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Need Advice on Gilbert Lake, Flower Lake, Bench Lake, etc...

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Re: Need Advice on Gilbert Lake, Flower Lake, Bench Lake, etc...

Postby gary c. » Fri May 17, 2013 7:05 pm

I think that Flower Lake would make for a great overnight Destination for your scouts. There are always little brookies to be caught and young boys could really care less about all the day hikers. Actually they will love to meet a few of the young ladies and their summer hiking attire. I agree about Bishop Canyon having some better fishing opportunities but there isn't as much in the way of high altitude views you mention wanting them to experience. They could hike up to Bishop Pass but if you have that kind of time I still think a hikr to Kearsarge Pass is much better.
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Re: Need Advice on Gilbert Lake, Flower Lake, Bench Lake, etc...

Postby Ikan Mas » Fri May 17, 2013 8:41 pm

Thinking about what you would like to do, hiking from South Lake toward the Bishop Pass area might work for you. Several nice lakes with fish in them (Long Lake has Brooks and Rainbows, Bishop Lake has Goldens). Great views and the more ambitious could climb up to Bishop Pass if the weather is cooperative. Here are a few shots of the area:
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Long Lake looking toward Hurd Peak
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Bishop Lake from just below the pass
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Long Lake
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Long Lake Brookie
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Long Lake Rainbow
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Re: Need Advice on Gilbert Lake, Flower Lake, Bench Lake, etc...

Postby Ken M » Sat May 18, 2013 10:10 pm

Ikan,

I was disappointed by your TR.

I don't think that you were representing the best practices of the BS organization.
"Be Prepared" ----seemed to be missing, and proudly missing from your approach to this trip.

:eek:

Showing up to a campground without reservations with a large group, and having an expectation of special treatment because you pull out your Boy Scout membership card doesn't quite cut it.

:retard:

By the way, that particular campground host is known for his friendliness and helpfulness to the PCT thru-hiker community. Calling him a "Nazi" for following the rules..........doesn't cut it, either.

:puke:

Camping smack in the middle of the trail is a valid thing to do, if one is in trouble, and needs to contact any hiker coming through. :thumbsup:

However, it is illegal, and it violates Leave No Trace ethics. :thumbsdown:

Doing so, because your group is simply unprepared, and it is inconvenient to actually find a legal campsite does nothing to enhance the reputation of your Troop, nor any other BS group.

The nature of your post, which seems to recognize none of this, is not a good representation of Scouting. C'mon, you guys can do better.
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Re: Need Advice on Gilbert Lake, Flower Lake, Bench Lake, etc...

Postby Scouter9 » Sat May 25, 2013 6:14 am

Great advice and info from all of you, thanks!

Is the phone number for the camp host listed? Does that same person/couple stay there after Labor Day? I would rather have a guaranteed port of call than set up tents, even for 6 hours, at a trailhead parking lot, but I don't want to spend money I don't have to with the size of my group. Good old-fashioned telecom is right up my alley! With the varied info from the staff at the Ranger stations, I reckon a quick chat with the folks on the ground there will clarify everything for me.
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Re: Need Advice on Gilbert Lake, Flower Lake, Bench Lake, etc...

Postby phenocryst » Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:19 pm

Re camping in the parking lot: There is a big difference between a couple of guys throwing their bags out next to the car and a troop of 15 scouts setting up tents and cooking breakfast (or doing anything, really). Both are against the rules, but one is a lot less likely to pass under the radar. I am pretty sure that if you could talk to a host (the only phone at OV would be the host's cell) s/he would tell you not to do it. Enforcing the rules is what they are there to do.

Re hiking in Friday after driving up (as suggested by others): If your permit is issued to start Saturday, that's when you are supposed to start. If you want to start on Friday, you need a permit for Friday.

As a scout leader you are a role model and have a great opportunity to set an example of how to do things the right way. From what you've written here so far it seems like that's what you want to do. With that in mind, I took a look at recreation.gov and found that you can make reservations for campsites at Onion Valley and that there are currently lots available in September, weekends included. It isn't cheap ($16, 6 people max per site) but seems to me under the circumstances would be well worth it. You could also camp a few miles down the hill at Grays Meadow, nice campground and also reservable... maybe easier to navigate in the dark and a little warmer.

With a reservation you can get adjacent sites and know ahead of time where they are so you can drive right to them. I've found it saves a lot of heartache and there's no fee for the reservation. So, Be Prepared!

Since you already have the permit you might as well stick with Kearsarge. Bishop and Rock creeks are good options but a lot more driving on a Friday night in Sept. and maybe not reservable at this point for 15. The Kearsarge trail ranks with any on the east side for eye candy, especially if they're up for a day hike to the pass.

For a group of first-timers the realistic plan would be to camp at Gilbert Lake or maybe Flower. You may have some trouble finding space for 15 that's semi-level and 100 ft from water, but again, this is the time to model doing it right. You could have everyone practice pacing off 100 feet before you go. Camping for a group is MUCH better at Matlock, but no fish.

One item that's been mentioned and needs emphasis: there are BEARS in this drainage and in my experience they are as active as they come. You will definitely need to make sure to bring along enough bear cans and make sure everyone knows how to use them.
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Re: Need Advice on Gilbert Lake, Flower Lake, Bench Lake, etc...

Postby larroyo33 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:13 am

I agree with phenocryst. Reserving adjacent campsites at Grays Meadow is a good idea for Friday night. Not only is it warmer, but it also is before the difficult windy stretch of the road up to Onion Valley. I drove up to Onion Valley last weekend and there were definitely a few places where I had to be careful not to run over sharp rocks that had fallen onto the road, so I always prefer to do a drive like that in the day time when I can better see the fallen rocks.

As for a good place to camp with the scouts the next night, from what I saw, Flower Lake looked like the best option. It is right off the main trail, and about halfway up to Kearsarge Pass, so the Pass is an easy day hike once you have set up camp at Flower Lake. Right before you get to Flower Lake, there should be a sign on a tree pointing you to the Matlock Lake trail. Head up this side trail, cross the creek, and walk about another hundred yards (if you start heading up the switchback to Matlock lake, you went too far). On your right between the side trail and flower lake, there are about 6-8 decent campsites all near each other and all 100 ft from the water. You should have no problem finding room for 15 boy scouts here.
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Re: Need Advice on Gilbert Lake, Flower Lake, Bench Lake, etc...

Postby Scouter9 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:35 am

Outstanding advice, again! Thank you!

--I think it will be Gray's Meadow, and yes: once I saw the photo of the "no camping" sign, the telephonic advice I got from the nice-sounding person at the ranger station went out the door. Considering how low we're coming from, we'll get pretty much the same acclimation benefit even at the lower camp and then just drive up the hill in the morning.

--Detailed beta on campsite locations is so very much appreciated! Our entire group will not camp "together" so much as "near one another": the boys will set their own camp and the adult leaders are in another. I still tend to locate closely enough to keep an ear on them, but you get the idea.

--I know about the bears and we're all about those wonderful, lightweight, convenient canisters. Ho ho!
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Re: Need Advice on Gilbert Lake, Flower Lake, Bench Lake, etc...

Postby schmalz » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:41 am

I was just at Matlock Lake and there is abundant camping there. It could easily fit a ton of people. Flower and Gilbert had far fewer options.
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