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Topics - wshawkins

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Anything Goes / Entry into Yosemite could cost up to $70
« on: October 30, 2017, 07:20:13 AM »
Heard this on the news last night: The National Park Service is asking for a steep fee increase at 17 of its most popular parks.  Visitors to Yosemite for example would be charged $70 per vehicle, up from the fee of $30 for a weekly pass. 

The 17 parks affected are:

● Acadia National Park (ACAD)
● Arches National Park (ARCH)
● Bryce Canyon National Park (BRCA)
● Canyonlands National Park (CANY)
● Denali National Park (DENA)
● Glacier National Park (GLAC)
● Grand Canyon National Park (GRCA)
● Grand Teton National Park (GRTE)
● Joshua Tree National Park (JOTR)
● Mount Rainier National Park (MORA)
● Rocky Mountain National Park (ROMO)
● Olympic National Park (OLYM)
● Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park (SEKI)
● Shenandoah National Park (SHEN)
● Yellowstone National Park (YELL)

The last fee increase in 2015 was supposed to help chip away at the $12 billion maintenance backlog that plagues the national park system.  So where did the last fee increase go to?  Also they just recently raised the cost of a lifetime Senior National Parks Pass from $10 to $80.

There is a 30-day public comment period if you like to respond to it.  Here is the link for comments:

Strictly Media / 2017 Eastern Sierra Photos
« on: September 23, 2017, 01:12:21 PM »
2017 Eastern Sierra Photos

If you like lots of snow and water, 2017 was the year for you!  I can’t remember seeing so much snow and rushing water so late in the season (as of mid-September).  The negatives are I had to wait late in the season to get to my favorite high country lakes and the damage the winter snow and melting waters did to the roads, bridges, buildings and trails along the way.  I’ll share what I have seen so far as I was up there early, mid and planning to be there late season (late October). 

If you have any photos you like to share, please do as I’m using imgur photo sharing site for this report.  Imgur is a free photo sharing site!

Can anybody guess where this is?  This photo was taken during the 4th of July holiday weekend.

Eastern Sierra Fishing / First Golden Trout for 2017
« on: August 09, 2017, 12:59:58 PM »
First Golden Trout for 2017

Was finally able to hike back to the backcountry for some Golden Trout fishing.  Still lots of snow on the trails over 10,000 ft. but was able to get to this Golden Trout gem of a lake at over 11,000 ft.  Can’t believe it took it to August before I was able to get up there!  Never seen so much snow in August! 

Be careful out there as it’s still very dangerous with the swift running creeks and snow bridges getting ready to collapse in the high country.  But the hike was worth it with hungry goldens attacking my fly!

This is a test run using “imgur”, a free photo sharing site.

Golden Trout

Golden Trout

Strictly Media / Eastern Sierra Fall Colors 2016
« on: October 22, 2016, 07:03:21 AM »
Eastern Sierra Fall Colors 2016

Fall colors for 2016 were just too beautiful not to share.  From up north to Sonora Pass down south to Bishop and everywhere in between, fall colors were just bursting out.  Most surprising was the fall color I ran into during my hikes into the backcountry.  Still some fall colors out there but most areas are past peak now, especially after the latest storm to come though the Eastern Sierra.
Anybody who were up during this fall and took any fall color pictures please share them here.  I’m sure there are many beautiful Eastern Sierra fall color photos in our group.  Give a few days to find and organize my photos but in the meantime I’ll post a few to whet your appetite!

Carson Peak – June Lake Loop

South Fork Bishop Creek near Parcher’s

Strictly Media / 2016 Sierra Nevada Pictures
« on: June 16, 2016, 05:21:29 PM »

Thought I’d start another Eastern Sierra Picture thread.  I have a ton of pictures to share and hoping others will share their Sierra pictures as well.  Let’s continue this for 2016 and share your pictures of anything “Sierra”.  All Sierra Nevada photos are welcome, old and new.

Looking into the "Hoover Wilderness" during an early trip this year.  Little more snow on the ground than last year!

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Autumn Brown Trout Fishing
« on: October 01, 2015, 06:42:45 AM »
Autumn Brown Trout Fishing

Fishing in streams and rivers for Brown’s is one of my favorite pastimes. The beautiful scenery, the flowing water and the rising fish, it’s hard to beat. Yes, it’s that time again when the brown trout come up from the deep and feed top-side and spawn.  Fall is prime time for targeting brown trout.  Brown trout spawn late in the fall, so during this time they become more mobile and the usually finicky mature males abandon some of their normal cautiousness.

I never bother the brown trout spawning grounds, and neither should you.  This is for our future brown trout fishing, so a successful spawn is important.  Any brown trout in the middle of the lake is fair game.  There fun to catch and I always release them to fight another battle (unless they bleed).

