Thursday, September 17, 2009

High Sierra Holiday-2009

The weekend after Labor Day, 2009, Eloise and I headed for the eastern Sierras, for a few days of rest, hiking, and of fishing!
Our cabin is in the center of this picture, just above my rod tip. Eloise relaxed and read, on our deck, and enjoyed watching me fish. With a set of walkie talkies, we were able to chat back and forth, as well. Nice!
Our destination was Virginia Lakes, just south of Bridgeport, off highway 395.

At 9,800 ft. the air was thin and it took some time to adjust, however, not to be slowed down on our first afternoon, I had just enough time to slide into my waders and break out the fly rod for some late evening dry fly action. Without my float tube set up, I waded out from the cabin, and with a few midges hatching, was able to catch several nice trout. The first trout caught was a beautiful 12" brook trout, in full color. What an amazing fish! The last trout of the evening turned out to be the largest of the trip-a rainbow, just under 20".
These two fish made up our breakfast the first morning...........and it would not be the last trout breakfast on this trip!!
The second day, we decided to pack a lunch and hike up into the next bowl, above Little Virginia Lake, to explore Red Lake. As an eagle circled the lake, and tiny brook trout dimpled the water, Eloise and I enjoyed the silence, our lunch, and grand beauty of this area.

Red Lake

As we hiked back from Red Lake, we passed by Big Virginia Lake, which is the end of the road, and trail head for backpackers into the Hoover Wilderness Area.

Big Virginia Lake

There are 11 lakes within a mile of Big Virginia Lake, and the hiking, although a bit strained at this altitude, was spectacular.

My wife and I especially enjoyed sitting on our cabin deck, reading, and soaking in the beauty all around us. Of course, I was usually checking out the lake for bug and trout feeding activity, and also watching a couple, in float tubes, fly fishing. As the lady was bringing in a nice trout, I commented to my wife that she was leaning forward much too far.....and sure enough, she spilled into the water, flipping the tube. Fortunately, she kept her head and held the tube as her husband came to the rescue and towed her to shore.
Fortunately, it was a warm day, and she was wearing heavy neoprene waders, so the cold water didn't seem to bother her. However, soon after, they headed back to the ramp to change clothes.

I met them at the ramp to discover that she had lost her rod and reel.
As I headed back to the cabin, I mentioned the incident to the lodge owner, and she promptly returned with a weighted grappling hook, rigged for just such a mishap. Armed with the hook, the husband headed back out to look for the rod and reel. I watched for about 15 mins., noticing that he was really not in the right spot, so I rigged up my walkie talkies so Eloise could help me with the location...........slipped into my waders.........jumped into my tube, and kicked out to the general area where she dropped the outfit. With help from Eloise, and after making a few passes, I located the rod and reel!
I called to the husband to bring the hook, and in a minute or so, I had retrieved the expensive Sage rod and reel.....and the fish! Yep! I reeled in the fish, handed the outfit to the gentlemen, and he promptly added the big trout to his stringer. Once we returned to the ramp, everyone was thrilled that a potentially serious accident, had a happy ending.

Later these wonderful folks strolled up to our cabin and invited us to the lodge for pie and ice cream. The perfect reward!

Little Virginia Lake

Saturday afternoon a huge thunderstorm closed in on Virginia Lakes.
With the first crack of thunder I turned and kicked my float tube to shore, keeping my fly rod low! Eloise was getting nervous too, and by the time we hiked back to the car it started to rain.

Not long after returning to our cabin, the downpour turned to hail.......the largest hail I have ever seen. Some hail was as large as one inch!!
Check it out.....and turn up the volume!

Our last morning at Virginia Lakes brought a breakfast of trout!

The cool temperature marked the beginning of fall for the high Sierra, and the birch trees were starting to turn yellow. This made for an awesome trip back over Sonora Pass!
Eloise and I were both thankful for such a wonderful weekend in one of the most beautiful areas on earth!