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People Place or Fish

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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People Place or Fish

Postby balzaccom » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:15 pm

So when you think about the perfect campsite...do you aim for the most beautiful spot on the planet, even though there may be a few other groups camped around the edges? Or would you prefer someplace ever so slightly less scenic—but without another camper within five miles?

Or does it even matter, if the fish are biting?
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Re: People Place or Fish

Postby dave54 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:13 pm

Solitude and fish are not mutually exclusive.

I camp where I have privacy and solitude. I willingly take a short day hike to partake of other diversions, and return to my camp in the evening.
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Re: People Place or Fish

Postby markskor » Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:29 pm

balzaccom wrote:So when you think about the perfect campsite...
Does it even matter, if the fish are biting?

Great Sierra fishing venues are typically miles in; these smaller lakes are usually off-trail, hard to get to, and certainly not easily accessible to most, (at least the lakes I strive for.)
Sharing such a spot with a few seasoned veterans, especially who know enough to stay 2-casting distances apart and who never cast over you…Company of this type has never been bothersome, mostly even welcomed.

Coming to a “long planned for” lake and finding dogs running free and hicks mistreating the environment – soap, large fires, trash, loud music – maybe a string of stock trampling down the meadows…well, that is another kettle of fish.

Take a lake like Smedberg…great fishing possibilities here. First day I found the perfect campsite up in the rocks, North side. Fishing was spectacular. Second day mules came in from one end and troop of boy scouts from the other – mass suckage. No amount of great fishing would compensate for these hoards, perfect campsite or not. Carpe Diem…There are other lakes.
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Re: People Place or Fish

Postby balzaccom » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:47 pm

Great post, Marksor!

I've been there myself--both literally and figuratively!
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Re: People Place or Fish

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:41 pm

Comfortable place to lay, nice water access, beautiful view, nice fire pit and place to sit by it, plenty of wood close by, no people, good fishing, some wild edibles, good trees to hang clothes line by, nice place to sit by water to do laundry (soaking bit), nice swimming hole, no hordes of Harvestmen, no mosquitoes, open sky to view stars while sleeping out.

Yeah that about covers it.
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Re: People Place or Fish

Postby Cross Country » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:01 pm

The "perfect campsite". This is why I did so much cross country and why I repeated several places so many times. I wanted a place that was beautiful, good fishing, and seldom visited with ease and pleasure of arrival. Without realizing it I ranked places on a quality scale with each of my criterion close to evenly balanced with the others. It would be like rating them on a scale of 1 to 5, totaling the scores and going to the places with the highest score the most often. I went to Laurel Lake the most because despite the fact that it gets about a 2 for scenery, a 2 for solitude and a 3 for fishing, it got a 4 for ease of arrival (low to no snow in May - June and a total of 11) because no place else got a score of 10 in May or June and it's on the way to my #2 spot Edith. I would give places in the high country in April a minus score for ease and pleasure of arrival. I always took a trip in May (about 12 trips to Laurel). In the 70's and 80's Edith (9 trips) got a 3, 4, 5, and 3 in June (15 total). Almost no where (again, because of snow) gets a 3 for ease of arrival in June. I always went on a June trip. My #3 spot was Kid Lakes (7 trips). It got a 4. 4, 5, 2 (15) only in mid season. Sphinx Lakes (6 trips) got a 5, 3, 3, 3 (15) also only in mid season.

Tunemah Lake which I (we) went to only once gets a 2, 5, 5, 1 (13).

My favorite place gets a 5, 5, 4, 5 (with horse help) for my top score of 19. It was not my favorite place until 2003. I went there 9 times and all 4 of my trips since 2002 (2003 - 2008). It was that good.

Not until tonight have I ever thought about this numerical rating thing, but it makes sense to me. I just always went where I wanted to go.

Of all of the trips I've ever taken, Dumbbell Lakes was my favorite. Dumbbell gets a 17 (it's hard to get to) but my two sons were with me which gives that trip a rating of 20+.
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Re: People Place or Fish

Postby balzaccom » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:19 am

Hey Cross Country~!

Did we ever hear about how your epic trip tyurned out? Or did I miss it?
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Re: People Place or Fish

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:08 pm

When I think of the most memorable campsites, they usually featured solitude, and nice scenery, and commonly special features that make them particularly cozy, such as nicely configured natural rock seats or benches. As noted above great fishing and solitude do not necessarily correlate, given that some of the greatest fishing is to be had in some seriously crowded places--some of Desolation's most legendary--I am willing tolerate campsite conditions I normally would avoid in return for stellar fishing. That having been said, even in crowded places, I find that I can find a campsite that gives me some elbow room.

With all of the exotic trailless places I've been I can't say that favorite campsite of all time is in the middle of nowhere: favorite locale doesn't necessarily equate to favorite campsite. My favorite destination of all time is the Dumbbell Lakes, but the specific campsite Judy and I stayed at was not particularly memorable. My favorite campsite ever is at Fisher Lake in the northern Sierra. There is a spot fairly far from the lakeshore on the crest of the bedrock sill that bounds the lake where one can dangle your feet over the edge of the dropoff to Granite Creek (I think), a tributary of the N. Fork American and gaze southward over some very open scenery. There is something indescribably soothing about this scene and location.