This year I’m aiming for the high elevation browns, above 10,000 feet.  Many people don’t realize that brown trout even live that high, but they do but are kind of rare.  They are smaller than most of the lower elevation browns, but still to can reach over 20” and more in some waters.  I’m aiming for mid-October, any later in the year and the lakes can freeze over.  I have a list of over a dozen + high elevation lakes that I know have the allusive brown trout with 8 days/7 nights to complete this challenge.  If I have any luck and get some decent pictures, I’ll post my adventure!  Wish me luck! 

Brown trout from last year’s fall trip

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Fishless Lakes
« on: September 27, 2015, 07:12:35 AM »
More bad news for fishermen! 

Latest lakes to go fishless for the frogs.  All these lakes are in Yosemite National Park.  Particularly sad to lose Roosevelt Lake, an excellent Rainbow trout lake that had rainbows up to 18” in its waters.  Skelton Lake used to have rainbows to 12”.  Dog Lake was a brookie lake, but a fun family type lake.

Strictly Media / 2015 Sierra Nevada Pictures
« on: March 12, 2015, 07:41:24 AM »
2015 Sierra Nevada Pictures

Thought I’d start another Eastern Sierra Picture thread.  I have a ton of pictures to share and hoping others will share their Sierra pictures as well.  Let’s continue this for 2015 and share your pictures of anything “Sierra”.  All Sierra Nevada photos are welcome, old and new. 

Looking into the "Hoover Wilderness" during an early trip last year

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Bishop Creek Canyon
« on: January 27, 2015, 08:09:17 AM »
Bishop Creek Canyon

Well, the “Bishop Creek Canyon” fishing trip got the most votes with a whopping “9” (:lol2:) ) votes with 15 members voting.  Thanks to all who voted.  If you’re in to catching wild fish in beautiful back-country scenery, this trip report is for you.

Bishop Creek Canyon

Eastern Sierra Forum / Trip Report
« on: January 10, 2015, 11:05:30 AM »
Not sure if this is a brilliant ideal or a stupid one.  But have quite a treasure trove of reports that I have never posted.  So instead of posting them all, I thought why not take a poll and see what might have the most interest with “Rock Creek’s Message Board” members.  So please vote on one, two or up to three reports you like to see posted.  Of course, no vote’s means I get to take the winter off, which also is fine by me. ;D

A little information on each trip:

1)   “Bennettville” (History) is a former settlement and ghost town in the Tioga Pass area located on Mine Creek.  Mining began here in 1860 but didn’t really get going until The Great Sierra Consolidated Mining Company bought this claim and others nearby in 1878.  This is Part 2 of the Great Sierra Mine Historic Site (see part 1, The Great Sierra Mine  Easy hike to this ghost town with a couple of buildings still standing, mining equipment and a mine tunnel (Adit) to look at.  I’ll take you through the history of this ghost town (with old photos) and bring you up to date what’s to see today.  Good fishing in Mine Creek and nearby lakes with great views.  After visiting Bennettville, I caught over 50 fish in Mine Creek.

2)   “Bishop Creek Canyon” (Fishing) was a great three day fishing trip for me.  After I dropped off some friends at Bishop Pass Trailhead, I went on three separate day hikes to some gorgeous backcountry lakes filled with feisty fish, catching four different species up to 18”.  For the fisher folks, it just doesn’t get any better than this!

3)   “Dunderberg Mill & Mine Sites” (History) is a ghost town on Dunderberg Mountain.  This mining operation had its own mill, two town sites (one at the mill and one up higher up the mountain) and dug eight adit’s up to 1500 feet into the mountain.  Built in 1870, I go through the history with old photos and what’s left today.  Lots to see here if you know what to look for.  Great views on top of Dunderberg Mountain of the Green Creek Drainage and lakes.  When this mine was abandoned, a miner named Ed Page worked this claim until the late 1950’s and built two cabins for himself, one for summer and the other for winter living.  There both still standing today and oh what great glorious views he had!

4)   “Fern Lake”, (Fishing) is an alpine lake tucked in a small valley above the June Lake Loop.  This is a Brookie Lake and they are easy to catch, but the top reason to go here is for the spectacular views from high up on the trail of Silver, Gull, June Lakes and Mono Craters.  Also the wildlife was friendly here! (More on that latter).

5)   “Green Treble Lake” (Fishing) is a pristine alpine mountain lake located in the Harvey Monroe Hall Natural Area in the Hoover Wilderness.  If you ever read any of “John Barbier” books on fishing the Eastern Sierra, you would know that this lake is one of his favorites.  Not hard to see why if you ever visited this gem of a lake.  Have Brookies and feisty Kamloop Rainbows to fish for and lots of solitude with super views.

6)   “Log Cabin Mine”, (History) which first started operation back in 1890, was the first gold discovery in Lee Vining.  This mine operated until 1970 so buildings are still in good shape and lots to see here.  This mine became famous for the gold it produced and for the harsh winters the miners had to endure.  I will go through the history of this gold mine with old photos and show you what’s left to see today.

