Last weekend we were confronted with a mountain range engulfed in smoke due to the King fire. We chose to travel north to the Lakes Basin region of the Sierra.
This area is not as dramatic and picturesque as some areas of the eastern escarpment but it has its own delightful character. Often times we have a question on HST about an area with easy access and easy hiking for youngsters. The Lakes Basin region is perfect for young campers. The destinations are very short distances with little elevation change and the area is quite scenic.
Our plan was to climb three peaks, two intermediate climbs and one easy climb. We thought we would climb an intermediate and an easy on Saturday, and then climb the final peak and drive home on Sunday.
We drove up on Friday night planning on staying in the Snag Lake campground. This place turns out to be a little “crowded” and had a distinct and local “deliverance” feel.
We found a dirt road across the highway, drove in a little and dispersed camped there among the trees.
The next morning we took off to climb the Sierra Buttes. We drove up past the Packer Lakes Saddle to the gated Pacific Crest Trail junction ant 7012 feet.
This is a 5 mile round trip 1500 foot elevation change hike. We quickly found ourselves at the lookout on the summit. I haven’t read much on the internet about the lookout so I will dedicate my report to this little structure.
I could ramble on endlessly about metamorphosed rock called quartz porphyry, but I’ll leave it to the resident “Rock Hounds” to explain the geology.
The final several feet of climbing to the summit are on a set of metal stairs.
One has a great view of the Sardine Lakes from the lookout.
Inside the lookout you can find a refrigerator, stove, heater sink and many little labels stuck on the windows.
I assume that the stickers correspond to the location and distance of the named peak.
This is the customary photo of the benchmark.
Here is some unusual historic graffiti found at the summit.
We were the first climbers of the day to reach the lookout. A couple arrived while we were leaving. I took this shot of her (note the couple on the stairs) just before we began our climb back to the truck.
On the hike back we noted quite a few more hikers climbing to the lookout. We also met a character at the parking area. His name was “Bama” and he said he was searching for crystals. The guy was right out of a novel, old, skinny, tough, ZZ Top beard…quite the character.
He asked if we would be interested in trading some food for crystals. We obliged him and then left. I really regret not asking him to pose in a picture with “Sport”. You would have enjoyed meeting Bama.
It was still the morning and we had all afternoon to climb. We decided to climb the other intermediate peak next…
Thanks for reading our post,
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” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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