torn between two thoughts.

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bbayley80
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torn between two thoughts.

Post by bbayley80 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:04 pm

Hi All.
so, I thought I had settled on my 'big' trip for 2019. then I read Maia's report on the Tablelands and now I'm having second thoughts. I'm between two trips. both six days. Both mix in a good dose of off-trail travel juxtaposed with busy/crowded stretches. both involve areas I've scratched the surface of. I'd love you thoughts!?

Idea One.
Florence Lake TH/Sallie Keyes/V Lake(in Bear Lakes Basin)/zero day in BLB/Marie Lake/last night near MTR/out.

a few years ago I went through Bear Lakes Basin as part of a lollipop loop from Pine Creek (TR here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=14928&p=111372#p111372) Now living in Fresno I'd love to revisit that area-but from the Westside. The stretch of the JMT through the Marie Lake area looks really nice, so I'd look forward to that-however my trepidation on this trip is the amount of time I'd spend on the busy JMT-other than when off trail in BLB. not sure if I'd be super into it when out there?

Idea Two.
basically follow Maia's route.
Lakes-Alta Trailhead/Buck Creek/Tamarack Lake/Lonely/11,200/out via Pear Lake and Lakes Trail.

I have done a good section of this one having gone out to Nine Lakes Basin a few years back. On that trip we intended to travel to Tamarack via Lion Rock Pass but snow levels were to great and we elected to retrace our steps on the HST back to Wolverton. Since, I've always wanted to return-Maverick I know you have mentioned to me here that Tamarack is one of you personal favorites. Presented with Maia's writeup I was blown away with the Tablelands. However having hiked a good portion of the loop(I've been out to Pear many times to fish on day hikes) not sure if its 'THE' trip for the year.

I'd appreciate any thoughts or feedback.
again, it's six days in mid August. I have updated my profile to include my interests so you can better gauge me as a backpacker.
as always thanks to this great community.








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SSSdave
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Re: torn between two thoughts.

Post by SSSdave » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:41 pm

Much more efficient to reach the EF Bear Creek basin via Bear Diversion Dam versus Florence L reservoir. Just do the topo math.

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Re: torn between two thoughts.

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:08 pm

Even though not the most efficient route, going in Florence has many advantages. One, is that the ride across Florence lake is nice. The route, once you get to the PCT, although it can be crowded, is prettier and Marie Lake is wonderful. To avoid the crowds just camp on the opposite shore. Take a side trip to Melody Lakes and go back down the trail past Sandpiper and Lou Beverly Lake. You can also cut x-c from Lou Beverly Lake and save a mile or more, but it is tricky. If you have the experience, go back over Feather Pass (SW of Feather Peak) to stunning Merriam Lake and all trail down French and Piute Canyons. The trails are good going out so you can do high miles the last two days. You may want to add a day and go a bit slower. Another good option is to spend a day hiking in the Marie Lake area- Rose Lake, Orchid and Apollo. The Bear Basin route will likely have more people than the Tablelands route.

Although I like Tablelands, I am not as enthralled with it as others. I have been there several times, include early July when it was still snow covered (makes travel difficult). Tablelands is more barren. Particularly if you fish the Bear Basin trip is better. In my opinion, Hamilton Lake, Nine Lakes Basin, Lion Lake and Tamarack Lake are better than Tablelands. Big Bird is well worth a drop down to it from Tablelands.

You can also loop through Bear Basin from Pine Creek TH, via Granite Park, Dancing Bear Pass, Feather Pass, Merriam Lake and UP French Canyon to Pine Creek Pass, with side trip or through Royce Lakes.

I am not sure how much off trail you want to do, or the level of difficulty you are up to. Also do not know what are your limits on hours or miles willing to backpack each day.

There are so many other 6-day trip options also to consider, such as Dusy Basin with side trip to Barrett Lake. Tablelands or Bear Basin are good trips, but I would not list them as my top three trips. All depends on what you want to see and how much "solitude" you want.

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Re: torn between two thoughts.