7)   “Yosemite Lake with Brown Trout”!  (Fishing) At well over 10,000 feet elevation, this Yosemite Lake was the best fishing I ever had for the elusive Brown Trout.  This was my last trip last year in Late October and what a way to end the fishing season!  I’ll name this lake and location if it gets enough votes.  I’m sure some of you already know what lake I’m referring too.

Other Trips that might interest some:

A)   “Upper McCabe Lake”, (Fishing) which is south of Shepherd Crest in Yosemite.  Take the water taxi from Saddlebag Lake for the shortest hike.  Went twice this year, so you know the fishing was outstanding.  Was going to submit this Trip Report but I believe “Tex” did this trip too this year so I’ll let him report on Upper McCabe Lake.  Thought I put that out there. 

B)   “John Muir Trail”.  (Media) Finished the complete “John Muir Trail” through hike for the third time last summer!  The trail started in Yosemite National Park, and continues 215 miles through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, and ended at the highest peak in continental United States, Mount Whitney at 14,496 ft.  This time I took my time and completed it in 30 days over 3 summers, which included several layover days for fishing Golden Trout lunkers lakes in Sequoia National Park.  Best fishing/backpacking trip ever!

C)   “Volcanic Tableland Petroglyphs”.  (History) Just north of Bishop is one of the best displays of Petroglyphs I seen on a nice maintained driving loop.  The Petroglyphs in this area are thought to be up to 8,800 years old and were made by the ancestors of the native Paiute-Shoshone people who still inhibit the valley.  Chidago, Chalfant, Fish Slough and Red Canyon Petroglyphs sites were easy access from the road and a delight to see.

D)   “Arrowhead, Skelton, Barney, Red, and the two Woods Lakes”.  (Fishing) These lakes are part of the Upper Mammoth Lakes basin.  From the Duck Pass Trail, this loop trail never disappoints for the fishing or the views.  Six lakes with easy Brook and Rainbows fishing makes this one of my favorite loop hikes.

E)   “Jordan Hot Springs”.  (History) Went here for the fishing, stayed for the hot springs.  Great history for Jordan Hot Springs which starts long before the coming of the white man.  Native Americans used this area for summer encampments for hundreds of years before John Jordan blazed a trail in 1861 for miners traveling over the Sierra to get to the latest gold strike.  Today you can see the Jordan Hot Springs Resort with old cabins; pack station, cow camps and pillars in the springs were the docks were built.  It’s now part of the Golden Trout Wilderness.

F)   “The Ghost Town of Bodie”.  (History)  The granddaddy of all ghost towns!  A town frozen in time and in a “state of arrested decay” as they like to say.  This mining town from the late 1800’s in its peak had 10,000 people with 65 saloons bustled with families, robbers, miners, store owners, gunfighters, prostitutes with numerous brothels and ‘houses of ill repute’, gambling halls and opium dens – an entertainment outlet just about for everyone.

Eastern Sierra Fishing / 21.6 Lb German Brown caught and released
« on: November 15, 2014, 10:30:53 AM »
This story is making the rounds today;

From Mono County Tourism - California's Eastern Sierra Facebook page, Paul Gonzalas bagged a 21.6 German Brown caught and released along the June Lake Loop!

Eastern Sierra Fishing / October Caddis Hatch
« on: October 09, 2014, 06:54:56 AM »
October Caddis Hatch

When the first leaves fall off the trees at the beginning of fall in the Eastern Sierra, that’s when I begin preparing for the arrival of the giant tent winged caddis fly.  This is a major food source on the trout’s menu from late September into November in the Eastern Sierra.  This is also their last large protein source of the season, and you can bet the big trout will key on this large caddis to prepare for winter.  What I’m referring to is the October Caddis.

October Caddis

The October Caddis has an orange body with dark red-brown wing to orange-brown wing and is one of the best insects for fall anglers to catch a trophy trout.  Over the years I’ve had mixed results targeting this hatch.  It’s only been in the last few seasons that I’ve learned to fish the hatch correctly.  The key success factors in fishing this hatch for me was understand their behavior, and then fishing with the right fly imitations to grab their attention.

October Caddis are found in any moving waters in the Eastern Sierra, but a good place to observe them is at Owens River when the flows start to drop in fall, on the EF Walker River, Rush Creek and even at Rock Creek .  You’ll be able to see their stick cases as the level drops, attached to rocks or downed trees.  You may even see them crawl out of the water by the hundreds during the hatch.

October Caddis crawling out of the water

Peak activity of hatching is usually from late afternoon until about dark.  That being said, when the hatch is on, the fish key in and will feed on the October Caddis all day.  During the early phase of this hatch, I like to fish using a big caddis pupa fished under an indicator.  I’ve found this fly rig to be a great strategy for catching good numbers of fish.  The larva and pupa stages of these insects are when their most vulnerable and big trout catch on to this very quickly.

