Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
 
 
 

Amazon.com
Backpacking Forums
---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store
 
 WINTER CAMPING 

Shelters
Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen

 SNOWSPORTS 

Snowshoes
Avalanche Gear
Skins
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters
Accessories

 ULTRA-LIGHT 

Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel


the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags

 CAMPING & HIKING 

Backpacks
Tents
Sleeping Bags
Hydration
Kitchen
Accessories

 CLIMBING 

Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial

 MEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 WOMEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 FOOTWEAR 

Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear

 CLEARANCE 

Backpacks
Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel
Climbing
Footwear
Accessories

 BRANDS 

Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva
Osprey
Smartwool

 WAYS TO SHOP 

Sale
Clearance
Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Shelters
BackPacks
Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment
Kitchen
Hydration
Climbing


 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#203346 - 08/17/19 11:36 PM Sabrina Lake Basin
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1954
Loc: Napa, CA
With only a few more days before school starts, we wanted to get one last trip into the Sierra, and headed for Sabrina Basin.

We'd hiked out of both North Lake and South Lake, so this was the last of the three trailheads for us to explore. Day One: It was a long drive from Napa over Echo Summit and Monitor Pass to the Mono Lake Ranger Station, where we got our permit at about 1 p.m. There were still plenty of spaces available for both Monday and Tuesday, so we felt sure that it wouldn't be too crowded.

After a quick bite at the Lee Vining Mobil Station, we drove down to Bishop to buy a few last minute supplies (a dinner for that night, a hair clip for M, and an extra bottle of Advil for our aching bones) and set up camp in the Sabrina Lake Campground. There were still places available here at 5 p.m. and we took a short walk around the area and settled in to an early night.

Day Two: We packed up and parked Le Vin Blanc on the road right outside the campground, then hit the trail by 9 a.m. Fishermen were already on the lake as we slowly climbed up past the trail to Lake George and onwards to Blue Lake. We got there in time for an early lunch, and probably should have taken a short rest at that point. But we didn't.

The mosquitoes were not too bad in the middle of the afternoon, and we pushed on past Emerald Lakes to Dingleberry Lake. There were a few campers on the granite ledges above the South end of the lake, and we half-heartedly looked for a campsite on the North end. But that was pretty rugged terrain. We wandered along the creek beyond the lake, and finally settled on a campsite overlooking the two fords of the creek: one for hikers, one for stock. It was a pretty spot, with shade in the afternoon for our nap, and nice views all the way around.

We set up camp, napped, fished, rested, and generally felt a bit worn out after only five miles of hiking. But that comes with age, we suppose. That night the mosquitoes made their presence known in spades, and we turned in early to escape them. Still, it was lovely country, and the weather was perfect: warm in the sun, cool in the shade.

Day Three; instead of packing up, we left our camp set up and day-hiked up to the lakes above. After fording the creek, we ran into a wilderness ranger doing trail work. In addition to sharing our experiences working on trails, we got our permit checked and had a nice chat.

On our permit we had initially named Topsy-Turvy Lake as our destination, but we were happy with our campsite at the fords. And when we saw Topsy Turvy Lake, we were even happier with our decision. While it was beautiful, there didn't seem to be many campsites at Topsy Turvy amid the vast fields of talus--although there might have been a few above the lake on the South side--and they would have been very exposed. We like shade.

From there we continued on to Sailor Lake, and then topped out at Hungry Packer Lake, which had apparently earned the name Hungry Mosquito Lake this year. The bugs were absolutely fierce. We were hiking in headnets and DEET, and it really helped to keep moving! Which we did. Lots of people camped around here, by the way. We hiked cross-country over to Moonlight Lake and had a nice rest and snack sitting among the huge talus blocks above that lake. Then we continued down the granite slabs to Sailor Lake again, and back down to our camp.

It was interesting that the ford, which was about 75 feet long over a long string of rocks, was drier later in the day, and wetter earlier in the day. Clearly the snowmelt was taking twelve hours to get down the creek to the ford. After lunch and a nap, we decided we'd explore Dingleberry Lake some more. While much of the shoreline was rugged, we did manage to find a route down from the trail to the North end of the lake, where there was a lovely pool, and a series of campsites further out above the canyon beyond the outlet stream. This would make a nice base camp, and it seemed to get little traffic.

Back at camp that night, we dodged and swatted the bugs, ate our dinner, and again headed to the tent just about dusk, leaving the field to the pesky mosquitoes.

