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John Guilford's Hikes

Gothic Basin on 1991-10-13

Date: 1991-10-13

Location: Gothic Basin

People: (including myself): Just me

			My Alt.	Real Alt.
Barlow Pass:	11:15	2200
Trail Head:	11:40	2400
Basin Entrance:	1:30	5000
Weden Lake:	1:50	5200
Foggy Lake:	2:10	5400
Leave Lake:	3:10	5400
Leave Basin:	3:45	5200
Trail Head:	5:30	2400
Barlow Pass:	5:50	2400
The weather was perfect today, not too hot, and not too cold, with an absolutely cloudless sky.  Most of the plants around here don't turn colors in the Fall, but those that do, were really decked out You have to park at Barlow Pass (which was quite crowded) and hike in a mile along the old Monte Cristo road which gets pretty crowded with mountain bikes.  Just before the river crossing, find the trailhead on the right.  There is also an outhouse here, if needed.  The trail is labeled "Weden Creek".  The first bit isn't bad as it parallels the river.  The trail was mostly in pretty good shape, but there were a couple of deep muddy spots that were hard to get around.  There is a small stream to cross (which was tricky the last time I was here, but was trivial now, due to the low water).  After a bit the trail leaves the river and starts a relentless grind up and across the hillside.  The sign at the trailhead states that Gothic Basin is three miles.  That's gaining 3000 feet in 3 miles, or averages about a 20% grade.  The trail is rocky, but in good shape, with a couple of large logs to go over or around.  After gaining altitude, the trail breaks out of the forest, and goes through more brushy/small trees.  You cross a series of 3 small streams flowing down their own ravines.  Later, you cross a stream below "King Kong's Shower" which is rather picturesque.  Several places along the trail you can see artifacts from the old mines: a length of rusty pipe that used to be buried under the trail, several old mill ponds (one with a wooden exit sluice).  Nearer the top, the trail is rockier.  Eventually, you pop into the basin itself.  Here I made a mistake.  There are footpaths through the heather that go everywhere around the basin.  It is easy to get yourself confused.  If you want to go up into the upper basin and Foggy Lake you should bear right and up (toward's Del Campo).  I turned more left, and headed down into the lower basin.  This leads a ways until you get near the edge of the basin where is drops off into the valley.  There is a rather interesting cleft with the outflow from the basin running in the bottom.  I climbed down into the cleft, crossed it, and then headed up towards the upper basin (although, at the time, I didn't realize that I almost turned around).  I came up to Weden lake where there were a number of people sitting around.  I continued past them (this is all on rock, now) a bit and found a rock to eat my second sandwich (I ate my first one on the road from Barlow Pass to the trailhead).  I had about an hour before I figured that I need to turn around and was debating whether to try to climb Del Campo or not.  After looking at the map and using my compass, I found out that the peak that I thought was Del Campo wasn't, and that Del Campo was more behind me (out of sight behind rocks).  I continued up and found myself at Foggy lake, which fills the upper basin below Del Campo and Gothic Peak.  The lake was thawed out, but there were several good sized snow fields around.  I decided that I probably didn't have time to climb the peak, and also that I really didn't want to, that I'd rather just sit in the sun and enjoy the day.  The basin was in the sun and there were no people up at Foggy lake.  I ate another apple, found a nice flat rock, pulled out my sweatshirt for a pillow and laid back to enjoy the day.  A couple times a breeze came up (which was cool since my shirt was pretty sweaty) so I put my Gore-Tex on to block the wind.  I think I actually dozed off in the sun (which is something I normally don't do).  There were no bugs there, and the sun made interesting shadows on the rocks.  The whole basin was made for wandering around and exploring.  There is a lot of rock which would make for good scrambling or climbing.  Although it would be a pain carrying a pack up the trail, I think that would be one of the nicer places to backpack to, although I think you'd want to do it after Labor Day and preferably mid-week, as I believe it gets a lot of usage.  I spent about an hour sitting in the sun and watching some climbers come down from Del Campo.  I was hoping they were going to wander my way, as I wanted to ask them about it, but they didn't.  On my way out, I took the more scenic route (not by choice - I was still confused about the layout of the basin) through the lower basin.  At the bottom of the lower basin there are several camp sites, but no trail out.  After looking around a bit, I headed back up to the middle of the basin where I found the outlet trail and went down.  I was a bit out of shape for not having done any serious hiking for a couple months, and for a while I thought that my knee might give me some trouble.  It turns out that the knee was fine.  I made it out earlier than I had originally planned which was okay as the sun had gone behind the mountains and it was beginning to get chilly.  All in all, a very fine hike. 


[ PIX1 ] Gothic Basin

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