My Favorite Fly’s to use during a hatch:

Larva October Caddis

Pupa October Caddis

Adult October Caddis

Once I know the hatch is in full swing, I’ll switch to a dry dropper rig.  Using an adult October Caddis dry fly with a pupa pattern dropped 18-24 inches off the back does a great job for both stages.  This is a great strategy to use and it’s paid me many dividends (Fish dividends).  Experimenting with a gentle jerk on your dry fly on the surface can often trigger aggressive takes.

I’ll be heading up the Eastern Sierra this week for hopefully some great October Caddis Hatch bite.  I’ll be targeting the big browns as usual, but plan also on visiting some of the backcountry lakes if the weather cooperates.  I’ve been hitting some big wind the last couple of trips which has made the
fishing difficult.  I’ll report back if anything exciting happens!  Wish me luck.

Nice Brown Trout caught during “October Caddis Hatch” from last fall

Eastern Sierra Forum / June Lake Fire
« on: September 18, 2014, 07:53:50 AM »
Fire in June Lake

A fire broke out near the June Lake ski area and winds are pushing it towards June Lake Village.  Mandatory evacuations are in force in the June Lake Village area.  State Route 158 was closed.  See story:;_ylu=X3oDMTEzMjNuaTNuBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDNQRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDUyNF8x/RV=2/RE=1411080298/RO=10/

Eastern Sierra Forum / Fall Colors
« on: September 03, 2014, 02:45:35 PM »
Looks like fall colors are just around the corner.  I was at South Lake Trailhead on August 22nd dropping off some friends for their backpacking trip and the aspens and meadow grasses are beginning to yellow, mostly above the 9,000 foot range.  Also upper Rock Creek and McGee Creek are starting to change colors.  If I would have to guess, Mid-September to the 1st week of October should be prime time fall colors this year!

This is the beginning of the beautiful time in the Eastern Sierra!

Eastern Sierra Fishing / In Search of Goldens
« on: September 02, 2014, 08:10:27 AM »
In Search of Goldens

Golden Trout!  They say that golden trout only live in beautiful places.  Although there may be exceptions to this rule, I think we can all agree that this is overwhelmingly true for most golden trout in the High Sierra.  Golden trout have an intense natural beauty that outshines all other species of trout in the Sierra Nevada.  The feelings I derive from catching these beautiful fish make it worth the extra effort to hike, catch and admire these beauties.

I won’t name these lakes as not to cause a stampede and possibly overfish these gems.  I’m sure many here know where I’ve been and probably fished these waters too.  This particular trip was exceptional, as I usually only catch from 0 to 3 goldens each trip.  Yes, even I can and have got a skunk here!

It was with all this in mind that I embarked on my latest fishing trip searching for the elusive and fickle golden trout. My goal today was to try to land some large golden trout I know may exist in these waters.

I’d always subscribed to the theory that spring is the best time of year to fish for goldens, especially before and after they spawn.  But on this trip I hit a cold spell with morning temperatures in the low 20’s and the highs in the low 50’s at best in the 11,000 feet elevation where I was heading.  Will the lakes be iced over?  Will the golden trout even be awake enough to take my offering?   This wouldn’t be the first time I hiked a long distance to find my intended target lake or stream frozen over or the fish not interested in my offerings.

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Mono Pass Trail to Lower Sardine Lake
« on: August 05, 2014, 11:43:06 AM »
Mono Pass Trail to Lower Sardine Lake

The Basics:
8 miles round trip to Lower Sardine
10 miles round trip to Mono Pass and the Gold Crown Cabins
2,000 + vertical feet to Lower Sardine lake
Mono Pass Trailhead - el. 8,360ft. 
Walker Lake - el. 7,946ft.
Lower Sardine Lake - el. 9,915ft.
Mono Pass – el. 10,600 ft.


Leave Hwy 395 at the north end of the June Lake Loop, Hwy 158. Just North of Grant Lake, follow dirt road 1S23 along Sawmill Creek to the Trailhead.

It’s been very quiet of late on the Board.  See if I can perk things up with a trip report from the Hawk files.  I made this hike late last fall from the June Lake Loop.  I visit and fish this pristine lake about once every 5 years.  I believe I posted that trip about 5 years ago but it’s lost it due a Board crash.  I think it’s worth looking at again.  This trip has it all, fishing that never disappoints (at least that’s true for me), views that are to die for and a silver mine and cabins to explore to boot!  Hope you enjoy……….. :fishing3:


Eastern Sierra Fishing / Fishing Humor
« on: June 03, 2014, 06:17:27 AM »
Fishing Humor

I hear a lot of fishing stories and jokes, and some are quite funny, and some are just large tales.  When I’m fishing with my buddies in the Sierra or sitting at the campfire that night, the stories come out.  I’ll share what I think are the best ones I heard.

As always, if you have a funny, humorous fishing story or joke to share, please post it.  We could all use a laugh!


A couple went on vacation to a resort up north. The husband liked to fish, and the wife liked to read.  One morning the husband came back from fishing after getting up real early that morning and took a nap.  While he slept, the wife decided to take the boat out.  She was not familiar with the lake, so she rowed out and anchored the boat, and started reading her book.