Day Four: We'd heard that Donkey Lake had fewer mosquitoes, and since that was also on our itinerary, we headed there next. The trail back down to Blue Lake is really beautiful, and we enjoyed it much more in this direction. Once at the junction, we took the trail towards Donkey Lake, and were surprised to see a second junction only 1/4 mile later to Baboon Lakes. On our topo map, and on the Tom Harrison map, this junction is much higher up, right where the trail crosses the creek. Hmmm. Oh well. Nothing like confusion!

We continued on to Donkey Lake, absolutely loving the scenery of the creek as we followed it up the canyon past pools, cascades and rapids. And Donkey Lake was charming. We set up camp and went to explore a bit, doing some fishing, filtering water, and getting a feel for the place. The lake was so clear and there were so many trout on the surface that at times it looked like an aquarium. After lunch and our usual nap, we headed back down the hill 1/2 mile to pick up the trail that was shown on our maps to Baboon Lakes.

What a bushwhack! We followed cairns and blazes; struggled, clambered, and finally found a section of trail that looked reasonable. After about an hour, and at least one conversation about turning around, we topped out on the crest of a ridge, and there was Baboon Lake. Spectacular! We wandered around the lake for quite a while before exploring different routes down. We could not believe that was the only trail!

But as we explored, we found an easier down to the trail, and as I watched our progress and took in our surroundings, I suddenly exclaimed: "Donkey Lake is right over there!" I was right. It was just 75 yards from where we had found the first real section of cairns to follow...and the whole first part of our hike up to Baboon Lakes had been a complicated and unnecessary circle.

For those who are interested, if you find the small round pond just West of Donkey Lake, you can follow a series of cairns southwest up that ridge, over into the next chute, and at the top of that chute the cairns will lead you into the main chute that takes you up to Baboon Lakes. It's steep, but passable and clearly marked. And while it took us just over an hour to get up to the lakes, it took us only 25 minutes to get down, once we understood the geography.

(BTW, the other, signed trail to Baboon Lakes from near Blue Lake must take a very different route---but we never saw it, even though we looked for that trail up at the lake itself. We assume that it stays west of the creek the whole way up...)

Great fishing that afternoon in Donkey Lake for brookies and rainbows from 6-10 inches long...and almost non-stop action. That evening we fought the bugs one last time, finally giving up around 8 o'clock to get into the tent.

Day Five: It's always easier downhill, unless the steps are really tall. So we were back at the trailhead by eleven a.m., knees a bit sore from all the steps, but happy enough with a really magical trip. We drove into Bishop, grabbed a bite to eat at the Burger Barn, and then drove back to our cabin above Sonora in time for fresh salad, sushi, and showers. What a great trip.

The full photo report is here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/bZbDv9vXvaMXsita9
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

Top
#203352 - 08/19/19 05:25 PM Re: Sabrina Lake Basin [Re: balzaccom]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 1004
Loc: Torrance, CA
Thank you for the trip report. I've been looking to go down that trailhead sometime. It was nice to follow your hike on CalTopo. I can see the loop you made by Donkey Lake. Do you contend the best camping was by Dingleberry lake, or did you see nicer stuff by Donkey or Baboon Lake?

Top
#204087 - 02/12/20 10:35 AM Re: Sabrina Lake Basin [Re: balzaccom]
billfish3r Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/10/20
Posts: 1
Loc: New Jersey
Amazing! It sounds like you had quite the adventure. I've been wanting to fish near the area. I even bought an Abu Garcia Revo SX baitcasting reel a few months ago but I just couldnt find the time. But reading your story makes me want to pack up my bags and head out to the wilderness. I'm going to do it next week and I can finally get to try one of the best baitcasting reel.

Top

Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
 
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
 
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Lightweight synthetic sleeping bag
by Rotem
02/10/20 04:04 PM
Solo Tent
by Jim M
02/05/20 12:12 AM
Sleeping System Overhaul Recs
by Cal_Hawkeye
02/03/20 03:39 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
How Do You Cope During Long Periods of No Hiking?
by JerrySC13
02/11/20 06:33 PM
Do You Bring Booze on your Backpacking Trips?
by Ian Campbell
08/09/16 05:49 PM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Featured Photos
Breakneck Ridge, New York
May 2012 Eclipse, Lassen Park
New Years Eve 2011
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
0 registered (), 38 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
GulfCoast, Rotem, billfish3r, Paddler Al, Acetabulum
12827 Registered Users
Forum Links
Disclaimer
Policies
Site Links
Backpacking.net
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Our long-time Sponsor, BackcountryGear.com - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum
 
 

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum