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Sabrina Basin Trail 31E01 - 2 members in 8 triplogs have rated this an average 5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Sep 14 2018
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 8
 Routes 337
 Photos 5,898
 Triplogs 440

73 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Lake Sabrina Trail to Donkey Lake, CA 
Lake Sabrina Trail to Donkey Lake, CA
 
Hiking avatar Sep 14 2018
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking8.70 Miles 1,690 AEG
Hiking8.70 Miles   9 Hrs   30 Mns   0.92 mph
1,690 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
This was my third trailhead and hike as I worked my way north along HW395 on my tour of the Eastern Sierras. I drove to the area at mid-day on Friday and found campgrounds were filling up. I got the last available spot at the Sabrina Campground which was beneath a power line. The guys across the campground road from me had a nice tent site right on the creek. I told them although they had a scenic campsite, my site had a cell phone charging station on the power pole by the picnic table. They didn't buy it! After setting up camp I walked up to the Lake Sabrina Dam and marina. There was a cold wind blowing down the lake but it didn't stop guys from fishing off the dam. One guy had caught a nice 4-5 lb trout. I was pleasantly surprised to find Lake Sabrina full of water which I didn't expect for this time of year. When I was in the Eastern Sierras at the end of Sept in 2014 South Lake which is the next lake south of Sabrina was so low the boat launch ramp couldn't be used. A guy working at the marina told me water had been held back while work was being done on the outlet.

The next day I started the hike up the Sabrina Basin Trail with the plan to explore past Blue Lake. I soon encountered another hiker headed in the same direction and after some conversation we ended up hiking together up to Blue Lake. He was 78, had been hiking the Eastern Sierras for many years, and left me in the dust when we got to the steep switch backs on the final leg up to Blue Lake. He was turning around at Blue Lake but recommended that I go to Donkey Lake which wasn't much further away. It was a good choice with the trail following a picturesque stream which flowed out of Baboon Lakes into the upper end of Blue Lake. Some off trail scrambling was required to find acceptable viewpoints for taking photos of Donkey Lake but this hike ranked up there with all the other Eastern Sierra Hikes I'd taken in the Fall of 2014 and on this trip. My temporary hiking buddy also highly recommended hiking to Piute Pass which had already been in my tentative plans for the next day and suggested I add Duck Lake out of Mammoth Lakes Basin to my hiking list. That also would turn out to be an excellent recommendation.
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Jul 20 2018
John9L
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 Guides 6
 Routes 170
 Photos 4,848
 Triplogs 1,619

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Sabrina Basin Trail 31E01Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Backpack avatar Jul 20 2018
John9L
Backpack17.51 Miles 3,766 AEG
Backpack17.51 Miles2 Days         
3,766 ft AEG
 
Partners none no partners
This trip came together at the last possible minute and went flawlessly. Chumley told me about a trip he had planned and said I was welcome to join or go do my own thing. I gave this a lot of thought and came up with a list of places I wanted to see. I know the Eastern Sierra fairly well and I can be flexible. The week of the trip came quickly and I had some work issues come up. I couldn't commit to this trip until less than 24 hours before our departure. Everything came together and Chumley and I hit the road on Thursday around noon leaving directly from my work in uptown Phoenix. All the hours (very few) of planning were behind and we were on our way....

Chumley picked up a rental car for this and we pushed it all the way to Lone Pine where we met Scott and everyone else at a solid car camping site. It is called Upper Grays and its off the road to Onion Valley roughly five miles up. I would camp in the exact same site 33 on Saturday night. Anyways, we arrived around 9pm and said hey and got set up while enjoying a cold one. We talked about options and I said I'm heading north for Bishop. I'll stop by the BCO for a permit while the rest of the group heads for Mt Williamson. Everything was sorted out and we turned in for the night.

I woke on Friday morning and said goodbye and headed north for Bishop. It was about 40 miles and I cruised up following some very fast cars (it's a rental!!). I arrived in Bishop and picked up a free walk up permit for Sabrina Lake. I was fifth in line when they opened and several more groups arrived after me. It took about 30 minutes to get my permit and I was on my way. I headed up towards Sabrina. I am very familiar with this area. This is my fifth time returning. I arrived at Sabrina Lake and did a quick drive by and then headed back about a quarter mile to the overnight parking. I packed and finally I'm hiking...

