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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Hike TR - Sierras backpacking June 2022

    406 scored a backcountry camping permit in the Sierras for late June a little while back. Plan was a 3-day trip, up Taboose Pass, down the PCT/JMT and then exit via Sawmill Pass.

    I had already been planning a MTB trip to the Sierras and this backpack fit in nicely on the way home. A third partner bailed on us so it was just 406 and I.



    Met 406 at the Sawmill TH where we left his truck and my moto so he wouldn't need to help retrieve my truck later. With high temps in the 90s the plan was to camp at Taboose Creek TH that night and start hiking early morning to beat the heat.




    Didn't get underway until it was light enough to not need lights, but temps were pretty decent




    Getting the early start was key as there is very little shade on this climb




    The trail goes straight up a canyon above Taboose Creek, with impressively rugged peaks on either side




    Lone foxtail pine up above. Was hoping the trail would switchback up there and get close to it




    It didn't, but did go past some other cool trees




    There were a few series of switchbacks. Lots of loose rock and gravel made for slow going




    Super clear water, and with shallow depth it wasn't that cold. Could have gone for a swim except we still had some miles to go




    Smiles at the top. That was 6,000ft up in 7 miles.




    The lake in the center is Bench Lake. It's always hard to visualize terrain when looking at maps. This one looked way cooler than expected hanging there above the valley.




    Continuing on




    Looking north toward Mather Pass which is up that valley and around the corner




    Found a campsite by a lake and set up tents. Cool spot, no one around. The only person we'd seen all day was a Park Service ranger hiking in for the summer.




    I'd brought my fishing rod since a lot of lakes on our route have trout. Fishing was so-so near our camp but as I walked the shoreline I started seeing bigger fish and a lot more of them. The bite was on!

    Some of them like this one looked like torpedoes in the water coming after my lure. Was seeing them right in among rocks right along the shore.




    I probably caught 20 in this size range plus a bunch that were smaller.




    Biggest one on the day. Lots of fun on the ultralight setup!




    Wandered back to camp around 4pm. 406 pointed out storm clouds moving towards us. He'd already made dinner so I did the same. Got water boiled just as rain drops started falling.




    Got a decent amount of hail. Rain lasted a couple hours with some very close lightning strikes as the storm moved over us. I was in big need of a nap so wasn't bothered by hanging out in the tent for awhile.




    Eventually hauled myself out to check out the sunset.




    Not bad! Had a couple bites near camp but didn't feel like walking the lake again. Probably should have though! Great day out regardless.

    Backpack/1/01.jpg[/img]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Day 2


    With prior evening's rain we didn't get going real early as we had to dry things out. We also headed over to the kill zone from day before but fish weren't really biting. They must have gone to deep water, I barely saw any cruising around.


    The hike started with a creek crossing then some nice walking through the trees.




    Rounding a corner we came into a valley with a bunch of nice lakes




    Marjorie Lake was the bigger one. Stopped for a snack here. Some smallish fish cruising around but only got a couple small ones.




    More lakes as we continued up the valley




    Awesome views just got better the higher we climbed




    Passing the final lake on the way to Pinchot Pass




    Stopped for a break on top of the pass. Looking south.

    We'd been seeing PCT thru hikers every 5-10 mins and there were a few hanging out at the pass. We'd taken a bet. I'd guessed we'd see 35 of them, 406 said 40. Counted 48 or 49 by the time we left the PCT.




    Dropping off the pass




    Came across this thru hiker impressively carrying a full size chainsaw to Canada to raise awareness for mental illness and wildland firefighters. Said he'd gotten crap from a lot of wannabe rangers telling him he couldn't have it on PCT, while the real rangers gave him some respect for packing it.




    It was good we were going downhill by this point, it was getting hot!




    Was a bit apprehensive about "trail not maintained" after having a bad experience on a similarly marked wilderness trail last fall, but it turned out to be fine.




    Definitely more raw and less travelled. Saw no one after the turnoff. Kept moving as mosquitos suddenly got horrendous once we got onto this trail.




    Passing one lake that was a possible campsite but opted to continue on to a larger one




    It was choose your own adventure whenever the trail disappeared in grassy areas.




    Found a nice campsite near a larger lake. Set up tents again and got to work fishing. It was work.... caught something like 18 fish on the first 20 casts and it just kept going, didn't seem to matter what direction I cast to. They were all decent size brookies 10-12 inches. This one was nice and chunky.




    406 got in on the action too. Fun as it was to catch fish on almost every cast it kinda got old after a while. Found myself jerking the lure away from smaller fish when I could spot them.




    Camp. We had another storm roll in around 5ish, but didn't last as long.




    I went back out and resumed the slaughter. This one had really nice colors, the camera didn't do it justice in the golden hour light.




    I'd packed in one of these and some dark chocolate for each evening. Great way to end each day!


