Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Leavitt Meadows - Labor Day 2010

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We have close friends who have been "camper folks" for most their married life. Since the Lady and I have joined the fold with our FWC/ATC hybrid camper, they have wanted to do a joint trip with us. The long Labor Day weekend was that opportunity. Based on information gleaned from Bill Sunderland's book FlyFishing the Sierra Nevada, we choose the Highway 108 area east of Sonora Pass. Taking off on Friday afternoon we were concerned if any camping spots would be available on a holiday weekend. Leavitt Meadows Campground was our choice as it is right at the trailhead for the Hoover Wilderness. Arriving around 6:30 in the evening we found 4 empty campsites (out of 16) and snagged the one we liked.

Saturday's plan was to hike a couple of miles to the south to some small lakes. As we were starting out we were pleasantly surprised to meet another Wander the West member, pvstoy. They were beginning a three day backpack trip. Very nice surprise!

We took the high trail south that puts us on the ridge top east of Leavitt Meadows and the West Walker River. This gave nice vistas to the east of Pickel Meadows and the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center.

and beautiful Leavitt Meadows to the southwest.

The day turned warm and we turned lazy. deciding to wander and explore around Secret Lake, swim, read and nap.

Actually there is hardly anything more fun than swimming in a cold alpine lake and I must work hard to keep up with the Lady.

We returned to camp late afternoon via the West Walker Trail along the eastern edge of Leavitt Meadows.

Sunday we hiked south into the Hoover Wilderness………………..

…………………..so I could do some fly fishing at Roosevelt Lake

……………….and Lane Lake

In a short time I had caught and released several plump Brook Trout all around a foot long. The Lady and our friends wandered and explored and came back with stories about crawdads. Both lakes have big populations of crawdads and backpackers were catching and boiling them up along with a line of day hikers all equipped with white buckets for taking crawdads back for an evening feast.

Although these close in destinations were busy, it was real nice to see all the family groups with young children backpacking. It gives us hope for the future.

Along the trail in the aspens we found this remarkable piece of penmanship from 1939.

Monday morning we were enjoying our first cup of coffee when the Marines came through on an early morning run. If you visit this area east of Sonora Pass, be aware that Marines can be training throughout this area.

After packing up, we decided to do some sightseeing up Sonora Pass.

On the way back down we stopped at the overlook of Leavitt Falls.

We did see that in the higher areas along 108 east of Sonora Pass there are several areas available for dispersed camping. We will remember these spots for future trips. Although it was a holiday weekend, each night there were 2 or 3 available campsites in the campground.

On the drive home to the north we stopped to see how the West Walker Canyon along Highway 395 is recovering from the New Years 1997 flood event. Huge scars are still evident but it is nice to see the return of some riparian vegetation.

All in all, it was a nice relaxing trip with good friends and fairly close to home - a nice holiday weekend getaway.

1 comment:

  1. Your story reminds me of my days working for Mono County. The Marines back then would dump their old canned sea rations regularly at the dump in Bridgeport. There were no anti-salvaging laws in those days. A Bridgeport based man in my department would pick up as much as he could, distribute them among the rest of us based in other parts of the county.

    I drove an ex-Sheriff department 1973 GMC Jimmy. In the back behind the rear seat I kept a large wooden box in which I kept emergency supplies, including sea rations. The truck had the straight six engine, upon which I learned the fine art of exhaust manifold cooking. There were numerous times that I would be stuck overnight on US395 during white out conditions, or in other parts of the county and couldn’t get home to June Lake due to avalanches (the northern road into town wasn’t there in those days), so a warm meal sitting in my truck was comforting.