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Re: TR - last of the season

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TR - last of the season
November 01, 2017 09:45AM
Since it is a bit slow here, thought I would entertain the forum/ bore you with our final backpacking trip of the 2017 season - another great fishing trip through northern Yosemite.

Working at the Tuolumne store after Labor Day still, the hiking crowds there had dwindled - maybe schools being open was the cause. Anyway, on a rare day off - September 7th, drove down to Lee Vining for groceries and cigs (no tobacco products sold at the TM store), and happened to call up my long-time hiking companion Mike...just to see what was going on. His first words, "You ready?" It seems that he had made plans for us, another grand adventure, and had emailed me the itinerary a month earlier...but since there was no phone/ wifi service up in the Meadows all summer, I did not receive any prior notice from my good friend - the OldRanger.

"We are leaving on the 11th...three days from now...you packed up yet?" All I really had to ask him was - "How many days?" as have done many past trips with the old goat before...his reply - "14." Immediately, turning the Jeep tires towards Mammoth Lakes, made a quick stop at Von's...Beef Jerky, Pop Tarts, etc. FYI, Mike does all the dinner planning and buying (I just repay him my share), and then am only responsible for my own breakfasts and lunches. Back in TM soon enough, I gave my end of season notice...the 10th was to be my season's last shift at the TM store.

On the 11th, met up with him at Ken's Sporting Goods in Bridgeport (got a fresh re-spool) and proceeded to follow him up to Twin Lakes where we dropped off my car. BTW, they charge you $10 a week for a safe (and dry?) place to park up there...$20.

Next morning, at dawn, drove up to the Virginia Lakes Pack Station (left Mike's car here), where the plan was to be "spot packed" in - a good 10 miles on horseback/mule and then dropped off somewhere with our full packs to begin the hiking part of this trip. (My share was $300 + tip for the spot pack.) Mike and the drover rode horses, (Mike looked a little like Lil Joe in Bonanza)...and there was one mule holding both our backpacks. They gave me this giant mule - "Beau" to ride up on...sure footed yes but slow as dirt...both the drover, and Mike having to wait patiently every half mile or so for Beau to catch up to the rest of he group. "Kick him...Show him who is boss!" was the drover's response. I honestly tried but after a few failed but painful attempts, old Beau just turned his head around and looked me square in the eye...(gave me the Ol' Stinkeye)...turns out Beau was the one in charge after all... I left him alone the rest of the trip. 6+ hours later, not as far as wanted, but after passing 4 lakes, (Summit last) my butt now sore, we were finally able to get off the stock to began the hike in Virginia Canyon. (See a Yosemite TOPO to follow along!)

First stop was Cigar Lake (un-named on the Yosemite TOPO but just E of Miller Lake) where Brooks and 'Bows awaited us...also a half hour hail storm...good times!

Two more days later (up Wilson Canyon) and x-country, we arrived at Tahlulah Lake - our home for the next two nights. The fishing there was slow but eventful - only caught 4 fish - (looked like Cuts, but could have been 'Bows)... but two were of note - a 18" and a 21"...the fat 18" was our dinner that night.

Next, more x-country travel eventually led us down, skirting Sister Lake, to meet the trail again just above Smedberg, but as both of us had been there previously, we just kept on walking... up to Rodgers for the next few nights. Being late in the season, the fish there were hungry...interesting that most strikes gotten (40+ that day) were all in quite shallow water, and maybe 10 feet from the shore...bugs? BTW, Rodgers holds a zillion cookie cutter 'Bows - all in the 10 - 14 inch range. I was throwing a 3/8 Z-Ray lure and the hits just kept on coming.

Two days passed, packs on again, we followed the trail down to Benson Lake. FYI, both of us carried one-man rafts (myself, a Klymit LWD with a kayak paddle) and because the shore line here is mostly inaccessible, the major plan for this trip had been to raft-fish the backside of the giant lake...previously unexplored. However, on that first night there, the first snow storm of the season arrived - 12" of fresh snow fell...(more again the next night too)...20ยบ at sunset...(we were thus destined to be stuck here for a few days...and we were still 20+ miles away from the car.) Both of us are experienced, have great/proven gear... we did not panic - just hunkered down for 4 days, waiting for the snow to melt off - BTW, It didn't. We never did get to use our rafts as the high winds and the bitter cold made us reconsider that idea. We did catch lots of 'Bows from the winter shoreline...good dinners too but as the snow lingered...a lot of tent time was had just trying to stay /staying warm. Thank God for my WM Badger.

Over Seavey Pass, through Kerrick Meadows...two days more put us at Peeler Lake, where it turns out it was even colder still. Through a blanket of white, icy trails and sleet were the norm going down. I hit Twin lakes early that afternoon and found my car, once parked dry now surrounded by a frozen pond. Mike arrived down maybe an hour later. We drove back to get his car at the pack station and were met by the same drover that had dropped us off initially a few weeks before (now getting ready to close the pack station for the season) who was amazed that we lasted out all the intended trip... with big smiles.
All in all, maybe a bit colder than expected but a great fishing trip none-the-less. Bottom line - 15 days (one more than planned) - great gear usage, and as usual w/ Mike - fantastic fishing.



mountain man who swims with trout
avatar Re: TR - last of the season
November 21, 2017 07:09AM
Cool. We were in TM when/during that storm. Stayed in White Wolf for a couple of days.
Hiked up Lembert. Had to ourselves. Road was closed, open, closed. Olmsted was
pure joy having to only ourselves. Night and day once the road opened.
Then goofed around Murphy and May backpacking. Snow was melting fast cept
on certain slopes.

Would love to see some of Seavey and Kerrick. Must have been gorgeous.

Really think Cigar (really?) is prettier than Miller. Though Miller is a special place
for a number of reasons for me.

Anyway, Tanks fur Sharon



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: TR - last of the season
November 21, 2017 07:51AM
We went to Cigar as Mike had been there previously and had some Lunker success...walked on by Miller...both worthwhile. BTW, pictures can be found -
http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=17122
You do have to log in to see them though if interested.
Mark
avatar Re: TR - last of the season
November 22, 2017 06:59AM
Ok. Cool. Took a lookie.

We camped at LITERALLY the same spot at Benson in August...

Maybe you'll like this...





Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: TR - last of the season
November 23, 2017 08:36AM
Nice high shot above Rodgers...thanks!
BTW, fished all around the bottom right section of the lake...On that day, far right cove area proved most productive. tongue sticking out smiley
Taut lines!
Mark
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