Along comes the Game Warden in his boat, pulls up alongside the woman's boat and asks her what she's doing?  She says, "Reading my book."  The Game Warden tells her she is in a restricted fishing area and she explains that she's not fishing.  To which he replied, "But you have all this equipment.  I will have to take you in and write you up!"  Angry that the warden was being so unreasonable, the lady told the warden, "If you do that, I will charge you with rape."  The warden, shocked by her statement, replied, "But I didn't even touch you."  To which the lady replied, "Yes; but you have all the equipment!"

Eastern Sierra History / Short Stories
« on: May 19, 2014, 06:47:10 AM »
Though I would try something new, a collection of “Short Stories” I collected over the years.   I have a little of everything, including short stories on a lost gold mine, a great climber, old timers talking about the way it was, a scary camp fire story, an earthquake to remember, John Muir, an heroic WW2 Mule, Bodie bad men shooting it out, and so on just to name a few.  Most are old stories (some 100+ years), but all are from or about the Eastern Sierra that we all love.  I’ll start with Ah Wee, a china man from the Lundy/Tioga Hill area from the late 1800’s that wouldn’t die without a fight.  Not a fight per say but,,,,read it and you’ll see what I mean.  If well received, more will be posted.

All are welcome to post any short stories you might have.  I’m sure there are some very interesting one’s out there. 

The Triple Deaths of Ah Wee,
The Laundryman of Bennettville

High in the Sierras, near the base of Tioga Hill, laundryman Ah Wee was sick and dying in his Bennettville shanty.  His friend, Jim Toy, a merchant and Chinese doctor from Lundy, hurried across the rugged mountains to his side.  Not long after he arrived, Ah Wee took his last breath.  Jim waited until the body was cold and rigid, and then went to a boarding house for supper.  After the meal, he and a group of men decided to go back to the laundryman’s and tend to the body.  Imagine their surprise, when they arrived and Ah Wee was up and walking around.  It took the strength of all of the men to get Ah Wee back to bed again.  Jim Toy nursed Ah Wee through the night.  Just before daybreak, however, Ah Wee breathed his last one more time.   

Mule Ride to Lundy

A strong box was built for the Chinese laundryman’s body, so it could be taken to Lundy for internment. Louis Amoit’s pack train would come for the body and the box around noon that day.  Meantime, Jim watched the corpse constantly for returned life.  Louis arrived and they packed the box with Ah Wee’s body in it on the back of a pack mule.  They trudged along slowly until reaching the level ridge of Mount Warren Divide.  As Louis hurried the mules, the one with Ah Wee’s corpse began to trot.  Suddenly, groaning noises were heard from the strong box.  First thoughts were that it was the mule groaning, but Louis decided it best to make sure.  As he stopped the mule, the groans from the box became louder.  Ah Wee was alive once again.  Reportedly, Louis Amoit’s “eyeballs crawled out on his cheeks, looked at his ears, and tried to climb under his hat” in fear.

Louis Amoit and his pack mules, with the once again alive and breathing, Ah Wee, headed on to Lundy.  In Lundy, Ah Wee rested comfortably in quiet quarters, appearing to be convalescing nicely. By 11:00 that Monday morning, an American physician checked on him to see how he was doing.  Ah Wee turned his face to the wall and breathed his last one more time. 

Peaceful and Penniless

The Homer Mining Index of   October 27, 1883, reported that on the Tuesday after his third last breath, Ah Wee was buried with “imposing ceremonies of the Chinese kind.”   When interviewed for the Index, Ah Wee’s friend Jim Toy said he had died of a cold.  Asked if it was a case of pneumonia, Jim Toy thought the reporter had said “no money”, and replied “No, no.  Him got no money - him allee time gamble - tlee week ago him losee two hundled dolla - him got no money.”  Regardless of what caused Ah Wee’s triple deaths, the third death was the charm, and he lay peacefully and penniless, to rest one last time.   

A Biography of Mr. Lee "Ah-wee" Chung

Lee Chung was born in 1838 to peasant Chinese shepherds in the Xiuxeng province of northern China.  The Xiuxneng province is characterized by its high elevation and cold, harsh winters.  As a boy, Lee developed a fondness for snow sports which was go grow into a life-long passion for tobogganing. By the time Lee left China for the western United States in 1878 he was well known throughout northern China as the most enthusiastic (if not-so-talented) Chinese tobogganier as well as a novice toboggan craftsman. While his enthusiasm for the snow-covered slopes could not be tempered, his lack of ability and substandard, home built equipment provided for a continuous series of greater and lesser tobogganing accidents, resulting in greater or lesser quantities of massive injuries. As a result, Lee's wits and reflexes were to grow ever slower over the course of his lifetime. Nonetheless, throughout Lee's worldly travels, he was never seen to travel without his most favorite trusty toboggan which he called "Rosebud".

