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Re: Trip Advice: Benson Lake Loop

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Trip Advice: Benson Lake Loop
March 05, 2014 11:29PM
Looking for trip advice for doing a loop through the northern Yosemite area.
Current plan is loop in and out of Twin Lakes through Crown Lake, Matterhorn Canyon, Benson Lake and Rancheria Creek, etc. over 5 to 6 days.

- Timing - first week of July. Any big crossings or snow covered passes that may be problematic at this time? Is this area really buggy early season?
- Clockwise or Counterclockwise recommendations? Other route suggestions for 6 days with 8 to 10 mile days?
- Favorite spots to camp or things to check out?

Thanks,
elicali
avatar Re: Trip Advice: Benson Lake Loop
March 06, 2014 06:48AM
For the first week of July there will be no snow on passes but plan on some mosquitos. Mid-August is soooo much better for avoiding the bugs! I also don't think there are any water crossings to be concerned with, especially with CA drought conditions so prevalent. I believe you will cross Matterhorn Creek 4 times. If it's your first time in this region I would recommend sticking with your trail plan. The only variations I would suggest is possible small off-trail ventures like Surprise Lake north of Smedberg Lake and/or Arndt Lake off Rancheria Creek. Another variation is take the trail up past Volunteer peak over to Rodgers Lake and back--the views are worth it. I have no opinion on doing the route clockwise or counterclockwise. Enjoy.Mountain Lion
avatar Re: Trip Advice: Benson Lake Loop
March 06, 2014 07:35AM
Plan on really bad mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are only not bad in July
if it's been a really big snow year and you stay mostly in the snow.
Wifie and I have been doing northern yose every july for a bit now
... various variations on all kinds of great stuff up there.
So many options. You've mentioned what is in every guidebook.
It's what peeps do if they've done longer trip up der.
Most go via Peeler. Then all of Kerrick... etc.
Going via Crown and Rock Island Pass is just as nice imo.
It's what I would recommend so that you can see what the snow
situation is like on the drop back down from Mule Pass to
the jct. heading to Snow Lake. That is the area that would give
the most pause. Everything else will be just fine... especially this yr.
The only downside is that you cross Rancheria twice then.
But it's pretty high up and it'll be fine.
Everything else should not be much issue. Just regular stream
crossings... just get ur feet wet. Shouldn't really be anything
dangerous.
I recommend clockwise. Going up Matterhorn Canyon as it just
keeps opening up more and more is a treat. Did it with
wife in 2012 ... and it had been 10 years since been up it prior
with her and old dood... and we both just had completely
forgotten just how nice it was.

There's so many great things to explore on that route... it's just
hard to really say what to do. I've always said go up Volunteer...
and even if you don't want to go stay at Rodgers Lake... at least
do yourself a favor and make the small climb to where you can
see the lake and the peaks behind it.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/06/2014 08:42AM by chick-on.
Re: Trip Advice: Benson Lake Loop
March 06, 2014 03:53PM
You've already got answers above. I would say that I don't remember the crossings of Matterhorn Creek much at all, so they certainly weren't anything to worry about--mainly just getting your ankles wet.

Skeeters? It all depends on the weather...but Kerrick Canyon can be pretty fierce~! Happily, you don't have to camp there.

This is a great trip, and the hardest part is probably the first day to Peeler Lake. We did it a few years ago, and met a few scout groups who were working on their "50 mile hike" badges. It would be easy to spend another two or three days poking around various parts of this hike....

Here's a link to our Picasa photos:

and here is a brief trip report:

https://picasaweb.google.com/balzaccom/BackpackingInTheSierraNevadaTwinLakesToBensonLakeAndMatterhornCanyon#

https://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home/our-blog/matterhorncanyonandbensonlakeloop--atripreport