My hike started a little before 10am and I headed in as the trail makes a steady climb. I was starting earlier than I anticipated. I decided to set a base camp by Blue Lake and then explore the upper lakes all afternoon. Rain and thunderstorms are in the forecast but I'm hoping for the best. I headed in and Sabrina Lake is beautiful and was mostly full. The Sierras had a late winter with massive snow arriving in March. The trail makes a solid climb before arriving at Blue Lake a few miles in. Right as I got to Blue Lake a ranger passed by and we chatted and she checked my permit. I'm always glad to have it checked, especially since it was free. I continued on and selected an established site on the SW side of the lake. This site has a fire ring even though fires are not permitted. I will not be having a fire. I set up camp and then loaded up my day pack and I was off.

I initially returned the way I came but I detoured to the NW for the trail heading towards Midnight Lake / Hungry Packer Lake. I've been to Blue Lake before but didn't have time to explore these other lakes. I was excited to return. This is an amazing area and all of the trails are in excellent condition. I headed up and moved quickly. Along the way I had to cross a creek via a series of boulders forming a bridge. I love stuff like this as I skipped across. Surprisingly, I kept my feet dry. As I neared Midnight Lake, some dark clouds started to move in. I had a good feeling I'm in for some rain. That I don't mind. I don't like when its accompanied by lightning. I wanted to try an off trail route to Blue Heaven Lake but decided to hold off until I get a better sense on what the weather will do.

I finally arrive at Midnight Lake and took a break to eat some snacks. Midnight is a sweet little lake surrounded by massive walls. It was very picturesque. After a few minutes I decided to head for Hungry Packer. The clouds were even darker and I knew rain was close. I had to hike back roughly a half mile before detouring for Hungry Packer. A moderate rain started falling a few minutes later. I put rain gear on and kept going. A few more minutes and I hear thunder. I start to slow my pace and question if this is a good idea. I decide to keep going and a moment later there's a bright flash and the report follows a few seconds later. I stop cold in my tracks. I think it over and decided to hold tight where I am. I'm hoping the storm will pass and I can keep ascending. I take shelter in a grove of trees and I feel mostly comfortable. The trees are helping with the rain and thunder / lightning "only" hit every 3-5 minutes. Every hit is within 3-7 seconds. I sit for almost 45-60 minutes, which is a long time for me. I'm getting cold and it seems like the rain is falling harder. I decide it's in my best interest to return to camp at lower elevation.

With a solid rain and sporadic lightning I high tail it back for camp. I had about three miles to go so it took some time. I crossed back over the rock bridge and continued down. The weather look good straight ahead to the east but was still very dark & angry behind me. Over the course of the few miles the rain eased and it seemed the lightning was occurring less frequently. After an hour or so I got back to my camp and it's a light drizzle at this point and only 4pm or so. I decide to do a couple more miles and headed up for Baboon Lakes. This is another lake I haven't visited yet. The trail makes a steady climb and takes some work. You have to follow cairns near the top and you actually top out about 200 hundred feet above the lake. I have to say this view is spectacular! Baboon Lakes is a murky blueish-green and is partly surrounded by jagged peaks. I admired this view for several minutes and decided I've had my fill so I returned back to camp next to Blue Lake.

Once back at camp, it was roughly 5:30pm and I was beat so I laid down for an hour or so. There was a light drizzle and I didn't want to be in the rain. It finally stopped a little before 7pm so I got out of my tent and filtered water and started boiling water for my dinner. During this time, I'm being eaten alive by heavy mosquitoes. I brought a head net but they were still annoying. I pretty much ate dinner and climbed into my tent as night settled in. I believe it was around 8:20pm. I hung out in my tent and listened to music and read and turned in about 10pm.

I woke around 6:30am and had breakfast and thought of my options. I could head back to the upper lakes or I could bail completely and then drive over to South Lake to explore that area as a day hike. I have never hiked over there so I decided to go with that plan. I packed up and was on trail around 7:30am. The car was only four miles away so I made quick work of my exit. I was bummed I missed out on some of the harder to reach lakes like Blue Heaven and Echo Lake but I was excited to see the lakes off South Lake. I arrived back to the car around 9am and then had breakfast at the boat house and then made the drive over to South Lake.



