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TR: Rockbound Pass July 27-30

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TR: Rockbound Pass July 27-30

Postby kpeter » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:06 am

Trail Report
Rockbound Pass with a 14 year old
July 27-30

Purpose of the trip:
To reintroduce my 14 year old daughter to backpacking after one prior bad experience. After much good advice on this site I decided that this hike seemed to offer a good chance of success. The drive to the trailhead was just a little over 4 hours from my home in the Bay Area which was reasonable. The hike to Doris Lake was 6 ½ miles with around 1500' elevation, which might be pushing it for her but pretty Maude lake offered a good bailout option at 4 ½ miles if necessary. It seemed that there would be some things to do and see if we got to Doris and set up a base camp.

Conditions in general:
This is a very dry year. The first and only water source on the way to Maude Lake was where the trail crossed the outlet to Maude (Jones Fork of Silver Creek). Possibly because of the drying, mosquitoes had tapered off from earlier reports of massive infestations in early July and had become tolerable. Fortunately for us, three days before we started the hike there was a major rainstorm that freshened things up and the flowers were quite nice. There were still two patches of snow near Rockbound Pass, but it was going fast and we never saw any other snow on the trip.

Day 1

We almost did not make it to the trailhead. We left very early from home and my daughter was so discombobulated by the early start that she became repeatedly carsick. After many stops and rests along the way she mercifully fell asleep in the car and slept the rest of the way to the trailhead. Still, we were later in getting on the trail than I wanted and I was worried that she would be hiking in a weakened and demoralized condition. Not a recipe for a good trip.

As we hiked, however, we snacked, and as we snacked she gained strength and picked up steam. At times we rested almost as much as we walked, but we made progress and she got into better and better spirits. While the first part of the hike was rather ordinary, as we approached Maude we passed through a lot of granite–which was a first for her.
Appoaching Maude.jpg

We arrived at Maude–4 ½ miles and 800' of elevation–5 hours after leaving the trailhead. Maude is a pretty little green lake, and it was heavily camped on this Friday afternoon.
Maude in early morning.jpg

I offered her the choice of staying there, but she elected to push on. So we headed up over the Rockbound Pass from Maude late in the afternoon. The pass was an impressive trail that skirted over the tops of the cliffs.
Maude from Rockbound pass trail.jpg

My daughter gleefully spotted a pika along the way, and we got in to Doris Lake in time for a dusky dinner.
Doris from Rockbound pass.jpg
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Last edited by kpeter on Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:34 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: TR: Rockbound Pass July 27-30

Postby kpeter » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:06 am

Day 2

Doris was to be our basecamp for 3 nights. It is only 200 feet below the pass and thus has regular breezes that help keep the mosquitoes at bay. It has some big trees and also some expansive flowery meadows mixed in with glacial till.
Doris in late afternoon.jpg

On that Friday night we were the only people at the lake, although we had other campers come and go on Saturday and Sunday.

Today we took it fairly easy. We explored Doris. My daughter enjoyed wading in its some of its shallow waters
Wading in Doris.jpg

We also toured the flower gardens in the vicinity.

Finally we also did a short dayhike north to neighboring Lake Lois. Lois is a much larger lake and has a reddish volcanic flow at once end and cascades coming off granite at the other end. When we crossed the outlet we were surprised to discover that there was a three foot mortared dam that had raised the level of the lake, and we found stumps of trees in the water which must have been cut whenever the dam was put in. We did spot fish in the lake.
Carpets of asters.jpg

We hiked around Lois to the cascading inlet. We wanted to go around the southern shore to get there but found the way blocked by cliffs, although it looked as though some people had found a way to climb or wade past a chokepoint. Instead we took a use trail around the NW shore and found someone camped next to the cascading inlet atop a small cliff overlooking the lake. A magnificent campsite, but certainly within 100' of the lake. We rested, ate, and played in the falls and then returned to Doris.

Day 3

This was to be our ambitious day. We got up early and headed down into the Rubicon Canyon. The plan was to hike up to Mosquito Pass where we hoped to get our first look at Aloha Lake. It was a 900' descent into the canyon where we met up with the Rubicon Trail. The Rubicon River was flowing but very low and all the side streams were dry.

The hike down into the canyon and along the Rubicon was mostly foresty and not particularly interesting to me, although China Flat itself had an enormous marshy meadow. We hiked as far as the final stream crossing and were treated to the sight and the “kee” of a large falcon.

But that is as far as we got. At this point the trail starts gaining elevation to ascend to the pass. But ever since we left Doris and descended into the canyon the mosquitos and flies had been intermittently dogging us. We also realized that we had a 900' climb to get back to camp, and to do the 800 foot climb to Mosquito Pass would have added just too much. So we turned around. Climbing out of the bughole back to Doris was probably the low point of the trip.

Fortunately, a combination of a solar shower, a hot meal, card games, and playful wading in the lake restored my daughter’s spirits and the day ended well.
Doris near nightfall.jpg

Day 4

We got up before 7, packed up, and headed over the pass. The morning sunshine was gorgeous on the lake. We made much faster progress on the way out than on the way in and got back to the trailhead with tired feet by noon. Overall, a highly successful trip.
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Re: TR: Rockbound Pass July 27-30

Postby sierraholic » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:29 am

Great trip report! I love the chain of lakes on the east side of Rockbound Pass. My favorite two were just beyond your trip (Schmidell and Clyde). I like to go to Schmidell the first day, to Clyde on day 2, and then back out over Rockbound on day 3. Every time I get on the trail near the Rubicon River down in Rockbound Valley, it is mosquito hell. Of course, I always seem to go in July, so that may be the problem. I hope to get my 3 year old girl into backpacking ASAP.
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Re: TR: Rockbound Pass July 27-30

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:50 am

Very enjoyable TR with some great pictures Kpeter. Thank you for taking the time
to put it together for all to enjoy.
Hope your daughter has rekindled her interest in backpacking again, and will join you
on future trips.
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Re: TR: Rockbound Pass July 27-30

Postby windknot » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:30 pm

Thanks for the report! Looks like you did a great job of keeping the trip paced well so that your daughter enjoyed her time overall.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR: Rockbound Pass July 27-30

Postby Mradford » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:20 pm

Great trip report, looks like you guys had a great time and that area looks really cool.
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