Judy and I tried to find other spots with equivalent appeal elsewhere and haven't quite found one. A campsite we stayed on the exact crest of the Sierra above Summit L. (border NE Yosemite) was sort of cool given the view to both sides of the Sierra, but whereas we had the area to ourselves during our visit in late June of 1994, the campsite had some other features, like the sawed off branches of trees in the vicinity that detracted from the overall effect. For the type of campsites I enjoy, I most commonly located them well above the lake--this is the case of Fisher L. above and the Summit Lake site above. The main reason for doing this is to reduce the level of mosquito nuisance, rather than gain better scenery, although better views commonly result from this.

A friend of mine and I once camped at such a spot perched above and south of Top Lake in Desolation and this is the place I think that comes closest to equalling the Fisher Lake effect for me. The westward view from this site is unparalleled in my experience in the Sierra: One can see most of the length of the Central Valley and from somewhere around the Trinity Alps in the north to south of New Idria in the south. When the sun goes on city lights can be seen the length of the valley.

I have a favorite family campsite at a trailless lake somewhere on the western flank. It doesn't feature the views above, but it has plenty of charm. It is perched some 100 feet of elevation above the lake and has a nice flat spot for a tent. Nearby are a wonderful series of granite benches to sit, relax, and have meals. A short sideways hike across the slope gets one to a small stream from which water can be had. Although less than a mile and a half from where we park our car, we've never seen another camper at this lake, even on 4th of July weekend, and have seen only a couple of fishermen to dayhiked to the lake during three visits.

I have another favorite spot above one of the greatest of west flank lunker lakes. This one is a short distance from the drop off to the west where I can see the lights of Fresno-Clovis (undoubtedly including my neighborhood). The site features a huge rock with what works out to be a nicely appointed kitchen and dining area. Although it is clearly an established camp used by packers on occasion, it is less popular than other sites nearer to the lake and it is still closer to my personal sweet spot at this lake than the more popular sites on the lake.
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: People Place or Fish

Postby Timberline » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:01 pm

OK, balzacom, back to your original question (and that's not to discount observations posted so far), the best example I can give is when my 14-yr old son and I camped at 4th recess lake, at first completely alone; however we were soon encountered by the arrival of 4 fellows who chose the next campsite up the lake. Our curiosity lead us to pay them a visit, and it turned out the be the highlight of our trip. We met some exceptional people who inspired us, not only with their generosity (sharing some fresh caught trout for dinner) but their story as well -- a glimpse of how others experience and enjoy the Sierra. Before we left 4th recess we encountered another couple who had lost all their food to bears further down Mono Creek, and we were able to offer them some of our remaining food supplies, another incident where total strangers became friends.

So for us, while we were already at one of the most beautiful spots on the planet (who can deny the special uniqueness of that waterfall from the hanging valley above the lake's inlet) we were also graced by wonderful encounters with other people who shared their own degree of Sierra appreciation with us. Yep, we like having others around, especially when it allows exchanging the experience of the high country at that intimate level.
Let 'er Buck! Back in Oregon again!
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Re: People Place or Fish

Postby Cross Country » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:15 pm

I'll write a TR for that trip, maybe this weekend.
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Re: People Place or Fish

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:15 am

Spectacular view is my first criteria. Campsite comfort or convience to water never makes up for a lack of view. I do not like woodsy campsites where I feel claustrophobic. I prefer high alpine settings. Often I even carry water up to a mile to camp on top of a mountain or a site with a killer view. I also prefer sites that get late or early sunshine where I can sit in camp and take photos of sunsets and sunrises. I am not fond of sites deep in a dark canyon. I like using a bivy sack because it allows me to camp in the most absurdly tiny spots with great views.

Other people can either add to the ambiance or destroy my wilderness experience. I guess it is my "control freak" nature- if I find others where I intended to camp and they are agreeable, I do not mind, but if I first camp at an isolated spot and someone else comes along and plops down, I am not so keen on that. Both parties have to be in the mood to socialize. Inconsiderate people are never a good experience!
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Re: People Place or Fish

Postby DAVELA » Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:44 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:Spectacular view is my first criteria. Campsite comfort or convience to water never makes up for a lack of view. I do not like woodsy campsites where I feel claustrophobic. I prefer high alpine settings. Often I even carry water up to a mile to camp on top of a mountain or a site with a killer view. I also prefer sites that get late or early sunshine where I can sit in camp and take photos of sunsets and sunrises. I am not fond of sites deep in a dark canyon. I like using a bivy sack because it allows me to camp in the most absurdly tiny spots with great views.


I feel the exact same way...I dont like woody settings or narrow canyons.I have to have expansive views.Besides too many people,I never camp in campgrounds because they usually have tons of trees around the campsite.Too each their own i guess!
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