The Sabrina Lake Basin will always be special to me! I made my first Eastern Sierras hike here six years ago and I was really excited to return. I looked at it differently this trip. After all my time in the Sierras, it's just not the same as that magical first visit. Don't get me wrong, I had a wonderful time and I'm glad I went. I just wish I had better weather and could have explored more. I'm not sure I'll get another chance anytime soon. I highly recommend this area, especially as a 2-3 day backpack. There is lots to explore. You won't be disappointed.
Culture
Culture
Campsite HAZ - Selfie
Named place
Named place
Blue Lake
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2 archives
Jun 08 2018
Tim
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 Guides 10
 Triplogs 369

58 male
 Joined Feb 25 2002
 Scottsdale
Blue Lake Trail, CA 
Blue Lake Trail, CA
 
Hiking avatar Jun 08 2018
Tim
Hiking6.10 Miles 1,450 AEG
Hiking6.10 Miles   3 Hrs   40 Mns   1.66 mph
1,450 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
This trail starts at Sabrina Lake and climbs up to Blue Lake. 6.1 miles with 1,450 fee of AEG in 3 hours and 40 minutes. 2:10 going up and 1:30 coming down.
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Jun 07 2018
Tim
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 Guides 10
 Triplogs 369

58 male
 Joined Feb 25 2002
 Scottsdale
Sabrina Basin Trail 31E01Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 07 2018
Tim
Hiking2.25 Miles 110 AEG
Hiking2.25 Miles   1 Hour   50 Mns   1.23 mph
110 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I actually hiked the fishing trail on the west side of Sabrina Lake out and back. 2.25 miles with 110 of AEG in 1 hour and 50 minutes.
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Sep 11 2016
trekkin_gecko
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 Guides 5
 Routes 343
 Photos 4,106
 Triplogs 2,607

61 female
 Joined Nov 17 2008
 phoenix, az
Hungry Packer Moonlight & Midnight Lakes, CA 
Hungry Packer Moonlight & Midnight Lakes, CA
 
Hiking avatar Sep 11 2016
trekkin_gecko
Hiking15.00 Miles 3,039 AEG
Hiking15.00 Miles   7 Hrs   52 Mns   2.28 mph
3,039 ft AEG   1 Hour   18 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
johnlp
Tortoise_Hiker
sunday's hike began at sabrina lake trailhead
a steady climb on sabrina basin trail took us along and above sabrina lake
we stopped at blue lake and dingleberry lake on the way
up higher, several creek crossings and an easier grade through aspen, pine, meadows and granite boulders
took a nice break at hungry packer lake
went off trail to moonlight lake, backtracked and made a visit to midnight lake
by this time, we could see clouds building, and even got a few sprinkles
stayed just ahead of any storms on the way back
skies cleared but the wind picked up
we drove into bishop for burgers and the first half of the cardinals game
good longer hike through beautiful terrain
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Sep 11 2016
Tortoise_Hiker
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 Routes 78
 Photos 7,233
 Triplogs 2,565

58 male
 Joined Apr 02 2005
 Mesa, AZ
Hungry Packer Moonlight & Midnight Lakes, CA 
Hungry Packer Moonlight & Midnight Lakes, CA
 
