Palisades Backpack

Southern California and far-away places. Hiking, wildlife, cycling etc.

Palisades Backpack

Postby Ellen » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:43 pm

Howdy All :)

This was my first time in the Palisades. Shortly after leaving the TH, Marilyn and I were struggling with the weight of the packs, the direct sunlight and the climb. We were relieved to pass First Falls.

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After passing Lon Chaney's cabin, we entered a beautiful, shaded glade.

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The climb became much more pleasant due to the beautiful views and shade. Frequent stopping to gawk and take pictures also helped :wink:

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Once we reached Third Lake, we looked around for a good place to pitch.

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Then it was a matter of hanging out and enjoying the views.

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We wanted to catch the sunset, but the cold temperature and wind drove us into our tents at 7 PM.

The wind blew all night. Marilyn slept well, I didn't. Got up at 6:30 AM and started to heat water for coffee and breakfast. Even with all my clothes on, I was having problems cooking and breaking camp due to the satanic wind. Finally got packed up and were relieved to be climbing and warm. We stopped briefly at the junction to Sam Mack meadow (trail to glacier). We'd heard that it was a post hole nightmare and had opted to continue up to the trail towards Fourth lake. After hiking along the west side of Fourth lake, we headed up towards the junction for Sixth lake and Summit lake. We planned to drop our packs there and try for Sixth lake. Due to snow, we missed the junction.

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Rather than backtracking, we went XC due east and wound up above Summit lake. In retrospect, we determined that we were about halfway to Sixth lake and had reached 11 K.

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After enjoying lunch, we decided to continue XC to Black lake. This required maneuvering around moraine, deadfall, rocky prominences and snow. Occasionally we saw cairns. It was a relief to finally catch a glimpse of Black lake below us. We dropped down a gully and wound up in a slushy meadow to the west of Black lake.

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We'd originally planned to stay at Black Lake on our second night but the diabolic wind convinced us to head down the trail and find a less windy/more protected campsite. On the descent, we were mesmerized by the exquisite lakes below us and the dramatic rocky, snowy sentinels above us.

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We rejoined the North Fork trail (completing the loop) and found a perfect campsite about a mile above Lon Chaney's cabin.

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We pitched, had a leisurely dinner and hit the sack, serenaded by the soothing sound of Big Pine creek. I didn't sleep well but the lack of wind and warmer temperature made our last morning relaxing and enjoyable. We savored the hike out.

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Non-hiking observations: we had a good dinner (night before) and breakfast sandwiches (first morning) at Country kitchen. Ate lunch at the Copper Top barbecue before heading home -- exquisite ribs.

Miles of smiles,
Ellen
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Re: Palisades Backpack

Postby jfr » Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:03 pm

Thanks for the TR, Ellen! Looks beautiful. I'll be heading up that way in a month, so I'm thankful for the beta on current conditions. Glad to see the lakes are already thawed out. Sadly, I'll probably arrive when the mosquitoes come out to play. :cry:
My (collected) trip reports: http://hikingtales.com/
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Re: Palisades Backpack

Postby RichardK » Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:34 am

Thank you for the marvelous pictures, Ellen. The Big Pine lakes area is world class. Go back when the weather is warmer and hike up to Sam Mack Meadow. The beauty is jaw dropping. Sooner or later, the Palisades Glacier will melt. It's worth the effort to see it before it is gone. The trail ends about 1/2 mile before the glacier. It's cross-country over a boulder field.
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Re: Palisades Backpack

Postby Ed » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:17 am

Thanks for the great pictures, Ellen. Surprised there was no mention of other people. Even in the 1970's, the Palisades tended to be swarming with people from Memorial Day weekend on.
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Re: Palisades Backpack

Postby Myth » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:47 am

Oh, the eastern Sierra! It is the country of my heart. ( and the Mojave desert. I love the desert. ). What a nice trip report! Now I want to immediately drop work and go walk in the mountains. I can see the Sierra range from my office window but here I am, at work. :(
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