Because I've been contemplating a trip through the Golden Trout Wilderness literally for years, I've got a file folder full of maps, routes/mileage and intelligence reports. The allure of where the state fish originated & the geological underpinning of how/why it evolved its golden red hue is pretty strong with me. As many may know, Golden Trout & Volcano creeks are where the original fish were caught by very early settlers who transported them in barrels to seed various lakes in the region.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Trout_Wildernesshttp://stevenojai.tripod.com/goldtrout.htmhttp://www.tucalifornia.org/cgtic/CGTbasics.htm
Probably the biggest reason I've kept putting this trip off is because I couldn't figure out a way to make an interesting loop out of Horseshoe Meadow. Other than return via a small stringer that doesn't have much fishing potential, the other option would add miles just to avoid directly backtracking. Since the mileage is pretty high - around 20 miles each way to Volcano falls, the thought of either backtracking or going further east just for a change of scenery kept putting me off.
Alternatively, I would periodically pull together ideas to construct a mini 'thru-hike' by heading up the Kern river - fishing all the way, 'natch - and then continuing north & exiting at either Shepherd or even throwing in a Whitney summit/exit just for the heck of it. So, it doesn't come as a big surprise that when Maverick suggested Kaweah basin for next year while we were sitting around @ Wales, the gears were already spinning in my head. Not the least of which is I'd rather use my feet for free than to pay for a guided trip:http://www.kernriverflyfishing.com/gtw.htm
To provide some basic background in terms of route/mileage, I thought I'd throw the following info dump out there on my expected route for those who may have an interest in the general region. Note: because Mav's 2015 meet-up location is so centrally located, there's a lot of different ways to get there or just pass through. From the west, there's the HST or Cloud canyon, from the south, GTW/Kern, from the north, Harrison/Forester/Kearsarge/Shepherd, and from the east, Whitney/Crabtree/Army passes.
Day 1 (Tues) - Horseshoe Mdw to Kern river bridge @ Volcano falls via Trail pass - 20 miles. Get permit @8am, on trail by 9am, shoot for 3mph pace (7-8 hrs), pull in before 6pm.
Day 2/3 (Wed/Thurs) - Bridge to Kaweah basin - 21 miles. Slow & easy 10 miles/day to allow fishing @ various pools along the way. Arrive at meet-up location Thurs afternoon.
Day 4 (Fri) - Kaweah basin to Crabtree mdw via HST/PCT/JMT - 10 miles. Leave after lunch, nice & easy.
Day 5 (Sat) - Crabtree to Horseshoe Mdw via PCT & Cottonwood pass - 20 miles. Try and jam 3mph (7-8 hrs), get to car before 2pm, home for dinner/beer.
As this thread progresses, I'll be able to post up additional information & resources, such as which USGS or T Harrison maps cover which areas, alternative x-c routes throughout the area I've done in the past, (not-so) secret fishing spots, lures/flies that have worked for me, etc.