  3. #3
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    May 2012
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    Day 3


    Up at sunrise in an attempt to get going before mosquitos got bad.




    For the most part it worked, they were just starting to emerge as we were ready to leave.




    Looking back down at the basin where we camped




    It was only a few hundred feet gain to Sawmill Pass




    Then we immediately dove into a steep rocky descent




    Glad to have hiking poles here




    A few lakes appear below




    Love the trees up here.




    Stopped for a snack at Sawmill Lake. There were rainbows cruising around right close to shore. Most ignored me but I caught a couple




    Sawmill Lake. We saw a couple tents above the lake but never saw the occupants. Saw no one today




    Trail continues to descend below the lake. The trail had decent tree cover which was nice




    Lots of cool rock too




    Started to see views of the Owens Valley still a looooong way below




    Had to climb over the shoulder of this ridge, one of the few climbs on the day




    Looking back up at some burly terrain




    Sawmill Creek fades away not long after reaching the valley floor




    First peek of the trailhead down below




    My feet were getting sore so I double timed it to the bottom. Then got to wait 10 mins or so for 406 in 100F temps.




    We had a beer down by the powerhouse where there was some shade, then parted ways. I rode the moto back to my truck through a hot headwind.

    Surprisingly the trailhead parking was overflowing with vehicles, 9 including my truck and the ranger's truck. For a pretty rough road there was a Tesla and a couple other sedans. Then I passed this Audi TT on his way up. "Is the road this bad all the way?" Yes, and it gets worse. He kept going.




    Taboose Creek campground has some nice swimming holes right next to the campsites. Quick swim and beverage before heading for home. Awesome trip! Has me wanting to do more backpacking now....


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Hike TR - Sierras backpacking June 2022

    Nice work mags. Hungry trout and quiet wilderness are a hard combo to beat!
    Last edited by hatchgreenchile; 07-13-2022 at 07:16 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    just outside the bubble
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    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing!
    It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. –Ernest Hemingway

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Man, the High Sierra is so gobsmacking. I should probably ride bikes a little less and walk more so I can get back up there.
    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2003
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    Awesome, thank you.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2009
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    SLC burbs
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    Great TR, thanks, you're killing it on foot as much as on the bike.

    A few pics are not showing for me, 404 errors, anyone else?
    "Your wife being mad is temporary, but pow turns do not get unmade" - mallwalker the wise

  9. #9
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    Jan 2008
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    A few photos from me...



















  10. #10
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    Apr 2006
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    SF & the Ho
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    Nice trip! And would like to see the set you used for the fishtravaganza!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Wasatch
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    awesome TR, those pics are $$$. FKNA!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Ventura Highway in the Sunshine
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    Beauty

    Love the east side with and without snow

    Great TR, thanks for posting

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

  13. #13
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    May 2009
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    inpdx
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    Ridiculous landscape
    Thanks for sharing!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    san diego
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    Thanks everyone! Stoke level was high on this trip for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by mcski View Post
    Nice trip! And would like to see the set you used for the fishtravaganza!
    My fishing setup is super basic. Ultralight rod with spincast reel and gold mepps aglia spinner.

    I all but gave up on fly fishing years ago as I spent all my untangling line and fly from every bush and tree around. Might have to break it out for the next Sierras trip

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Warm parts of the St. Vrain
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    Hike TR - Sierras backpacking June 2022

    Oh wow!! Awesome! Great TR thanks! Place looks stunning.

    Funny y’all watching so many peeps on the PCT expressway.

    Cheers!!


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    If we're gonna wear uniforms, we should all wear somethin' different!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    1,244
    Quote Originally Posted by stapes View Post
    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing!
    +1
    what's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Access to Granlibakken
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    10,108
    As always, nice job on the TR.
    Improve your AT boots with the StrapOff. It’s Maggot Approved.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    San Francisco
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    8
    Quote Originally Posted by up an down View Post
    +1
    ++1

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Stumptown
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    8,681
    Awesome TR. Looks amazing up there. What kind of mileage did y'all do?

  20. #20
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    Jan 2008
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    Not many miles, approximate stats:
    Day 1: 9 miles, 6500 ft gain
    Day 2: 11 miles, 2000 ft gain
    Day 3: 11 miles, 800 ft gain, 7000 ft loss

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    the most beautiful place in the whole wide world
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    love this thanks for sharing. High sierra is a special place. Looked like you were walking into a blast furnace at the end there. Surprised no mention of some delicious trout dinners... too much of a pain to lug a pan?

  22. #22
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    san diego
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    Yup, it was toasty towards the bottom of the descent. No wind that I recall, so it wasn't a blast furnace until the moto ride back to my truck. Oof...

    If I'd been more on the ball I might have brought a pan, I do have a light one for backpacking. I've gotten out of the habit of bringing one though since the trout tend to be tiny most of the places they exist in Socal. And its extra gear to carry without the guarantee it'll be used.

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