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Horton Lakes - Basin Mountain 9.28.13

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Horton Lakes - Basin Mountain 9.28.13

Postby KathyW » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:14 am

I thought I could mix beautiful fall foliage with a nice slog up to Basin Mountain's summit on Saturday, but it didn't work out that perfectly. The slog worked out okay. There's not much left of that dusting of snow that fell. It's actually a pretty nice hike until that last 1,500' or so of elevation gain from the upper lake (now dry) in the drainage south of the Big Horton Lake. From there it's a lot of loose rocks and sand, but a nice view from the top.

Some pics and a map of my route up Basin: http://kathywing.smugmug.com/California ... 3181-92813

Anyway, on to the leaves. The leaves in the lower part of the Horton Creek Drainage before you get to the Big Horton Lake are still more green than yellow. They have some brown dots on them, but not too awful. By the time you get to the lake at close to 10,000', the leaves are almost all brown instead of the yellow and red I was hoping for.

I drove up Bishop Creek yesterday and there are some nice spots, but a lot of brown as you get higher. It wasn't great along Rock Creek either. So, a bit early at some of the lower elevations and brown or even missing at the higher elevations. I headed home without checking out any other areas. Hopefully, there are some other spots where the colors are great in the Eastern Sierra.



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Re: Horton Lakes - Basin Mountain 9.28.13

Postby maverick » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:57 pm

Kathy wrote:
By the time you get to the lake at close to 10,000', the leaves are almost all brown instead
of the yellow and red I was hoping for.


This is not good news for leaf peepers :( , hopefully this is just happening in certain
areas of the Sierra.
Thank you for the great TR and pictures Kathy.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: Horton Lakes - Basin Mountain 9.28.13

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:35 pm

Nice report and photos. I've always wanted to do Basin, for it is such a prominent summit on the Bishop skyline, even if one has to deal with the loose junk on the final approach. I broke my ankle at Upper Horton the afternoon before I was going to climb Basin (1991) and haven't gone back to the peak since. I should get back there even though one of my major incentives to return is no longer (Upper Horton once held big goldens and is now fishless).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Horton Lakes - Basin Mountain 9.28.13

Postby KathyW » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:35 am

GB: Why is it now fishless? I don't fish; so I don't understand much about the fish inventory in the lakes.
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Re: Horton Lakes - Basin Mountain 9.28.13

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:26 pm

KathyW wrote:GB: Why is it now fishless? I don't fish; so I don't understand much about the fish inventory in the lakes.

That lake (the largest of the upper Horton lakes along with the medium sized lake above it) was gillnetted to eliminate the trout (all trout in such lakes were introduced and thus non native) in order to facilitate restoration of native mountain yellow legged frogs.

Upper Horton Lake was long known for growing unusually large golden trout, although the size tended to fluctuate from year to year, perhaps as a function of the relative severity of winters and length of growing seasons. The lake also has some local notoriety related to that trout population. Back in the 70s (not sure about date; heard this story from a Bishop-area climber in 1981 while at the lower lake after my first Mt Tom climb) some fool apparently dynamited the lake, shock-killing many trout. He then selected the most striking specimens, which reportedly ran well into the 20" range, then took them to the Bishop DFG office to brag about them. According to the story, he was promptly arrested by the DFG folks, given that the bloodshot eyes of the trout made it clear that they had been dynamited. In 1981 I didn't make it to the lake, but I never forgot the legend, so on my second Mt Tom trip (to lead my dad to Mt Tom) in 1991 I threw a lot of casts into the water, had some strikes, but never managed to land one of the really huge goldens I saw swimming around in there. My ankle was broken landing after a desperate but successful leap to avoid a giant rolling boulder that would have otherwise crushed me to the thickness of a dime. I returned there in 1996 but found the fish much smaller, topping out at about a foot long.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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