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Re: TR; Twin Lakes - Peeler-Benson-Matterhorn- Horse Creek

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avatar TR: Twin Lakes - Peeler-Benson-Matterhorn- Horse Creek
July 09, 2015 12:32PM
I had a busy month of May and June schedule that kept me out of the mountains, and had told Chick-on some time back that the last weekend in June would work for a long weekend trip. As the date approached, Chick-on’s scheming ramped up, and the trip turned out to be a multi-party group leaving at various times out of Twin Lakes for a trip into the northern Yosemite High Country. Chick-on was going to head up “early” with JustKeepWalking (Basilbop staying home for the trip), while AndrewF and I were going to meet in Manteca early Friday morning, grab a permit in Bridgeport and head up to Peeler Lake to meet the earlybirds.

The trip plan was a bit uncertain. Certainly we were going to meet at Peeler. JKW had done 70 miles in 3 days the previous weekend and was a bit beaten up. There was talk about perhaps going to Benson Lake and looping back up Matterhorn Canyon. AndrewF had to come out Sunday while the rest of us were able to come out on Monday. JKW had dropped off a couple of backpacking boats to me a week earlier, ostensible for lazy afternoons floating around on lakes…which seemed to be a bit of a conflict with the idea of possibly going to Benson Lake on day 1…a 20 mile hike. The uncertainly was heightened on the Thursday morning when we received an email from JKW indicating that she had an issue that might have her leaving early, and that her and Chickl-on's plan was to be at Peeler until 3 in the afternoon on Friday, and if we hadn’t shown up by then they would head to Benson. In the end it didn’t matter…I was heading for the high country for the first time in months and happy to be with friends, no matter how it worked out.

AndrewF and I pulled into the Bridgeport Ranger station to get the permit Friday morning, with the assisting Ranger telling us that we had to indicate our exact itinerary (“Yosemite requires it”, says he). A bit of a challenge, since we really didn’t know, so we put Benson Lake as our first night stop, to which the Ranger expressed a certain level of skepticism (understandably so), saying “If you make it to Benson Lake, come back on Monday And let me know about it”.

We hit the trail at 11AM and made Peeler Lake at about 2:30, contacting Chick-on and JKW by radio to let us know about our schedule. After a quick swim, lunch, and some discussion about what to do (the choices were two…set up camp and crawl into tents for the rest of the day to avoid the mosquitos, or to just keep walking) and, well, you probably know what we chose.

So no more blah blah blah...here are some pictures:

After leaving Peeler, heading down Kerrick Canyon:




The start of the big drop down into Benson Lake


JKW and Chick-on


Sunset at Benson Lake


We arrived at Benson Lake just past sunset, with AndrewF and me having done 20 miles. Needless to say we were tired. The beach was teaming with PCT hikers and others...probably 15 to 20 people camped out there.

The next morning JKW and Chick-on were up early to paddle around the lake. AndrewF took his turn a little later:


and we were soon on our way, with the plan being to stay on the PCTsouthbound (which for us was really eastbound) for a bit and then head up Mastterhorn Canyon to some spot just below Burro Pass.

Here is JKW approaching a trail junction:


AndrewF took a detour to climb up Volunteer Peak while the three of us rested and swam at Smedberg Lake, and once we got to Matterhorn Canyon AndrewF found a nice spot to soak is feet:


The walk up Matterhorn Canyon was lovely


Further up canyon the Sawtooth Ridge came into view


And we camped maybe a mile or so below Burro Pass. The weather was clouding up and we had just a few sprinkles that day. The view back down Matterhorn Canyon to Quarry Peak :



That night AndrewF and I decided to hike out the next day over Matterhorn Pass and over to Horse Creek and directly down to Twin Lake. JKW and Chick-on were going to sleep in and take the much longer trail route over Burro and Mule passes, down to Barney Lake and out, maybe taking 2 days to do so. AndrewF and I were off early. The wildflowers at the head of Matternhorn Canyon were in their full glory:




There was a nice view back down to the top of Matterhorn Canyon, Burro Pass and Finger Peaks


We crested Matterhorn Pass, between the heads of Matterhorn Canyon and Spiller Canyon


AndrewF found Boundary Marker #119 (more about this in a separate post)


We enjoyed the site and smell of the Sky Pilot


From the top of Horse Creek Spiller Canyon looked inviting, I have got to go back there


The Sky Pilot in Horse Creek Canyon contrasted nicely with the rock and snow


Despite the fact that we were taking the "shortcut" back to the car, we still had a long way to go, and cheeseburgers were calling our names with every step


One of John Muir's favorites was out in force


A final look back up Horse Creek Canyon to the high country


And we were soon back at "civilization", i.e. the Mono Village Resort.

