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Cali Duck
08-14-2013, 10:18 AM
Some friends and I backpacked up Horsetail Falls this past weekend to Pyramid Peak and Ropi Lake. The climb was pretty grueling, it is not for the faint of heart or those with leg injuries. Its only about 1000-1500ft elevation change, but I feel like it is straight up boulders and rocks. I had hiked it in the past without a backpack, and boy what a difference 50lbs on your back will make...

We started the hike around 8:30am and followed the cairns up the trail. We stopped as we pleased and took our time getting up the mountain, we were in no rush to get to the top.
The sights were beautiful all the way up:

http://i.imgur.com/WaIwuCYh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/nGPkKDyh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/WSiqT1wh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/rx9RN7jh.jpg

We reached the top after about 3 hours or so. We stumbled across a dad and his two sons who were looking for the same lake, so we led the way. One of the boys was an avid fishermen and got very excited to see some fellow anglers with rods strapped to their packs. He was inquisitive, but not the annoying neighbors kid like his little brother...who continued to follow us the remainder of that day. We could have drowned him, he wouldn't leave us alone! haha

Once we separated from them, we setup camp near Ropi Lake, cracked our first bottle of Jim Beam, and got to fishin. We all started off with some powerbait. My buddy Dan was the first to hook up and what a first fish! 12" Brook Trout

http://i.imgur.com/5UlbCq5h.jpg


This was the largest fish of the trip. It swallowed the powerbait/hook, but was still very active. We decided to give it a chance to survive/reproduce and let it go. Dan hooked up shortly after for a 8-9" brook trout that was gut hooked as well, which we kept. Fish #2 for Dan within an hour of being there, while my buddy JR and I still had nothing to show. Dan's winning with the biggest fish and the most fish!

http://i.imgur.com/HcoD6bUh.jpg

The bite slowed throughout the afternoon, so we took a break from fishing and did some swimming, ate some lunch wraps, and polished off the bottle of Jim Beam by sunset. Back to fishin!

This time it was my turn to hook one. In lieu of powerbait and risking more gut hooks, we switched to lures. I used a gold kastmaster and got lucky! 2 fish on just after sunset:

http://i.imgur.com/agSWJEwh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/Qanz8Sdh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/ureud71h.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/t7hRk56h.jpg

That was the end of our fishing that day. We continued on to another bottle of whiskey and ate a delicious fajita burrito meal. Definitely not your traditional back packing meal. We played some cards and awaited the start of the perseid meteor shower.

Interesting story, a solo backpacker approached our camp asking where the trail head was around 7pm. We pointed him in the right direction and asked if he planned on heading down that night. He responded that he had just heard a pop in his calf and had a bum knee. He was concerned he wouldn't make it down the following morning due to swelling so he decided to go on down. We encouraged him to camp and wait til morning but he was set on going down. We wished him the best of luck and are still wondering today if he made it down successfully. We did see search/rescue choppers quite a bit while up there, hope it wasn't for him...

Night falls...

I have never seen as many shooting stars in my life! The view from up there was incredible, with not a light to be seen nearby. One shooting star had a long tail on it, wish we could have got a photo of that one. Here's a great shot of the milky way:

http://i.imgur.com/eC8twLch.jpg

The following morning, I woke up to the sunrise and decided to go for the tie breaker and get my 3rd fish before Dan even woke up. NO LUCK! Saw a few trout swim by, but no takers on my lures. We ate some breakfast burritos as well as that trout we kept from the day before. Delicious!! The meat was very pink, much like a salmon.

We hiked around the lake and found a good spot to shoot. We got off around 50 rounds or so before we felt it a bit dangerous with some ricochets:

http://i.imgur.com/2AOGpLjh.jpg

After shooting some, we tried a few different spots around the lake for some more fishing. Good ole Dan beat me to the punch and got his 3rd trout. Released it and a handshake was given to the victor for most fish and largest caught.

We proceeded back down the mountain and after some steep declines, we successfully made it down in about 3 hours or so. Very cool seeing some other hikers, some with dogs who were fun to watch getting up/down the boulders. Some assistance from their owners was given, but they looked good.

What a trip! Hiking, Camping, Fishing, Shooting, Whiskey, Friends and Shooting Stars...what more can one ask for in life...

XPL051v3
08-14-2013, 05:05 PM
Sounds like a great trip! I love the colors on that brook trout, truly amazing! Thanks for the report.

-Xzi

Cali Duck
08-15-2013, 10:56 AM
Sounds like a great trip! I love the colors on that brook trout, truly amazing! Thanks for the report.

-Xzi

I'd never seen a brook trout until this trip! Awesome colorations, the picture doesn't do it justice...