Sabrina Basin

August 1-2, 2009
It doesn't get much better than this...  dozens of glacially carved lakes nestled below high rugged peaks.  Tons of gushing waterfalls, verdant green meadows, and a rainbow of wildflowers.  Ancient Jeffrey Pine and Sierra Juniper Trees.  Far reaching views.  Close enough to home for a weekend trip.  Love it :)

Last weekend Justdropin' and I did an overnighter above Sabrina Lake in the John Muir Wilderness near Bishop, CA.  Todd and I drove up to Upper Intake Campground on Friday night.  I try to stay at least a night up at a higher elevation before embarking on trips that take me above 10,000' so I can get acclimated.  On Saturday morning at 8:00 am we met Justdropin' at the Sabrina Trailhead.  He only had a few hours of sleep since he left really early for the drive.  Then off we went, while Todd traveled down to Bishop to meet a friend he hadn't seen in some time.

The trail skirts Sabrina Lake and is pretty easy for the first mile or so.  Then the trail begins to switchback up up up all the way to Blue Lake.  I was impressed by the trail work that's been done on this trail, there are more native stone staircases on this trail than I have ever seen.  Right before Blue Lake we stopped and watched a pack train negotiate short, steep, and rocky switchbacks. 
At Blue Lake we ate lunch then continued on - there were lots of PUD's (Pointless up's and down's in elevation) on the way to Emerald and then Dingleberry Lake. 

The original plan was to hike up to Midnight Lake for the night, but the nice campsite at Dingleberry was hard to pass up.  And so we set up camp, and then I discovered my Aquamira bottle had leaked.  So thanks to Justdropin' who let me borrow his water filter.  That afternoon I took a nap and then later cooked and ate dinner and watched the almost full moon rise over the mountains.  Justdropin' was popular with the mosquitos so he retired early while I stayed up a little while later just soaking up the beauty of the night.
I woke up before sunrise the next morning and began to pack up.  For breakfast I had maple and brown sugar cream of wheat while Justdropin made a quail egg, tomato, and potato omelette.  He offered me some and it was tasty :)  In fact, all the food Justdropin brought was great, as he was kind enough to share. 
Then we headed out, we wanted to dayhike to one of the higher lakes before going back.  So we picked Hungry Packer Lake, about 2.5 miles further up the trail.  On the way we passed Topsy Turvy and Sailor Lakes and I saw a deer.  We got up to Hungry Packer about 8:30 am and it was a gorgeous site.  Picture Peak rises steeply above the lake. There is also a huge long waterfall emptying into this lake and tons of water flowing throughout this alpine basin. 
On the way back we took a side trip to see Moonlight Lake, but didn't get too close because it would involve some boulder hopping which I am not fond of.  Then we headed back down to Dingleberry Lake, ate some lunch, finished packing, then headed back. 
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Going down the steep switchbacks was not that fun but thank goodness the steepest portions were shaded.  The day turned out to be a warm one, even at 9 and 10,000'.  We made it back to the trailhead about 2:30, where my sweet husband was waiting with cold water and Gatorade   We then took a short drive up towards South Lake and I showed them the house where I lived for the first few years of my life.  Then we headed down to Bishop and ate a late lunch/early dinner at Jack's. 

So, it was a short but very sweet trip :)  All told we hiked about 15 miles with 2,000' of elevation gain then loss.  So it was a nice warmup to the longer trip I'm thinking of doing just a few miles to the north in September around Humphrey's Basin...   Holler if you want to come with!
Moonlight Lake above, Topsy Turvy Lake below
Trio of hot pink blooms - alpine paintbrush, heather, and Sierra Onion
Drunken Sailor Lake
Hungry Packer Lake
Lupine near Drunken Sailor Lake
Shooting Stars
This deer was too quick for me to get a good photo
Columbines at Dingleberry Lake
Pinedrops, above
Dingleberry Lake, below
Emerald Lake
Blue Lake
Piute Crags
Climbing rock staircases high above Lake Sabrina