Lee worked hard in the railroad camps, and later in the mining camps as he worked his way through the American west. Lee intentionally sought out camps in the harsher environs so he could be close to his beloved slopes. Lee performed any odd job he was offered; Laundromat technician, stable swamper, clerical secretary.  All jobs to Lee were merely an end to a means - to provide him with the sustenance he needed to support his increasingly-habitual toboggan use. Lee amassed a record of call-in "sick days" before or since unrivaled in industrialized nations.  Though everyone knew where Lee was on these "sick days" of course.  For his distinctive and gleeful cry of "ah-WEEEEEE!" as he launched himself from the mountain tops could be heard throughout the locality.

By the time Lee reached the mining camp of Bennettville in 1882 his coordination and mental faculties were clearly impaired. He was soon offered a job in one of the less-reputable bordellos in town, which he gratefully accepted before promptly phoning in sick.  The nickname "Ahwee" or "Ah Wee" was assigned to Lee as he took to the slopes and his familiar cry was heard throughout the town.  The name stuck as more and more camp regulars and visitors turned out to watch Lee's antics on the slopes. His cataclysmic crashes grew in frequency and spectacle as his agility continued to decline undeterred by his indefatigable passion for his "sport".  Such spectacles culminated in the "Tioga Glacier" incident in the deep winter of 1883. Crowds were stunned and delighted as Lee careened off the lip of the 95-foot face of the Tioga glacier, landing in a crumpled heap on the rocky shores of Lake Tioga. His lifeless (and frozen) body was recovered 2 days later and stored in the Bennettville Livery where he was miraculously revived by a birthing mare.

Lee soon took to the slopes again, and shortly thereafter his body was recovered from an abandoned ventilation shaft. The Bennettville townsfolk (in an expression of fondness for Lee) used his body as a makeshift cigar dispenser by propping him up in the frigid shelter in front of Smith's Apothecary, whereupon Lee was inexplicably revived days later by a startled passerby. As the winter season waned in the high Sierras, Lee was forced to seek out more dispersed and isolated patches of snow amongst the rugged crags surrounding Bennettville in order to support his toboggan mania. Such was to be his undoing in May, 1884. As Lee cried "Ah-WEEEE" and pushed off from the top of a rocky swale a lone photographer snapped the last image of Lee "Ah Wee" Chung.

Last known photograph of Lee "Ah Wee" Chung, 1884

Though Lee's body was never recovered, the townsfolk of Bennettville honored Lee by inscribing his moniker on a small granite obelisk which was then hurled off the same rocky crag which had claimed their beloved Ah Wee.


Bennettville and the Tioga Mining District by Alan Patera

Western Places

Ghost Mines of Yosemite

Eastern Sierra Forum / Season Opener 2014
« on: March 13, 2014, 07:48:06 AM »
Opening Day of the 2014 fishing season is on April 26th.  Anyone going up?  Crowley?  Convict?  June Lake?  Owens River?  Maybe some ice fishing?   :fishing3:

Will you be there?   :camping:

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Hoover Lahonton Cutthroats
« on: March 05, 2014, 08:48:14 AM »
Just a little late with this fishing trip but I’m sure nobody minds.  My target lakes for this trip was are known for their Lahonton Cutthroats.  This northern Eastern Sierra trip area didn’t disappoint.  There are 5-6 lakes within a day’s hike of this area where the trout can grow north of 18” and some trophy 20” + trout thrown in for good measure.  Even the Brookies can get huge here.  Without any doubt a fun place to toss your line.    Hope you enjoy!

Hoover Wilderness Sign

Hoover Lahonton Cutthroats

Took another late fall season day hike, this time to some good Lahonton Cutthroat lakes.  These lakes are west of Pickel Meadows near the Sonora Pass.  This trip I think fishes best early or late in the season, at least that’s true for me.  These lakes can get too hot in the summer months due to the lower elevations and the fishing suffers.

This 3 ½ mile hike from Leavitt Meadow to Lane Lake can be done in less than 2 hours.  Lane Lake and its sister, Roosevelt Lake offers good fishing and comfortable campsites with views of the lakes.  This easy hike would make a great backpacking outing on which to bring children or first timers and introduce them to the wilderness.

Eastern Sierra Forum / Rock Creek Road Construction Notice
« on: February 21, 2014, 03:06:28 PM »

Rock Creek Road Construction

The long awaited Rock Creek Road Construction will be taking place soon for all of the 2014 and 2015 seasons!  The work involves widening the road and adding a bike lane.  Expect delays of 30 minutes or more from Monday through Friday.  Work will be suspended for the major 3 day weekends and for weekends.  Expect work to start sometime in May.

See the full story:

Strictly Media / 2014 Sierra Nevada Photos
« on: February 07, 2014, 09:17:44 AM »
Let’s continue 2014 with a new photo post of our beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains.  The “Eastern Sierra Photos” thread I believe was a success thanks mostly to all who shared their photos.  Let’s continue this for 2014 and continue to share your pictures of anything “Sierra”.  All Sierra Nevada photos are welcome, old and new.  Let’s this be an inspiration for all of us this coming season!