Post by bbayley80 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:46 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:08 pm
Marie Lake is wonderful. To avoid the crowds just camp on the opposite shore. Take a side trip to Melody Lakes and go back down the trail past Sandpiper and Lou Beverly Lake. You can also cut x-c from Lou Beverly Lake and save a mile or more, but it is tricky.
thank you Wandering Daisy.
sometimes all you need is an opposite shore right ;) it looks to be such a HUGE area that I'm sure we can find a good spot. that is kinda the plan-Sandpiper and Three Island look to be cool and worth exploring.and we probably will have time to duck over to Rose Lake on the way out-if for nothing more than a nice place to eat lunch.
Wandering Daisy wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:08 pm
If you have the experience, go back over Feather Pass (SW of Feather Peak) to stunning Merriam Lake and all trail down French and Piute Canyons.

You can also loop through Bear Basin from Pine Creek TH, via Granite Park, Dancing Bear Pass, Feather Pass, Merriam Lake and UP French Canyon to Pine Creek Pass, with side trip or through Royce Lakes.
Merriam is one of my favorites also. the loop you mention is the same loop I tackled solo previously and LOVED it-i would love to get back into that area. I thought of adding a couple days to go over Feather again just to see Merriam and go out French Canyon, and eventually back to MTR and Florence but just can't be out that long unfortunately.

thanks as always for your excellent insight.

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Re: torn between two thoughts.

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:42 pm

I am actually planning a similar trip for myself this summer. I finally finished the calculations for entry from Pine Creek TH. If Bear Basin is your objective, you can get there in 2 days from Pine Creek. It also lends itself to a nice loop; 1) Granite Park, 2) Bear Basin via Dancing Bear 3) Merrium Lake 4) Upper French Canyon 5) Royce Lake or French Lake 6) over Pine Creek Pass and out. Or reverse this loop.

10.8 miles to Big Bear Lake from Pine Creek, 4560 elevation gain. From Florence Lake, after 10.8 miles you are not even to Sally Keys Lakes.

If you have not been up Pine Creek trail and to Granite Park before, going in Pine Creek would provide a lot of new country to visit.

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Re: torn between two thoughts.

Post by bbayley80 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:48 pm

Wandering Daisy.
sorry if I wasn't clear earlier. I HAVE been along that same loop-the one you are planning. if you do go the Italy/Dancing Bear route-as opposed to Granite Bear Pass(more direct but a pretty visually intimidating/tight ascent, easy walk down the back)a summit of Julius Caesar from the pass is a fun/easy peak with good views! I also went from Merriam to Honeymoon for my last night and then returned down Pine Creek to TH.

I really enjoyed the Bear Lakes Basin area-that's the reason I want to return-to explore more..

TR here(if you want to use it as inspiration in your planning?)
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=14928&p=111372#p111372

just ANOTHER reason to love the Eastside more than the Westside(my new 'side' -now that I live in Fresno)
10.8 MI to glorious setting from the East, and still in the trees on the West after 10.8 hahaha.

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Re: torn between two thoughts.

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:55 pm

Oh, totally makes sense, if you live in Fresno. Sorry I did not pick that up before.

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Re: torn between two thoughts.

Post by bbayley80 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:21 pm

no sweat. trying to embrace being on the other side and start trips from 'my side' instead of driving over to the 395.i do miss that easy Eastside access from my old Long Beach home.

sure you have it all figured out-but if you want any intel on your upcoming loop please reach out and I can fill you in having done most of it and enjoyed it.

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Re: torn between two thoughts.

Post by sekihiker » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:53 am

Here are a few trip reports on the areas you are considering.
http://www.sierrahiker.com/BearLakes/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/TablelandsLoop/index.html
http://www.sierrahiker.com/ElizabethPassLoop/index.html
I'm from Fresno, too, so almost all of my trip reports are from hikes that start on the west side.

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Re: torn between two thoughts.

Post by bbayley80 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:51 am

Sekihiker.
thanks for sharing! I will pour over those and I am sure it will help me make up my mind.
good to have some West Side perspective.
I am enjoying exploring from a whole new side-and trying to stay disciplined and start out from over here to gain a better understanding.

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