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: Trip Advice: Benson Lake Loop
March 07, 2014 06:47AM
Quote
chick-on
Plan on really bad mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are only not bad in July
if it's been a really big snow year and you stay mostly in the snow.
Wifie and I have been doing northern yose every july for a bit now
... various variations on all kinds of great stuff up there.
So many options. You've mentioned what is in every guidebook.
It's what peeps do if they've done longer trip up der.
Most go via Peeler. Then all of Kerrick... etc.
Going via Crown and Rock Island Pass is just as nice imo.
It's what I would recommend so that you can see what the snow
situation is like on the drop back down from Mule Pass to
the jct. heading to Snow Lake. That is the area that would give
the most pause. Everything else will be just fine... especially this yr.
The only downside is that you cross Rancheria twice then.
But it's pretty high up and it'll be fine.
Everything else should not be much issue. Just regular stream
crossings... just get ur feet wet. Shouldn't really be anything
dangerous.
I recommend clockwise. Going up Matterhorn Canyon as it just
keeps opening up more and more is a treat. Did it with
wife in 2012 ... and it had been 10 years since been up it prior
with her and old dood... and we both just had completely
forgotten just how nice it was.

There's so many great things to explore on that route... it's just
hard to really say what to do. I've always said go up Volunteer...
and even if you don't want to go stay at Rodgers Lake... at least
do yourself a favor and make the small climb to where you can
see the lake and the peaks behind it.

Have fun

Da bird really means counter-clockwise. Compass/clock thingy in his head broke.
avatar Re: Trip Advice: Benson Lake Loop
March 07, 2014 06:51AM
Doh! Must have been on my head!



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Trip Advice: Benson Lake Loop
March 07, 2014 09:22AM
Quote
chick-on
Doh! Must have been on my head!

You were standing on your head---but I agree with you about Matterhorn Canyon. It just gets better with every step you take up the Canyon.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Re: Trip Advice: Benson Lake Loop
March 06, 2014 07:09PM
Thanks for the advice. Looks like the loop is a good choice!

Agree that the July timing being less than optimal for mosquitoes. But, not sure I can get away for long enough any other time. Deet and mosquito nets will be my friend this time of year. I am foolishly hoping that the low snow year makes early July more like early August, so that mosquitoes are not as terrible... again, wishful thinking.

Like for many trips... can't go wrong picking any of the routes/options.

elicali
avatar Re: Trip Advice: Benson Lake Loop
March 06, 2014 09:24PM
Well... last year... where we went... in late June and into July...
the bugs weren't really too horrendous. And then in only some places.
Been to Benson and Smedberg and Rodgers too many times
where it was just pretty annoying with the little buggers. In July
I take a 2 person tent when going with the wifie and we lounge in
there during lunchtime and have dinner in there. Makes the trip
really enjoyable.
With that loop you go thru lots of different elevations so you
will see some mosquitoes... no question.
Prepare for the worst... hope for the best... that is your best MO.
Honestly I don't even bother with any reports of no bugs in early-mid July.
I simply bring sleeping arrangements to keep them away from me then.
Personally I don't even want 3 of those turkeys buzzing around me
when I'm trying to sleep or watch TV. smiling smiley

If you want more pix and whatnot... you can search on this forum
also for stuff like "Benson" "Matterhorn" "Slide Canyon" "Volunteer"
"Kerrick" "Peeler" and such... there's a number of TRs and other goofy stuff.
Always search all dates.

Have fun

ah... you may find this stuff of interest:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,41034,41037#msg-41037

and
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,41034,41111#msg-41111

and
much more...



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Trip Advice: Benson Lake Loop
March 07, 2014 06:51AM
Re: Trip Advice: Benson Lake Loop
March 09, 2014 04:43PM
Make sure not to skip Benson Lake. Sometimes people get tired, or in a hurry, and miss it. It is not to be missed. Largest beach of any Sierra lake I have ever seen.

I passed through the area in July a few years ago. Later, when people asked me if I went alone I said " I was never alone, the mosquitos were always with me". The zipper on my tent door broke on that trip, making avoiding them tougher. Still very worth while trip.




The Beach- Benson Lake



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/10/2014 12:19PM by lschaaf.
Re: Trip Advice: Benson Lake Loop
March 10, 2014 12:50PM
Benson Lake: excellent fishing. And lots of standing water all around. Terrible, terrible mosquitoes, when they're out. Except that it's often windy, which can be a saving grace.

So yes, don't forget the netting!

I personally prefer Rodgers lake to Benson, although they're two etirely different kinds of lakes, it that makes sense. But it's hard to avoid Benson in that no matter how you approach the lake, it's a big descent followed by a big ascent. Doing both in one day is asking a lot!
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