Trip recap...warm days and nights, mosquitos not the worst I have seen but also not the best . As long as we were moving the mosquitos were not a problem, but dinners were more often than not cooked and eaten in the tent. AndrewF and I did 20 miles on day 1, 17 on day 2 (not including AndrewF's little side trip up Volunteer Peak), and probably 10 miles on day 3.

And yes, the cheeseburger was pretty tasty.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2015 07:43PM by Bearproof.
Re: TR; Twin Lakes - Peeler-Benson-Matterhorn- Horse Creek
July 09, 2015 12:52PM
absolutely stunning photos!!! Great trip report!! Can't say I'd like to do 20 miles the first day! Also how difficult is it to get a permit for Twin Lakes?
-Kevin



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2015 12:54PM by KevinD.
avatar Re: TR; Twin Lakes - Peeler-Benson-Matterhorn- Horse Creek
July 09, 2015 07:42PM
Hey Kevin...no problem getting the permit. I think that I understood from Chick-on that the forest service has no quotas for Robinson Creek...and maybe others...not sure. Anyway, the permit was never an issue for us.
Re: TR; Twin Lakes - Peeler-Benson-Matterhorn- Horse Creek
July 09, 2015 07:45PM
I think there are quotas for the Sawtooth Ridge area, so it may depend on where you are going via Twin Lakes/Robinson Creek.
avatar Re: TR; Twin Lakes - Peeler-Benson-Matterhorn- Horse Creek
July 09, 2015 08:13PM
The Hoover Wilderness has a quota season, with reservations through the Bridgeport RD, through September 15.
Re: TR: Twin Lakes - Peeler-Benson-Matterhorn- Horse Creek
July 09, 2015 07:48PM
Looks like this was a wonderful trip; I'm bummed that I couldn't make it :-( Thanks for posting the pictures! Question: many of the pictures seem to have a bit of a pink-to-gold cast to them--was this the camera/settings or was there smoke or haze in the air?
avatar Re: TR: Twin Lakes - Peeler-Benson-Matterhorn- Horse Creek
July 12, 2015 12:19PM
Quote
basilbop
Looks like this was a wonderful trip; I'm bummed that I couldn't make it :-( Thanks for posting the pictures! Question: many of the pictures seem to have a bit of a pink-to-gold cast to them--was this the camera/settings or was there smoke or haze in the air?

It is what the world looks like through my rose colored glasses Head roll
Re: TR: Twin Lakes - Peeler-Benson-Matterhorn- Horse Creek
July 10, 2015 11:01AM
This was a really fun trip, good to meet you Steve. smiling smiley Matterhorn Pass and Horse Creek were a lot of fun. That's one of my favorite ways to exit the Sierra. Lots of good memories from that canyon, plus it's good hiking just about back to the trailhead.

No smoke or anything - I think that came from a filter on Steve's camera. Fortunately we were pretty much completely unaffected by any fires.
avatar Re: TR: Twin Lakes - Peeler-Benson-Matterhorn- Horse Creek
July 15, 2015 11:11AM
As always... thanks for the great company...

Truly appreciate it.

Not much I would change really on this trip. Even the bugs. Ok, I would get rid of the bugs...
but... it was that time... and we were prepared...
Def. would make Bearpoof n Andrew hike 20 miles on day 1 agin. Looks easy from here:


Found Stonehenge:


And the Sandbagger near Burro Pass:


Of course would love to have had Z Old Stick N Fedders there too.
Definitely missed him boating Peeler and Benson.
(and helping carry the tent and Sandbaggers Boat)

Thanks!!!!!



Chick-on is looking at you!
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