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Bishop Pass Trail - South Lake
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mini location map2014-10-06
28 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Bishop Pass Trail - South LakeSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Oct 06 2014
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking11.70 Miles 2,556 AEG
Hiking11.70 Miles   9 Hrs   54 Mns   1.18 mph
2,556 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The drive up to the trail head at South Lake was as beautiful as any of the hikes I'd been on this week. The Aspens were in full color and made for some remarkable scenery. I checked out the trail head on my resting/driving day Sunday and talked to a couple just returning from a loop hike around Chocolate Mtn. I asked them about distance to Bishop Pass - the lady was very informative. She knew the distance and altitude gain and highly recommended the hike. This hike would take me to the highest elevation (12000 ft) I have ever hiked. I tend to run out of gas above 10000 ft but after a week of hiking to these altitudes I was ready for it. I camped that night and the next at the Four Jeffrey CG. Camp grounds closer to the trail head were closed for the season. It is a huge camp ground with heaters in the bathrooms and flush toilets. However the stingy campground hostess hadn't turned on the heaters yet so no warm potty in the morning. There were only two other sites occupied in my section of the CG.

The hike starts climbing almost immediately after leaving the trail head and only levels out for a short distance while passing Long Lake. South Lake at the trail head was quite low and the boat ramp was closed. The first two miles is through heavy forest but reaches a granite topped point at about 1.5 miles which gives good views of the surrounding mountains and Hurd Lake in the canyon below. At 2.2 miles you come to Long Lake and the lake views start coming one after the next.

At about this point I passed a young solo back packer on his way out. He seemed in a hurry and made only a brief greeting as he passed. About a mile further up the trail I encountered a solo young lady backpacker. She inquired if I had seen another backpacker ahead of her on the trail and described the guy I had seen previously. She was concerned about how far she was getting behind. She was an attractive young lady of sweet disposition and in my opinion the guy was obviously a real :pk: for leaving her that far behind. I told her not to worry, but "If I was him, I certainly wouldn't leave you behind!" She smiled sweetly, thanked me and started on her way no doubt at a faster pace to put some distance between her and this old weirdo.

Once past Bishop Lake the trail starts to switch back straight up a very steep boulder strewn hillside to the pass. I stopped to talk to a solo backpacker on his way out. He was one of those guys close to my age who said he had hiked out of every trail head on the eastern side of the Sierras over his many years. He highly recommended that I keep going past Bishop Pass a "short" distance for great views of a basin and the Palisade Mtn Peaks. I was getting close to my turn around time for making it back to the TH before sundown but decided to take his advice. I made it to what I thought was his recommended destination to discover that the location for the great view of Dusy Basin was still much lower and another mile or two. That was it for me, I turned around and started the long trek back to the trail head which was thankfully all down hill. I got to the TH parking lot as it turned dark.
Fauna
Fauna
Golden Trout
Meteorology
Meteorology
Autumn - Color Foliage
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
The Aspens were in full color on the drive up to the trail head at South Lake.
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