I’m going to start this thread with a backpacking trip I took last June that started from the Western Sierra and that ended on the Eastern Sierra.  Fished and passed dozens of Sierra Golden Lakes.  Best fishing I ever experienced on a backpacking trip, especially with golden trout!  Normally, I would never take a backpacking trip this early, but with the drought on-going, going over several passes was a breeze.

Lake Thomas A Edison

Eastern Sierra History / Little Lake
« on: December 16, 2013, 04:46:16 PM »
Little Lake

For those of you coming to the Eastern Sierra from the north, you probably never seen or heard of Little Lake.  For the rest of us that drive up from Southern California, Little Lake is the starting point of the Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway.  There was the town of Little Lake and of course the Lake itself.

Little Lake (2013)

I say “was” as the town of Little Lake is now gone.  For those of us that remember this little town, it brings back many an Eastern Sierra trip memories for me.  My folks would stop here often for water for the cars radiator or get a bite to eat on our family camping trips to the Eastern Sierra.  Little Lake is still well signed, still shown on maps, and still has an expressway on and off ramps with its name on them.  However, little remains to mark the town site just off US 395 at the very southern end of Owens Valley.

Little Lake Property Before the Town Was Built (1905)

The lake itself first started long ago as a seasonal marsh, as it’s spring-fed.  In the beginning, prospectors and other hopeful settlers of the Owens River, Cerro Gordo and Darwin communities stopped and rested overnight here.  The lake was known as “Owens Little Lake” then but was changed to Little Lake when it was dammed up in 1905 as a part of the Los Angeles Aqueduct system.  The city of Los Angeles had its eyes upon the abundant waters in the Owens Valley.  LADWP considered Little Lake a natural holding pen for a 250-mile long aqueduct that was being built to divert the water to Los Angeles.  While building the aqueduct, Southern Pacific Railroad built the "Jawbone Branch" from Mojave to Lone Pine, which they completed in 1911.

Building the Jawbone Branch (1909)

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Hilton Creek Lakes
« on: December 02, 2013, 10:28:34 AM »
I took a late season backpacking trip this year.  I decided to take advantage of the great weather we were having this fall season before the winter storms started kicking up.  I watched the weather closely and decided a Fri/Sat/Sun backpack trip to Hilton Creek Lakes in late October/early November weekend was do-able.  I just hoped the lakes were not frozen over as this was the latest I ever been taken a backpacking fishing trip.

Day 1

I actually came up late Thursday and stayed overnight at Tom’s Place at the lodge.  I’m one of those people that can get altitude sickness if I go up too quickly, so I have to take it easy the first day.  If you ever had it you know what I’m talking about. 

Tom’s Place Lodge

I looked around Rock Creek area and could not believe what a change it was from only a week ago.  They had a large wind storm blew through Mono County a few days prior that effectively ended the 2013 fall color viewing season.

Rock Creek Lake – fall color show over

Fished for a short time at Rock Creek Lake near the boat dock and C&R a couple nice rainbows



Went back to Tom’s Place and across the street to the café and had the Thursday’s Night Special - Prime Rib Dinner.  Rum!  There were quite a few locals in that night and after dinner, shared stories of our favorite honey holes in the Eastern Sierra over beers. 

Day 2

Next morning had my last civilized meal for a while at the café.  The café serves the best Chicken Fried Steak & Eggs.


Chicken Fried Steak & Eggs

With my permit in hand, I drove to the trail head.  When I arrived at the hiker parking lot my truck was the only vehicle.  Never saw another person the whole trip until hiking out Sunday.  Weather was in the 50’s during days, and down to 19-22*F at night.  Very little wind and some ice around the lakes in the morning but melted off by noon or earlier.  Just Perfect!

Trailhead Sign

Next part of my Hilton Creek Lakes Trip Report coming up soon….

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Gardisky Lake
« on: November 20, 2013, 01:08:43 PM »
I believe I shared this fishing day trip once before on the old boards, but it’s worth looking at again.  I come up here every year and probably fished this pretty alpine lake 50+ times over the years and never been skunked here (knock on wood and no disrespect to bj’s last outing).  It’s a tough hike but I would rate it one of the best short hikes you’ll likely to find in the Eastern Sierra, not just for fishing but also for the pristine views.  More people hike up here for the views than for fishing, which is great for us fishermen!

Gardisky Lake

Date:  October 20, 2013
The Basics:                    
1.3 miles (one-way)
840 vertical feet
Starting Elevation - 9760 ft.
Gardisky Lake Elevation - 10515 ft.

Leave Hwy 395 at Hwy 120. Follow Tioga Pass Road toward Yosemite. Turn north onto Saddlebag Lake Road and go approximately 1 1/4 miles to the trailhead parking on the west side of the road.

