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Darwin Canyon

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Darwin Canyon

Postby Vaca Russ » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:12 am

Last Tuesday “Sport” and I took off toward the eastern Sierra. We planned on spending some time in Kings Canyon National Park so, unfortunately, we had to leave the two little girls at home. They really had on sad faces as we drove away.

1dogs.JPG


Our plan was to cross over Lamarck Col and drop down into Darwin Canyon. I would like to thank Ozark Flip, Tahoe Jeff and Mradford for their help sharing information about crossing over Lamarck. A special thanks goes out to Jimmeans for posting a detailed map and description of his travels up to the top of Lamarck.

BakoGal recently posted, “Many thanks to HST folks who have posted their trips here and made it easy for me to research, plan and have a great time!” This statement is so true!

We made it down to Bishop in only about 5 hours and stopped in at White Mountain Ranger Station. I mentioned to John, behind the desk, that we had reservations. I also added that I really liked the way permits in Desolation Wilderness can be issued “on line” and I can print out the permit at work and avoid having to come in to the Ranger Station to get my permit.

Major Faux Pas! John made it clear to me that the permitting process was all about the face- to- face communication while the rules were being communicated. Realizing my mistake I immediately back pedalled and agreed while ticking off the rules from memory. Camp in established campsites, don’t camp in meadows, camp at least 100 feet from the water or trail, bury human waste 6 to 8 inches, pack out TP…and on and on.

John then realized I was no rookie and continued to list the rest of the rules. He then casually asked, “Will you be taking in your dogs?” “No!” I answered. “We plan on entering Kings Canyon National Park. Dogs are not allowed. And how did you know I have dogs?”

John smiled, “Just a lucky guess.”

We secured our permit and proceeded to climb 168 southwest to begin our adventure. RiseToADry recently spent time in this area and commented on the prolific wildflowers. This is so true. The flowers near the trailhead are really unbelievable! There were other beauties as well!

2Sport Trailhead.JPG


We hiked a little over a mile up the hill and spent the night at the outlet of Lower Lamarck.

3Lower Lamark.JPG


There is a small pond in the outlet stream of Lower Lamarck. This pond is right on the trail. Sport and I had fun pulling out the brookies stacked up just below the ripples. Sport had bought me a Tenkara rod for my B-day. These brookies were the first fish I have caught with my Tenkara! What fun! It takes some experience to set the hook and I am just a beginner.

4Fishing Pond.JPG


Jimmeans did a great job detailing the route up to the Col. The only thing I can add is a picture of this sign.
Jim writes, “I had read several reports saying that the start of the route was sometimes difficult to find, but to me that didn't seem to be the case. The trail to Upper Lamarck Lake starts on the east side of Lamarck Creek and then crosses over to the west side for a short distance.

When the trail crosses back to the east side there is a fork in the trail. If you turn south along the creek you're continuing to Upper Lamarck Lake, but if you continue straight instead you've found the start of the Lamarck Col route. If we had been heading to Upper Lamarck Lake we probably would have missed the turn south and started on the Lamarck Col route instead. Instead of being hard to locate, the issue seemed to be when to know that we'd left the main trail and were on the Lamarck Col route.”
5Trail to U. L.JPG


This is the fork in the road that you need to take to get to the Col. Follow the trail straight and you will find yourself at Upper Lamarck Lake. To get to the Col, turn left, cross the creek and continue following this trail up, up and away.

Jim also took a picture here. This is after climbing the over 40 switchbacks.

6Jim's Trail.JPG


We eventually made it to the Lamarck Col.

7Col2.JPG


The climb up can be over loose, shifting dirt or large permanent boulders. Pick your poison. The weather had been awfully windy that morning. The clouds began to accumulate as we approached the top of Lamarck.

8Entering KCNP.JPG


9Darwin Canyon Lakes2345.JPG
Picture taken on day 4


We hiked down to a campsite between lakes 3 and 4 and set up our tent just in time for the rains. We retreated to our shelter and waited for the rain to stop. We got a break in the weather for a couple of hours that afternoon. This allowed us to make and eat dinner and even wet a couple lines. We made the mistake of fishing the forth lake. We saw many fish rising but we couldn’t get any to stick.