Hiking avatar Sep 11 2016
Tortoise_Hiker
Hiking15.00 Miles 3,039 AEG
Hiking15.00 Miles   7 Hrs   52 Mns   1.91 mph
3,039 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
johnlp
trekkin_gecko
This is another hike out of my Sierra book. It says it's fourteen out and back to Hungry Packer Lake. That was our plan today. From there we would see if we felt like any side trips. The book gives it a 9 for scenery and 4 for solitude.The scenery was great and we did see a fair amount of people. I can see why, this is a cool area with a little less aeg. I agree with johnlp. You could set up a base camp at Blue Lake and do lots of exploring in the area. The terrain on this hike had a great variety and kept your exploring side intrigued the whole time. The trail was pretty easy to follow and in pretty good shape. Blue Lake looks like the place to camp and we saw a few people camped there. Looked like a good place to swim (temperature willing), fish, filter, or just hang out. From there you pass a few lakes with interested names like Dingleberry, Topsy Turvy, and Sailor. Maybe not quite as scenic as the bigger ones but there really are no bad ones :) . On to Hungry Packer :D . It's these higher lakes with the Peaks in the background that wow you :o . We took a break here and the clouds starting building. Now to decide on side trips. There is no slowing our fearless leader (LP) down. He found a use trail to Moonlight Lake better than anticipated so we went for it. It turned to rock slabs and boulders so it got harder to follow. You can kind of see where a lake might be and work your way over. Cool one. From there it was back to the main trail and then the Midnight Lake junction. Lets do it! John led the way and we were there in no time 8) . The clouds were still building so we didn't stay long. We got a few drops of ice but never had to put on the rain coats. The clouds seem to like the higher lakes and we were good by the time we hit Blue Lake. A little cold for LP to swim but we filtered and got a break in. From there we cruised on back to the car and drove back to base camp. We had time to put on our Sunday best 8-[ and head to Bishop. Kelly treated us to a nice meal :thanx: and half a Cardinals game ](*,) . Good Times! :y:
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Tortoise Hiking. Stop and smell the Petrichor.
2 archives
Sep 11 2016
johnlp
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 Guides 1
 Routes 9
 Photos 4,169
 Triplogs 3,240

62 male
 Joined Mar 16 2008
 chandler,az
Hungry Packer Moonlight & Midnight Lakes, CA 
Hungry Packer Moonlight & Midnight Lakes, CA
 
Hiking avatar Sep 11 2016
johnlp
Hiking15.00 Miles 3,039 AEG
Hiking15.00 Miles   7 Hrs   52 Mns   2.28 mph
3,039 ft AEG   1 Hour   18 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
Tortoise_Hiker
trekkin_gecko
This hike starts at Lake Sabrina, passing a handful of beautiful lakes on the way to Hungry Packer Lake situated above 11,000 ft. We also hit Moonlight and Midnight Lakes om the return hike. Magnificent scenery. Good trails. Great company. :)
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Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
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“Good people drink good beer.” Hunter S Thompson
Jun 24 2012
John9L
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 Guides 6
 Routes 170
 Photos 4,848
 Triplogs 1,619

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Sabrina Basin Trail 31E01Sierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 24 2012
John9L
Hiking9.35 Miles 2,528 AEG
Hiking9.35 Miles
2,528 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
On our way to Yosemite, Cheryl and I stopped in Bishop, Ca to stay with her Aunt and Uncle. We've been to Bishop before and were able to take a peek at some of the eastern Sierra. What I saw left me thirsting for more so I made a point to make a short hike into the range on this trip.

I arrived at Lake Sabrina around 7am. The lake sits at roughly 9,000 feet. I came up with a general plan and set off up the trail. The first mile parallels the east side of the lake. From there the trail switches back as you start gaining elevation for the next 1.5 miles. Things level off and I arrived at Blue Lake. Blue Lake sits at over 10,000 feet and is surrounded by scenic mountains that are picture perfect. I followed the trail as it paralleled the lake and saw two backpackers pumping some water from the lake. They would be the only two people I see on the way in. I took pics and continued on.

From Blue Lake, there are a few different routes to follow that lead to a variety of lakes. I chose to continue south to Donkey Lake which was another mile away. Donkey Lake is another picture perfect location. I worked my way over to lake and wound up at a perfect cliff jumping spot. I would guess the drop at 15 feet and you could tell the water was deep. I didn't dare jump in because the water was freezing! I had my lunch at the lake and enjoyed the scenery. I was the only one up there.

After spending time at Donkey Lake, I explored the area and the creek as I worked my way back to Blue Lake. It was nice taking my time and looking for the perfect view. I could spend days up here! I eventually arrived back at Blue Lake and then returned down the trail. On the way down, there were a bunch of groups with around 30 people heading in. Most were backpackers. I was glad I got the early start.

On a side note, I am going to return for a multi-day backpack. The Sierras are amazing! Every summer for the rest of my life :D
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average hiking speed 1.71 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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