you could probably find a nice spot on one of the ridges between the lakes...this will give you much nicer views since the steep canyon walls limit your sightlines in the basin.
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