After a while it started to rain again so we climbed back into the tent. It continued to rain…and rain…and rain…ALL NIGHT LONG! We would have to wait for the rain to turn to a drizzle before we could go out to visit Mrs Murphy.

We slept well in spite of the rain and awoke the next morning to cold, yucky, drizzly weather.

10Bad Weather.JPG


To be continued…
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway



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Re: Darwin Canyon

Postby Vaca Russ » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:18 am

More bad weather.

11cloud ripper.JPG


12Lake4.JPG


Eventually I got restless and started to wander to the creek between Lake #3 and #4. I soon saw little goldens swimming around in the creek. I went back to camp, grabbed my Tenkara and told Sport about the fish. It was very exciting trying to catch a golden with my Tenkara. I am just a rookie and could not get one to stick. I could watch them rise and suck up the fly but I need more experience setting the hook.

We went back to camp and got out my “go to” gear and shortly had brought some fish to net.

Fishing for goldens starts out very stressful. But, after you catch the first one, and the skunk is off, a large amount of stress is lifted and I can begin to enjoy the hunt. I got my fill of catching goldens.

BakoGal recently complained about these vermin.

13Marmot.JPG


Too bad the federales do not allow you to bring along your protection. These vermin would be long gone if my little girls were allowed to guard the camp!
The next day would be our hike out. Sport wanted to get a jump on the hike so we moved up the canyon to the first lake in the chain. Check out the color of the water in the second lake.

13zBlue Lake 2.JPG


We made our new camp on the shores of the first lake. Sport enjoyed the view from inside the tent…

14Sport Lake1.JPG


While I tried to catch a fish…

15Dead Lake1.JPG


I do believe this lake is has no fish. This would probably be a good place to air drop some MYLFs.

It cooled quite a bit during our last evening in Darwin Canyon.

16Moon over Darwin.JPG


The next day we packed up and began the arduous climb up the south side of Lamarck Col.

17North Col.JPG


Eventually we reached the top. Here is some beta for you peak baggers.

18Darwin & Mendel.JPG


The hike back was fun (ie: downhill!) Here is a picture of Grass Lake, North Lake and distant Bishop in the Owens Valley.

19Grass,North,Bishop.JPG


We had a great time in spite of the rain. You can’t control the weather. I just wish I had more time to fish.

We drove back to Bishop and stopped at Raymond’s Deli where they have “Hot beer, Lousy food and Bad service” but the music rocks! They also have a bunch of really cool signs, one of which I liked so much I copied and have hanging in my cubicle. I ordered and ate the Italian Stallion because I felt the need to quadruple the sodium in my system. :D

Thanks for reading our TR.

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: Darwin Canyon

Postby BakoGal » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:02 am

I was thinking the same thing while throwing rocks at the vermin.....if only Baxter was here, there'd be no problem!
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Re: Darwin Canyon

Postby justm » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:52 am

Thanks for that TR. Those pictures are great. I'm thinking of trying the Tenkara rod myself. The whole set up is so light ! Looks like the snow was pretty low on the Lamarck column. I did that trip a few year ago, and I still remember the boulder hoping going down the other side, or should I say my knees remember. Sometime a lazy afternoon in the tent, listening to the rain is really nice !!
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Re: Darwin Canyon

Postby kd6swa » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:44 pm

Thanks Vaca Russ for the many postings and pictures. Great adventurious spirit.
As far as the sign that you have posted in your cubicle that you snagged from Raymond's Deli - couldn't agree more. You should have shared the wording with the group. :crybaby:

73
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Re: Darwin Canyon

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:55 pm

Hi Kd6swa,

Welcome to HST!
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: Darwin Canyon

Postby kd6swa » Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:37 pm

Thanks - I've known Vaca Russ since 1989 and been a Lurker. I fully enjoy the Eastern Sierra, maybe not to the extent most of you do but nice places to get out of the rat race. Used to do the Hot Springs quite a bit!

73
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Re: Darwin Canyon

Postby Mradford » Thu Jul 25, 2013 4:34 pm

Great report Russ. Glad you got to experience this area.
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