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Green Lake before the quake

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Green Lake before the quake

Postby balzaccom » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:59 am

Before the earthquake hit our town, we did have a very nice trip up Green Creek this past weekend. This is another nice trailhead on the East side of the Sierra, via the Hoover Wilderness. It's an area we'd been wanting to explore ever since we looked down the canyon from the Virginia Lakes trail and saw lake after lake.

The trail up to Green Lake is a very pleasant stroll up the canyon. Some of it runs alongside Green Creek, and none of it gets too steep. You couldn't ask for a better start to a backpacking trip. And we didn't see anyone at all on the trail on Friday afternoon.

Image

True, the weather was breezy, but that just added to the pleasure of the hike. Once at Green Lake, however, the trail changes entirely. It's a steep climb of about 1,000 feet in about a mile, and while it starts out in broken forest, the last part is through the kind of rough scree that we remembered from Bloody Canyon. And now the wind had picked up even more.

By the time we arrived at West Lake, it was howling, and we spent some time looking for a campsite that might be a little sheltered. There were not many options, but we found one hidden behind both rocks and bushes that cut the wind to a dull roar. And we are not joking about that. At one point we looked up to see if a low flying jet was in the air above us--but no, it was just the wind howling through the trees, and blowing spume off the lake in a cloud. There were whitecaps slapping against the shore, and the tops were getting blown off by the wind.

It was not exactly relaxing, but we did manage to make dinner, and as the wind lessened in the evening, take a stroll along the ridge to see the sights. The photo above is of the small tarn just below West Lake--which seemed to have better fishing than West Lake itself. The wind slowly died down over the course of the night, and the next morning dawned calm and beautiful.

And cold. In fact, we had ice in the water bottle, and a thin film of ice on our tent. You can see that if you look carefully at the photo below. So we took a few extra minutes to get out of our bags and get warmed up before we started the day---hitting the trail at the luxurious hour of about 9 a.m.

Image

We explored round the lake a bit, and then headed back to Green Lake, where we picked up the trail to East Lake, Nutter Lake, and Gilman Lake. Nice hiking. Gradual slopes on the trails, not many people, and perfect weather.

Image

We finally stopped for lunch at Gilman Lake, where we took a small (and very steep) spur use trail down to the outlet. There was barely room to sit down here, but it made for a quiet spot on a lake that most people just hike past.

Image

That's M above, enjoying the view ( and not sitting down!) at the outlet of Gilman Lake.

And then, perhaps because of a premonition about the earthquake, or just a desire to sleep in a bed that night, we hiked back out and drove back to our cabin above Sonora.

But this is a really nice area. We'd like to come back and explore a bit more, do some fishing, and add to our list of memories...

Full photo report here:

https://picasaweb.google.com/balzaccom/ ... ilderness#
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Re: Green Lake before the quake

Postby huynguyen1 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:02 pm

Balzaccom, thanks for the report! I'm planning a 4-day trip to this area for mid-Sept and read somewhere that Gilman Lake is a good camping option because most people pass it by. Your thoughts? We're planning to basecamp at Gilman or some other nice spot, and then bagging Gabbro Peak and exploring the other lakes.

Can you tell if it might be less windy there than at other lakes in the area? In your pic of M standing at the outlet, is that Dunderberg Peak in the distance? Any other thoughts/concerns regarding weather, crowds, etc. for this area at that time of year? Thank you kindly ahead of time for any feedback!
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Re: Green Lake before the quake

Postby dgilman » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:44 pm

I've never been there but can't imagine anything named Gilman being less than awesome.
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Re: Green Lake before the quake

Postby Phil » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:40 pm

I be goin' to d' Gilman Lake. Dat be where dem fish be.

You should go there and make up a convincing tale to tell other hikers about your great, great, great grandfather fighting off hordes of bloodthirsty savages or being forced to eat his boots when he ran out of squirrels. All in the snow, obviously.
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Re: Green Lake before the quake

Postby balzaccom » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:04 pm

We did not see great campsites at Gilman. We had a picnic there, but the lake is down a steep slope below the trail, and just getting down to the water was a bit of an adventure. It can be done, but I wouldn't want to do it three times a day for water.

But all these lakes are pretty close together. I'd just aim at Green Lake, and then wander around until you find what you are looking for. it's beautiful country.
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Re: Green Lake before the quake

Postby huynguyen1 » Tue May 16, 2017 4:10 pm

How popular does this area get in mid-Sept? Also, any tips on the least windy spots at East Lake? Thanks!
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Re: Green Lake before the quake

Postby balzaccom » Wed May 17, 2017 4:58 pm

I think that September would be beautiful...and this is not a high traffic area.

You'll have to find your own campsites....but that's part of the fun of backpacking. If we recommended a spot, it just might lead someone else to claim it first...
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Re: Green Lake before the quake

Postby huynguyen1 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:56 pm

I'll be in this area in a couple of weeks and have been tracking the NOAA weather forecast. Seems like a lot of "slight chance of thunderstorms" and "chance of thunderstorms" forecast this past month and into the next ten days. Should I consider a Plan B if the forecast calls for the same during my planned trip?
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Re: Green Lake before the quake

Postby Grzldvt » Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:14 am

Been quite awhile since I have been on here. My auto detailing business has simply taken off and have had zero time to even get out, let alone post. Was in this area about 15 years ago and really enjoyed it. Had that rugged Eastern Sierra feel to it. Great area for some very cool scenery
Was in early June and we had horrendous winds in the canyon, but it was a total blast. An adventure we will never forget. We could hear the wind coming down the canyon and then it would literally flatten the tents. We were guessing 40-50 mph.
We have always threatened to go back, just hasn't been on the agenda.
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