Beartooths: Lake Fork Trail Hike and Fishing (Day 1)

Mal sehen how that title works out for the SEO.

Originally planned to hike up to Black Canyon Lake and probably to Sundance Pass, camping, I dunno, somewhere. After about a mile of hiking, I realized that I’d just spent seven days at sea level and was now at 8,000 feet and climbing. Objectives were toned down accordingly.

The Lake Fork of Rock Creek.
Teeth of bear.
Broadwater “Lake”; the fishing guidebook says there are fish in here, but I saw none.
Called “Thunder Mountain”, although there were no trains, no dinosaur bones, and no bobble-headed turtles (as far as I saw).
Smoky Sunset on Keyser Brown Lake.
  • So ended up camping at Keyser Brown Lake — about seven miles from the trailhead and 1,500 feet of elevation gain (I think the lake is at a little over 8,000 feet).
  • Just about passed out trying to get my tent set up.
  • Took about 45 minutes trying to get my food appropriately hung.
  • Trail follows the river most of the way, although there are some miles where there are trees that get in the way of seeing the river.
  • Some dude coming down the trail said he saw a grizzly, but I’ve pretty much determined that grizzlies are merely legendary like, z.B., Sasquatch.
  • There was one other dude camping near the lake. He was from Minnesota and so, naturally, he helped me get my rain fly on tighter than it was. I told him he was only reaffirming the stereotype.
  • Mountain House lasagna is good, but it’s hard to get all the cheese off your fork.
  • The good campsites are all on the back side of the lake.
Fished a little bit here. Keyser Brown has a ton of five-inch brook trout in it, so if you’re into that kind of thing, you know, here you go. There’s also a weather thing in the area where every day (apparently) it’s nice all morning and early afternoon, then clouds begin rolling in around 2, then it rains lightly off and on until the next morning, sometimes with wind and thunder and lightning. Never rains hard enough to get anything too wet, though. So it’s got that going for it.

Camping at Big Bear Lake, Serrano Campground, Last Weekend

Went camping at Big Bear Lake over the weekend, at the Serrano Campground to be more precise.

Campfire at Serrano Campground on the North Shore of Big Bear Lake

 The Bad:

  • The people at the site next to mine had come from the ghetto and brought their booze with them. They were loud and went way out of their way to reinforce negative stereotypes. It’s amazing how many sentences you can form with a two-word vocabulary (f*** and n*****, in case you were wondering). That said, mad props out to them for (a) not fronting and (b) keeping it real.
  • At $26 a night for a campsite, I kind of expected it to include turn-down service.
  • The campsite wasn’t very flat.
  • It got down to 16° F overnight. 16°!
  • Some traffic noise from the highway.
  • Forgot to bring a hatchet or a mallet.
  • Only 2 of 6 roasted marshmallows truly hit the spot.

The Good (it was mostly good):

  • Became much better informed about both sides of the debate around whether or not it’s appropriate for a half-black, half-Mexican guy to call someone else a n—–. (Unfortunately the sheriff came before any conclusions were reached — *now* do you understand why I don’t like cops?!)
  • Hearing one of the neighbors machine-gun dry-heaving at 3 AM. It sounded like justice. Worth getting woken up for.
  • Plenty of tinder and kindling near the site and the campground guys went around in a truck selling firewood at dusk — convenient!
  • Didn’t need a hatchet and a piece of wood worked out great as a mallet.
  • Good ground for driving stakes into.
  • Located on the less-populated north shore of the lake, so you don’t even *suspect* that there’s a McDonalds 10 minutes away.
  • Much better cell phone reception than I get in Irvine.
  • Clean bathrooms.
  • Best fire I ever built.
  • Cold weather meant it was a great opportunity to test out my 0-degree sleeping bag. Grade: C. I slept through good parts of the night and never woke up chattering. OTOH, I slept wearing a stocking cap, underwear, t-shirt, camp-shirt, technical sweatshirt, fleece vest, parka, and wool socks. Oh, *and* pants. But still — a good test.
  • I like wearing headlamps and appreciated the opportunity to do so within a reasonable context.
  • Even with a 3/4 moon out, there were a lot of stars.
  • No bears.