A Little History:
Gardisky Lake got its name from Albert J. Gardisky, who first came to Tioga Pass in 1914 as a miner looking for his fortune.  He built Cabin 1 (Tioga Pass Resort) that year, and began mining and trapping.  Gardisky quickly learned, however, that he could make a better living providing food and shelter to the growing number of travelers crossing through Tioga Pass.  The Lake was named in his honor.

Gardisky Lake Trailhead

Gardisky Lake is an alpine gem, straddling the Tioga Crest above Saddlebag Lake, and though the hike to its shores is short, it is steep enough in places to give hikers a feeling of accomplishment.  Grand alpine scenery and 30-60-minute access to a lovely alpine basin combine to make this trip one of the best short hikes in the Eastern Sierra. 

It was a nice sunny afternoon, but a cool day as I rolled into the small dirt trailhead parking lot. There's space for about 8 cars here, and there are two other cars already parked here.

It was a chilly hike, and much of the beginning of the hike is in the shade of the forest.  On the other hand, it is steep. Incredibly steep!  So you heat up quickly!

Hoover Wilderness

In any case, suffice it to say that it's a steep slog up this dusty trail, basically following a fast-flowing creek.  The trail starts on the right side of the creek, but after a few minutes’ crosses it.  The trail continues its unrelenting steepness. As I climbed higher I started to get views of the mountains across the road.

Steep Climb


Great views continue to open up as you climb up, stretching past the towering cone of Mount Dana to the Kuna Crest in the south, and westward across upper Lee Vining Creek to the gleaming white granite of the Sierra crest.  Views of the 12,000 foot White Mountain, 12,590 foot Mount Conness, and the east face of 12,242 foot North Peak can be seen from here.

Mt Conness & North Peak

There are a lot of small switchbacks when finally; I crested out of the forest into a large grassy area with wonderful views to the west of the snow-covered mountains.

View Towards Tioga Peak

You’re not done yet, but the hard part was over.  You now had a gentle climb the rest of the way.  The trail was now straight, with no more switchbacks.  Never saw another hiker on the trail so far, but that’s normal for this hike.  This was in great contrast to the hordes of people in my Saddlebag Lake hike yesterday.

I crested a ridge and could now see a couple of small ponds on the right.  Over the next ridge Gardisky Lake came into view, and what a beautiful sight it was!

Gardisky Lake

The lake has a population of brook trout, so take some home.  Best place to fish is from wherever you can throw your line in.  Most people who fish will head to the right where the deep water lies.  #16 fly should work wonders here.  My favorite’s flies to use on this lake are Caddis, Nymphs or Midges.  Using a dry and a dropper can be productive.  I catch less fish on a dry fly but it’s so much more fun.

The northern shore of the lake is open, grassy, with not much in the way of shade from trees. I could see a group of people on that side, having a picnic.  No one is fishing so I have the lake to myself (fishing wise).  I continued along the lake shore looking for any sign of fish activity, and there is some, but under the ice.  About 200’ of the shore line was frozen on the west side of the lake.

Ice on Gardisky Lake

Now that I stopped hiking, I started to get quite cold, as there was a slight but incessant cool breeze coming in from the west.

Gardisky Lake

I moved around the lake and found an ice free area to fish.  No sign of activity so I start with a dry fly with no luck.  I’m a sight fisherman and fishing blind is never been much good for me on dry flies.  I change to a wet fly and add a spilt-shot to get it down deeper and that did the trick.  Fish on!

Fish On!


I run into a father and son hiking around the lake and we chat as I’m fishing.  I meet the nicest people in the backcountry.  Their more excited than me as I bring in another brookie and have an hundred questions on fishing and “wished they brought their poles with them”.  How many times have I heard that statement!

What they were there for was to hike Tioga Peak and wondered if I knew the best way up.  I point to where there is a nice hiker use trail up to the peak.  I have climbed up there more than a dozen times over the years and it always is a breathtaking view.

Tioga Peak

As I move around the lake I find a nice deep spot and the lake starts to warm up and fish are beginning to rise to feed.  I switch back to my dry fly and sight fishing gets hot. 


I’ve caught Brookies up to 14” here in the past, but the average today is about 10’ up to 12”.  But they look pretty healthy this year, not stunted as in prior years.  A welcome change!  Fishing is good today.




The group that was having a picnic earlier comes by and asks if I know how to reach the Tioga Crest.  I show them the best rout up and what’s to see once they’re up there if they wish.  This always happens to me, it’s like I have a sign on my saying “Tour Guide”.  But I don’t really mine as they are good people.

Fishing continues to be good as I bring in one after another of the fat brookies.



The scenery is top notch.  Take advantage of the awe-inspiring views of the spectacular peaks as you leave and head back toward the trailhead.

Views on the way back

This is my last day of my vacation and I always end it here as I have many good memories of me and my dad fishing here.  When I reached the bottom to the trailhead, I found no other cars left in the parking lot.  Just like me and my dad, we were always the last ones to leave.  Tradition is hard to break.

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