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Bear Lakes Basin - A return Visit

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Bear Lakes Basin - A return Visit

Postby mountainLight » Sun Aug 19, 2007 9:33 pm

For this years trip we decided to revisit Bear Lakes Basin. It was a great trip despite the hail, rain and injury :). Over the next few days I will be posting some of the images that I was able to capture on this trip. If you get antsy and want to see them all you can check out my blog entry that describes the trip and has links to all the images. As always thanks for looking.


Hilgard Branch on the way to Lake Italy
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Sunrise over Seven Gables and Big Bear Lake
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Ursa Lake falls into Big Bear Lake
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Postby copeg » Mon Aug 20, 2007 7:55 am

Some gorgeous photos of a beautiful area. Short on time now so I haven't read your report, but looking forward to reading it.
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Postby mountainLight » Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:49 am

Well as promised here are some more from the trip.

Vee Lake by Moon Light
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More Hilgard

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Postby Hikin Mike » Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:02 pm

Thanks for posting the photos, Mark. Love the moonlight shot!
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Postby SSSdave » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:15 am

Mark,

I read your whole blog on the trip. First I find your font size for the blog page marginally small which is uncommon with my viewing of internet content. I can still read all the characters, but not easily enough as it minimally ought to be. I have Windows setup for 1280x1024 on a big 21 inch monitor so depending on how a person has set up their computer display size will vary.

I'll add to your comment on fishing pools on the lower section of the creek by saying that three decades ago there were significantly more fish including larger fish in some of those pools. Quite a lot of pools had brown trout well over a foot long though these days there is too much heavy fishing pressure. Simply a lot more people own vehicles that can negotiate the jeep road then day hike up the trail. Those deep green pools in these lower sections is something I first read in Wilderness Press's Sierra North guidebook and everyone I've hiked up that trail has enjoyed with wonder. I believe it has something to do with the morning orientation of the stream to the summer sun from northside trail. I've explored all the pools in the remote area between Twin Falls and Kip Camp. Some very special stuff there too if one can handle the cross country challenges.

An interesting tale on day 2. Quite a bit less vertical going up the East Fork creek instead of White Bear Pass which I've done too. Your group seems to have a rather stubborn attitude towards a day's goals making questionable choices. I've camped at that lake during a couple trips and yes done some successful fishing there haha if you know what I mean. Nearby much larger and famous Lake Italy gets the lion share of backpacker attention but I'd take these other two anytime. One item always in my pack is high quality duct tape that can be used for a great number of functions by a creative mind. For joint injuries like a knee ligament strains, it can work as well as a constraining brace if properly applied. Note one can use some tissue paper between the tape adhesive and skin so it won't stick. Your continuing on in the face of a sizeable Sierra thunderstorm on its crest is something you have probably learned a lesson from.

Your blog doesn't mention any lightning but if you had hail, I'm sure there were some big sparks too which I personally am very conservative in dealing with. Would not want to be climbing up to that exposed pass during any storm. Thunderstorms in the Sierra are often caused by upcanyon winds coming from all sides of peak drainages. At the top of certain peaks, crest areas, and high ridges they billow straight up causing cumulus buildups. Thus the important thing to note is when such conditions are occurring, a thunderstorm might stay and dump in such a location for hours and hours while just a mile down canyon only occasional showers occur. While hail occurs, it is a sign the highest deepest part of the thundercloud is above and lightning is most likely to follow down the heavy rain and hail streamers. During other times thunderstorms build up in such areas but then upper atmosphere winds grab hold of the then towering storms and they then drift about. At other times the winds are strong enough that buidups get blown away before they can build up to significant size. That tends to result in smaller insignificant short lived storms. Being able to tell these scenarios apart is useful.

I once got caught in a horrible storm up at exposed Vee Lake in my younger years. Guess you are going to be buying some new rain gear haha. Unless clothing is well seam sealed with actual tape, rain gear often will wick at seams after some use. Setting up a tent in heavy rain is another thing to avoid unless one is faced with no alternative. Certain to get gear rather wet in the process. I winter snowcamp too and setting up a tent during a snowstorm is even worse due to the insidious spindrift. One learns to not set up while stuff falls heavily. I almost always try finding dense trees below timberline to bivy under until a storm breaks enough to tent. Above timberline I make a beeline to the base of cliffs where one is likely to find large talus boulders with protective overhangs or areas underneath. From your story about your end of day photography then returning to a cold meal, I have to chuckle. Serious photographers that backpack learn not to plan on community shared meals for late in the day and instead do so solo style. I always seem to be cooking my own meals in the dark at dusk or later.

Surprised you had a tough time fishing at Vee. That very deep lake has a lot of fish though they do see a lot of fishermen so learn to be wary. We always catch limits there within a few hours though tend to use small quality dry flies. Golden and rainbow trout are less likely to take lures where a lot of fishermen plunk them in but good wet or dry flies will still surprise them. "The view from below is amazing." Actually rather nice above the canyon bottom too:

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I know where your secret water is haha. In the 70s my brother and I waded the then sizeable dangerous creek with much difficulty and pain then proceeded to climb up to where we thought those waters ought to be. Did not find it and gave up. Back then I was rather young and my topo map skills were mediocre. We have a group 9-day base camping trip planned to the South Fork and Marie area in the coming summers and plan to stop at that offtrail water too. So you've taken care of the fishing mystery. ...David
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Postby mountainLight » Fri Aug 24, 2007 3:37 pm

SSSDave,
Thanks for the long reply. Yeah you always learn something new in the Sierra. Surprisingly enough there was no lightening on that climb in the rain. Or we surely would have bailed and camped below. Will have to remember the duct tape.

I think part of your post might have gotten cut off. Just above the picture you say:

Golden and rainbow trout are less likely to take lures where a lot of fishermen plunk them in but good wet or dry flies will still surprise them. "The view from below is amazing." Actually rather nice above the canyon bottom too:


I didn't catch the context of the view from below.

Thanks for stopping by.
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Postby Buck Forester » Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:43 pm

Whew baby those are some sweet images! I saw them on Flickr... awesome!
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
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