27 May 2013

Horton: Basin Mountain

Inyo National Forest

Locate the trail head.

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3

Day three. The moon got to just the right angle and woke me up again, but since the moon is lazy and takes a bit longer than a day to come around, it was almost an hour later when this occurred. Result, much better rested when I got up. I took a while to get up anyway. We were going to head toward Basin Mountain without any expectation to get up past the first lake because, as it turns out, I was the only one willing to bring crampons up. I lobbied for going up to Upper Horton instead. The valley looks a little rougher, but it was largely free of snow until the lake itself. I couldn't get any interest in that, though. My muscles were making complaints anyway, at least when not moving.

a rare still moment on Horton Lake
Horton Lake again, but in a rare still moment. We're going to climb the valley to the left of the ridge until the snow blocks us. Upper Horton is up the valley to the right.

We circled the lake around to the outflow and back up crossing over numerous channels. The first was deepest, but had a rock dam on it preventing a lot of flow. Then we crossed a much wider channel full of water. On the far side of the outflow channels, we hiked upward along the boulder field of sliding rock. These rocks were much more stable than those from yesterday. We continued climbing and contouring around until coming to a stream. This we crossed and hiked upward along for a short way. Our route was already blocked by snow.

wide stream of water flowing out of Horton
The wide spot of water outflow from Horton Lake.

hikers going over the boulder fields sliding off Mount Basin
We hiked up and around over the boulder fields as we made our way to the correct valley.

waterfall on the west wall
The water cascading down the west northwest wall of the lake from the high snow patches.

snow in the valley
Apparently that's too much snow. I think I might be able to see a route in this, but it didn't look promising at the time.

We turned back and followed the creek back down toward the lake. It came to a section with water channels going everywhere, then split around a patch of trees with more campsites below them. From here, we went back around the lake the way we'd come.

a part of the water coming down this particular valley
A little bit of the inflowing creek at the edge of the boulder field.

rock fall coming down to the lake
More boulders next to the lake. It actually looked like there was a flat bit of easy walking in between the two routes we took.

another view of mountains across the lake
Looking along the side of the lake, the ridge doesn't look as difficult to pass for a walk completely around the lake from here.

lake on the outflow side
A look across the bottom of Horton Lake.

As I crossed the outflow again, I came to a large pool on the side we'd managed to miss before. I stayed closer to the edge of the lake this time and, after crossing a stack of logs with willows trying to push me down into the lake, I found myself on an a chunk of old concrete. It was a small dam on the lake. Looking down, I saw the other side of the rock dam below it.

tangled fishing gear and a bit of concrete
A little of man's trash in the form of a bit of tangled line and a fishing float against the abandoned concrete dam.

flow control knobs in a concrete dam
Hidden in the weeds, but there's two big wheels for controlling the flow out of the lake here.

We broke camp and headed out for lunch in Bishop. I stopped to have a look inside one of the buildings before leaving.

fallen mining structures
Nails half an inch thick and a foot long and cable to hold it together, but it still doesn't last forever.

cupboards and table inside the open building
The inside is dark with all the shutters closed. The cupboards are stocked, probably with previous visitor's extra food. That kettle looks mighty familiar.

Then it's down, down, the long and gentle mining road to the car, then down the rough road to town.

down the valley slope into the Buttermilk Country
Looking down the valley into Buttermilk Country. The road up to Sonny Boy Mine can be seen on the mountain side.

bush with many pink flowers
Lots of flowering bushes are showing at this time of year too.

twisting road up a mountain side
The road up to a prospect on Basin Mountain. I still couldn't find where it met the one I took. Many trails seem to be being used by hikers to go between the two now.

purple flowers
A single specimen of a rather pretty purple flower.

Driving out, I kept spotting lone flowers that looked just like that very spiny Matilija poppy I found in Mono, but we didn't stop to check.

©2013 Valerie Norton
Posted 29 May 2013

1 comment:

David Stillman said...

Hey Val, I love Horton. Spent several nights in that cabin years ago. Beautiful shots. Mt Tom was fun but I hit it from above Rovana. There's a bunch of old mining tracks on the Owens side of the Peak. Big mountain. Funny thing is I don't have a single picture of Horton so thanks for bringing back some memories. DStillman.