Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 19.14216°N / 100.62094°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Sep 1, 2013
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Summer

But still awesome anyway

Taking advantage of the long weekend over Labor Day I sucked it up to go wade thru the crowds of tourists in the Sierra Nevada. Cuz I, of course, am a purist, and one of the few. *rolly-eye-emoticon* My impatience to get boots to earth went thru the roof as I caught first sight of the Sierra Nevada from hwy 136 out of Death Valley. Steady, puffy cloud cover hovering just over there crest as far as the eye could see. Perfect for a mountain trek. Constantly shifting light, occasional rain, varied wind, rolling fog - that is what such conditions mean to me and I hope for them all. That is what makes my perfect mountain visit. So I met my friend from Washoe Valley who was desperate to escape the month of smoke they have endured so far due to the Rim Fire and we scored a walk in for Piute Pass. *excitey-face-emoticon* I have wanted to go up n' over Piute Pass into Humphreys Basin for some time. So we got a late start Friday and made camp at Piute Lake. Exceptional. Some dinner then out with the tripod to catch the shifting light of sunset for the next hour plus.

Piute Lake

Piute Lake
Piute Lake sunset on 9.1.13.

Piute Lake

Morning came

Piute Lake

and we broke camp to make the short hike up n' over Piute Pass, having a light rain fall for about 10 minutes along the way. Skies were gorgeous. Mount Humphreys was backed entirely by a bank of clouds piling well above it that would now and then break over one of its many serrated crests and come rolling over. To the west was shadow n' light vying for dominance.

Piute Pass
View west from Piute Pass.

It was fantastic. We made a camp alongside one of the marshy lakes above Upper Golden Trout Lake

Humphreys Basin
View SW from near camp along one of the marshy lakes above Golden Trout Lakes.

then went for a wander. Down thru the braided n' marshy creeks to Lower Golden Trout Lake to ooh n' ahh for a bit.

Lower Golden Trout Lake
Ooh'ing & aah'ing at Lower Golden Trout Lake before noticing the smoke roll in.

Until... It looks awful hazy out there now. Ooooh... That's smoke. Crappers. And the wind picked up, coming out the NW, and the smoke continued to roll in and build. Evolution Valley looked like it would have been a real crappy place to be. Smoke was thick down there. We watchfully continued our wander, going high from Lower Golden Trout to the unnamed lake between Wahoo Lake n' Muriel Lake.

Mount Humphreys
Not really noticeable, but smoke has rolled up into the basin from Evolution Vally and we smell and taste it in the air now.

Smoke kept on rolling in, now making itself known in scent and taste, as well as by eye. So being in agreement that it in no way made it a more pleasurable or aesthetic experience, we bailed on the smoke, packing right back up and going right back over Piute Pass to once more hang out at Piute Lake. Oh no ! Not that gorgeous Piute Lake again ! Drat. Clouds kept building throughout the afternoon and sometime during the night it rained for about 15 minutes. And each night at Piute Lake we saw flashing light from the NW. Not lightning, but something else. We had/have no idea what it was. Their are no bases or installations nearby to the NW that would generate light is there ? Isn't there a working Tungsten Mill in Pine Creek, could that be it ? It really freaked us out. The next morning clouds continued to build as we decided to hike out, having had a good time, if shorter than we had desired. No regrets.


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Tom Kenney

Tom Kenney - Sep 8, 2013 12:14 am - Voted 10/10

Tungsten Mine

Once, when we were camped in H-Basin, we could feel the blasting in the mine. It was pretty spooky. Don't know what the flashing could be...maybe plane strobes?

Nice (short) report!

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