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Topic: TR:Sequoia NP June 2014< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 06 2014, 11:26 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When life serves you lemons make lemon meringue pie.  That was going to be the theme for our 5 day backpack trip into the Sierra.
I had been enjoying the last 8 or so years involved in a wildlife photography hobby and had stopped venturing very far into the wilderness because of the cumbersome nature of the equipment.  So when my photo equipment was stolen from me in May that opened up my planning possibilities for much longer hiking trips until I could replace the camera and lenses..  At about the same time my daughter, Holly, asked if we could go on a backpacking trip somewhere in the Sierra during her only week off.  My other daughter Nikki was also available so we started our planning research.

The other lemon that we had to deal with was the 2nd straight year of very light snow pack in the  Sierra.  California is in the midst of a severe drought.  I tried to work this to our advantage by planning an early season  trip to the 5 Lakes Basin out of Mineral King.  The trip would require some cross country travel over passes that might normally be corniced over during a normal snow year.
We designed the  trip with an approach  hike in from Mineral King on the West side of the Sierra,  followed by a loop in the clockwise direction (lollipop) from Glacier Pass, to avoid climbing over the Sawtooth Pass from the West as seen on the map.


Sequoia Trip Map

Thanks to this website and other net resources we came prepared including the now standard Marmot wrap for the car.


Marmot Proofing the Car

Flower season was early with the light snow pack.

Thistle Bloom


Mariposa Lilly

Wildlife

Sooty Grouse in Display

Sawtooth Pass from the South is a steep, sandy, slippery,  unfriendly place to take a full pack.   We wanted to leave the worst of that trail and cross country to find Glacier Pass.  


IMG_2318

When thick whiteout like  clouds rolled in halfway up Sawtooth Pass , our visual clues were lost.  We used the compass to make sure we did not walk off a cliff or accidentally climb all of Sawtooth Pass ☺


Compass work in the Clouds[/url

Our lemon pie serving that day was that  Glacier Pass was easily found and cornice free.  There was minimal exposure as we hiked our full packs down the pass.
[url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/14821634@N05/14580181224/]

Glacier Pass

After descended thru a gorgeous a high alpine meadow, Spring Lake  and the large granite wall behind it, came into view .

Foxtail Pine Log


Spring Lake was a great first campsite.

Sunset at Spring Lake
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 06 2014, 11:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The setting was spectacular.

Spring Lake Reflections
A separate reflection pool minimized all ripples for most of the morning.

IMG_1065
The fishing was good for lots of  smaller trout. Although no trout were native to the lakes above 9,000 feet, such as this one, various species were planted.  We did our part to help out the Sierra native Golden Trout  by catching and releasing numerous Goldens and killing our limit of Brook and Rainbow per the suggestion of the rangers.   We explored the Lake then finished our cross country  hiking the next day by hooking up to the Black Rock Pass trail which was easily visible from our Spring Lake campsite.


IMG_1079
Hiking up Black Rock Pass

Sawtooth Mountain and Spring Lake[/url

As we crested Black Rock Pass on the way to the Five Lakes basin we could see Spring, Cyclamen and Columbine Lakes being captured by the clouds.

[url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/14821634@N05/14558967676/]

IMG_1096

The next camp was at Little Five Lake, 10476. The fishing there was even better than Spring Lake.  We each caught our largest fish of the trip and cooked one up for dinner.

Fishing Little Five Lakes, Kaweah Ridge in background

Rainbow Trout Little Five Lake

There were mosquitoes at each lake but the wind and the cool evenings kept them to a minor nuisance most of the time.

Forest Gnome

We camped at Lower Big Five Lake and then day hiked  to Upper Big Five lake.


Warm wind off Upper Big Five Lake
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 06 2014, 11:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The hike to our last campsite was a gradual climb up the Lost Canyon.  It was really pretty with flowers, meadows and falls.


Sierrra Landscaped steps


IMG_1180 by

[url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/14821634@N05/14395457519/]

Lost Creek



Snow Plant


IMG_1164

The climb up to Columbine Lake was puppy kibble compared to the other two climbs of the trip.


IMG_1183

The tent site rivaled Spring Lake for majesty. Holly went swimming from the green fringed beach.  

Columbine Camp View


IMG_1192


Looking North:  Blackrock  Pass in the distance, Cyclamen and Spring Lakes below.


IMG_1198


Sawtooth Peak Salute!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 06 2014, 11:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Our final backcountry  sunrise offered more amazing reflections.

Sunrise Sawtooth Peak

The remaining part of Sawtooth Pass from the East went by rather quickly.

Switchin up Sawtooth Pass

At the top of the pass I dropped my pack and scrambled part way up Sawtooth Peak.  We only saw one other hiking party during entire the trip.  Jason and his dad are the  specs in the photo below as they finish the Sawtooth Pass from Columbine Lake.


IMG_1233

It was rewarding to downclimb the Sawtoooth sand.  I planted each heal and slid  downward 6 extra inches into deep sand before pivoting onto my toe for the next step. so thankful we did not have to climb that part with full packs on.
All in all it was a great way to start the summer.  I am already planning another trip, hoping that the streams don't dry up on me before I get there.  Having my camera stolen made me really appreciate how much I miss and long for, the mountain backcountry!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 07 2014, 12:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great trip report and thanks for the great photos.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 07 2014, 7:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Very cool, thanks for the post.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 13 2014, 1:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nice!  I have hiked to and out of Mineral King many times, but haven't yet ventured up Sawtooth's sand.  Spring Lake definitely looks like my kind of destination :)

When I've hiked out of there I've always parked lower across from the ranger station and never had problems with marmots


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 21 2014, 12:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great photos.
I was recently in Mineral King and we hiked Timber Gap and Eagle Lake.   So unique and nice to hike this area.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 21 2014, 9:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wonderful TR! Added that to the ever expanding "must hike" list.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 21 2014, 9:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great TR and spectacular photos.

Is the camping in these areas by permit at specific places, or open?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 21 2014, 11:27 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Awesome.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 21 2014, 12:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

CWeston,  the trail quota is enforced by trailhead not by campsite.  When you apply for a permit you list only your trailhead entry point of which there is a limit per day.  Then when you pickup your approved permit at that trailhead ranger station they ask for your detailed itinerary of campsites but do not make you stick to any specific plan.  
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 24 2014, 1:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

That trip looks awesome! I actually attempted to do this loop around the same time with the addition of Timber Gap + Pinto Lake in 3 days.

It proved to be a bit too ambitious so we never made it up Blackrock pass but I'm glad to see it is as awesome as I pictured! I'll have to give it another go next year.


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"Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain." -Jack Kerouac
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