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September hike in Inyo

Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:00 am
by gosia2000
Hello to all!

I'm planning mid September trip to Inyo National Forest (Humphrey's Basin). I didn't expect to have any time off in September so I did not secure any permits. At this point what's available is Pine Creek TH, Italy Pass TH, and Duck Pass TH.
Which one would you choose for a fall trip? And BTW - I do not fish! ;)

Thanks in advance!

What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Level 3- Numerous backpacking trips, some x-country travel

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- Class 2 terrain/pass/x-country, some Class 3
- River crossings

What is your main interest?
- Solitude
- Lakes
- Big Mountain scenery
- Photography

How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead?
3 days

How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers?
Up to 10 miles/day.
I can push to 13-15 miles/day (And I often do on the last day)

Have you hiked at elevation before? Any prior issues with Altitude Sickness?
As high as Mt Langley. Over the years I had one episode of Altitude Sickness. Nothing serious, just needed to sleep it off.

Do you have a route logistics preference: loop, out and back, point to point (which may require 2 vehicles or hitchhiking)?
I love loops. For this trip I cannot do point to point.

Is there a particular area in the Sierra that your most interested in (Yosemite, SEKI, western sierra start or eastern start ect.)?
I was looking at Humphrey's basin and north of it just because of permit availability but I'm open to anything south of Mammoth. For a short trip like this I need to limit driving time.

Will you be hiking with a dog?

Re: September hike in Inyo

Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:50 am
by Lumbergh21
I'll give this a shot since no one else has, though my experience and abilities are both limited. I don't see any 30-mile loops out of thse trailheads that would be particularly special (or even possible out of Italy Pass/Pine Creek TH). My only suggestion would be an out and back to Granite Park that could include day hikes to Lake Italy, Royce Lakes, and/or Chalfant Lakes. You could make it an easier 1st day by camping at Honeymoon Lake, but I would suggest getting an early start and pushing on up into Granite Park for the pics, evening and early morning both, so long as it doesn't change your vacation into a death march. You can always get those pics the evening of Day 2/morning of Day 3. It is off trail shortly after leaving Honeymoon Lake, but there are so many use trails, the big issue is picking the right one to follow. My one time there, coming from the Lake Italy direction, I followed cairns leading to nowhere (IMO) causing me to backtrack, knocking over said cairns as I went.

Re: September hike in Inyo

Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 10:25 am
by c9h13no3
Yeah, any of those spots would work for a trip, and you can make a nice 30 mile itinerary where you don't have to hike many repeat miles without too much trouble. Granite Park, Bear Lakes Basin, Deer Lakes, and the Purple/Ram/Glen basin are the main attractions for those trail heads.

I find it amusing that Roper thinks Lake Italy is ugly :P

Re: September hike in Inyo

Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:33 am
by mckee80
You could go up Pine Creek to Granite Park, then over Italy Pass to Bear Lakes basin and over to Royce Lakes. Then an easy out back to Pine Creek. Or make it longer and go over Feather Pass from Bear Lakes down to Merriam and out French Canyon to Pine Creek.

Re: September hike in Inyo

Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:48 am
by thegib
Plan on camping at lakes, not streams, this year. The water level is low.

Re: September hike in Inyo

Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:46 pm
by astrogerly
They are all great areas. Also, keep in mind they will release all the “walk-up” permits a week+ in advance of a given date. For instance, if you want to go sometime the week of Sept 21-27, they are loaded on Sept 14. Something to keep in mind if you wanted to go to a different trailhead... but I like the Italy/Pine Creek area (where I’ll be for the next week).

Re: September hike in Inyo

Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:45 am
by gosia2000
Thanks for all the good ideas! I've been pondering all our options and I still can't decide what's best. I think we will enter or exit via Royce Lakes and spend a day by one of the Bear lakes. But I have an extra day that I'm not sure how to use
For those who know the area, what would you choose from the following list:
* spend one day at Royce Lakes basin
* spend one day at Vee lake and climb Seven Gables
* return via a longer route (Bear lakes basin - Feather Pass - Merriam Lake)
* start via a longer route (Pine Creek Pass to French Lake/Puppet Lake)

I wish I had an extra two days- I would include all of the above. But not this year...

Re: September hike in Inyo

Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2020 11:04 pm
by dougieb
You can't lose with any of these options. Seriously. Royce Lakes are beautiful as are the various Bear Lakes and Seven Gables. It's all worthwhile. The only less interesting place you've mentioned is French Lakes, which is still beautiful just not quite as high on my list.