Numbered lakes...

12:22 a.m. on February 28, 2018 (EST)
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This is sort of a blonde moment, maybe geriatric moment, but I have been searching for a few days now for this information.  A few years ago I was looking for a hike and found something in either Idaho or California.  There were these lakes that only had numbers for names.  The higher the number (like maybe 7) was the furthest from the trailhead.  Also, higher in elevation, and probably with less traffic the further in, etc.  They really intrigued me and I would like to check into them again.  Any hints?

Last year I had a hike planned that involved Ediza Lake, Garnet Lake, Thousand Island Lake in CA.  But I broke my leg a few weeks before the hike.  It's taken me awhile to come back and was considering this hike again this year.  But I have other family obligations that are inhibiting my time frames as to what is still available for entrance dates to the Ansel Adams Wilderness.  I am flying in from Ohio, so I feel a need for definite entrance dates as opposed to walk in dates.  

There is also the possibility of a Vancouver Island backpacking trip instead, so I guess I am looking for possible hikes there?

Any info would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks so much, Donna

2:28 a.m. on February 28, 2018 (EST)
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Big Pine Lakes is in the North Palisades of the Sierra.  These lakes certainly fit that description very well, as it has seven numbered lakes.  It's a slog but very pretty.  If you decide to go there PM me and I'll share a day hike from the upper lakes accessing a vista that will blow you away. The principal nearby town is Big Pine.

Cottonwood Lakes is another Sierra possibility, but the numbered lakes in that watershed are five or six, depending on which conflicting map source is referenced.  It's an easier hike, and crowded at a few of the lakes due to popularity.  The principal nearby town is Lone Pine.



7:51 a.m. on February 28, 2018 (EST)
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You may have found this already Donna, but if not, this blog post has a quick snapshot of 7 Vancouver Island backpacking options. Some are more rugged than others so you can choose the level of challenge you are aiming for. It should give you a place to start your research. Frau Stranger was living there when we met and it is on our list of places to consider living in the future. Lots of pretty country to explore!

9:36 a.m. on February 28, 2018 (EST)
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I am familiar with unnamed lakes that are identified by their altitude (such as "Lake 10,245") but not with numbers like 7. 

12:04 p.m. on February 28, 2018 (EST)
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Thanks! The Big Pine Lakes area is exactly the one I couldn't remember. It's the loop pretty tough? 

3:54 a.m. on March 3, 2018 (EST)
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The hike to Big Pine Lake #7 is usually done as an up and back affair, via the "lower" trail.  The loop option, which adds visits to Summit and Black Lakes, is about the same amount of effort, but IMO not as scenic and definitely more exposed to wind and sun.  I assume that is the loop you refer to.

There is another loop, a tour that visits the aforementioned Big Pine lakes situated in the North Palisades Basin, and  Baker Lakes, located in the adjacent basin to the north.  Both of these trails share a common trailhead.  This is a trek only the very fit should consider.  Both basins have trails to high lakes.  One makes this a loop by joining the end of the North Palisades trail with the Baker Creek trail, by doing a 2½ mile XC climb over the pass separating Big Pine Lake #7 from Thunder And Lightning Lake, which is the highest lake in the Baker Creek drainage.  The climb to the pass from trails on either side is ~1600' of steep, but nontechnical, cinder block size, scree on both sides.  It is a great trek, one I've used often to shake down perspective candidates to join me on more ambitious winter ski tours as well as summer XC treks.  

The 2800' altitude gain on the 7 mile walk to Big Pine Creek Lake #7 @11000' is a good milestone for most hikers; doing the Baker/North Palisade basin loop with that pass at 12600' is more fun than most folks are willing to bear.DSCN0270.jpgMoi, at the base of the north side of the pass between Baker Creek basin and North Palisades Basin.  Snow sometimes lingers well into the summer - this pic was taken in late July. In fact Thunder And Lighting Lake still had partial Ice cover.
DSCN0273a.jpgLooking SE at North Palisades Basin from the top of the pass.  Temple Crag is the dark massif on the horizon at the center of the picture.  Mt. Sill (ele 14,153') and North Palisade (ele 14,248') are the high points on the right side of the frame. Lakes #5, #6, and #7 of the Big Pine Lakes prominent along the valley floor. BTW: the view from that day hike I mentioned previously is way more awesome than this overlook!



1:16 a.m. on March 6, 2018 (EST)
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Thanks so much for all responses!  I am really looking at the Big Pine Creek trail area as a possible hike this year.  I booked an entrance date of Sept 5.  I would love to hear any and all experiences with this area.  As well as recommendations or tips.  One thing that sort of bothers me (well maybe more than *sort of* is trails that are narrow and right there down to the edge of the trail is a huge drop-off down into the abyss.  Does this happen on this trail?  How often?  

The other hike that I had planned but might not be able to to do because of available entrance dates is a hike from Agnew Meadows to Ediza Lake and then to Garnet and then up to Thousand Islands Lake.  

I guess I am wondering if anyone could just actually suggest any particular hikes in the Sierra Nevadas that just might knock my socks off as well as make me feel relatively safe.  I have some family obligations that are limiting my availability on entrance dates, as well as what is left...

Great views.  Lakes.  Not too scary trail.  That's my agenda.   Not too terribly fearful of elevation gains, but am open to suggestions that this just might not be what I'm after advice as well...

I like solitude but don't mind it if there are other people on the trail as long as I am not fighting for a campsite, etc.  Thanks again everyone.  ~~Donna

1:18 a.m. on March 7, 2018 (EST)
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The hike to Big Pine Lakes has a small section - maybe 100 yards - where the trail parallels above the creek up through a rock cut north of Lake #1, perhaps 50' above the creek.  If you have a big time problem with exposure it may bother you.  Fortunately the trail is wide enough that equestrian traffic is permitted.

Alternatives venues?  There are so many.  Most venues along the Eastern Sierra will have you camping above 9000', but most trails are well graded below 11,000'.  Just take your time.  Anything up the Bishop Creek drainages are good, but the quotas fill fast.  Cottonwood Lakes are another very pretty/popular venue.  If you have the juice, you can bag the long but pleasant walk from the Cottonwood Lakes to the summit of Mt Langley, the second highest peak in the lower 48.  (And a lot less crowded/popular than Mt. Whitney.)  Other good trips are Golden Trout Lakes, out of Onion Valley, and Hilton Lake out of Rock Creek.  Trails out of Virginia Lakes, and Green Creek just to the north, are scenic and may be easier to get a permit, as both are far north from LA and far east from the San Francisco crowds.  Avoid the crowds by getting off the main trails.  I can go to all of these places when they are crawling with campers, and camp at lakes with few human encounters, merely by going XC to locations off trail.  Ask the rangers where everyone camps, then choose other lakes/places in the area.


October 20, 2019
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