Kerrick Canyon to Benson Lake
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This trip is a out and back trip over 40 miles and took us 4 days. So far my most favorite hike to date.

The Drive to Bridgeport
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With Ben and I driving from the East Bay Area, and Steve and Pam from Sacramento, we planned on meeting at Bridgeport to pickup last minute supplies, checkin with the ranger station and if time permitted some R&R in one of Bridgeports many fine eating and drinking establishments.

Bridgeport is a small quaint town but has everything one would need. Grocery store, gas station, food, and outdoor supllies. Don't forget to check out one of the few thrift shops as you might stumble upon some hidden gems.

Before we left we made sure to reserve a few bear canisters from's Ken's Sporting Goods and with time left in the day we began our search for the towns bests bar. We found them both.

After a few rounds and a few games of really poor billiards, Steve and Pam finally drove in to town and enjoyed a carbo-loaded spaghetti dinner. Not too bad.

It was getting dark and not really understanding where we had to go, and we decided to make the run to the backpackers car lot where we would spend the night in the cars to awake for an early departure.

Waking up in Mono Village
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The night before we drove a few miles into Annett's Mono Village to crash out.

What seemed like a 2 minute sleep in the back of a 4-Runner with another snoring dude is not the way to start a pretty major hiking trip. Creeping out of the truck like zombies, we awoke at daybreak to a great view of the small lake we drove into the night before.

We started the trip by landing some eggs and coffee at the cafe on the camps grounds. A delightful way to start things off I'd say!

After the light breakfast and paying for keeping the car in the lot for a few days we headed through the camper and motorcycle infested campground to the trailhead. 

Short Hike to Barney Lake
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After leaving the Barney Lake Trailhead within Mono Lake's great campground, travel West along some brushy trails that also sometimes is shared by locals and tourists on horses.

About 4.5 miles in you will reach Barney Lake and is a great place to stop for lunch. Sandy beaches were startling but is a only a precursor to what we are in store for ahead.

Passing Cirque Mountain
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Leaving Barney Lake's 8290 Ft elevation shoreline you will reach Robinson Creek. After hiking through a dense forest you will be aquainted with the runoff of Peeler Lake.

Take a quick break here because you are about to enter switch back hell. A pretty intense elevation increase in not a whole lot of time. This is where having hiking poles would have been a life saver.

Banks of Peeler Lake
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After nearly 8 grueling miles at an elevation of over 9200 ft, we came across a magnificient view. Peeler Lake.

After a short hike around the lake we found a campsite fit for kings. We decided to take a break and decide what to do next. Carry on or stop here for the night.

Setting up Camp
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After such a long day hiking, we decided to call it a day at Peeler Lake. There was talk prior to the trip that we would shoot for Arndt Lake on day 1, but after those switchbacks we all agreed that would be a baaad idea.

It takes awhile to get used to the elevation, and nearly found myself falling over when I stood up too fast. No Joke.

There is enough space on the North Shore for over 8 tents in groupings with two fire pits. The pits where a great morale booster and firewood was plenty. To end the night with cigars and "Girl Scout Cookies" otherwise known as hot cocoa and peppermint schnapps we knew we made the right choice to stay.

It wasn't until that evening we found out Ben's shoe was giving him bad blisters that would prove to be a sore spot on the trip for him.

Kerrick Meadows
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Day 2 starts out rather easily as we stroll on through the Buckeye Pass through the Kerrick Meadows.

Sandy Trenches
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Dwarf Bilberry showers the canyon floor in a sea of red pocked bushes.

Hiking in an often 2 foot deep rut will keep you busy for a while and when you aren't in the rut, its dredging through sand that will surely tire the legs. Again, hiking poles would have helped. Staring at Steve and Pam using theirs solidifies the fact that when I get home I am buying some.

Almost 10 miles from the Benson Lake Trail head the canyon begins to turn into Rancheria Creek.

PCT
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Out of Rancheria's creek you turn into PCT towards Seavey Pass. Some tough hill climbs are ahead but soon you will see what the fuss is all about.

Benson Lake
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Now 2.75 miles from Seavey Pass is the half mile Benson Lake trail that takes you to the highlight of the entire trip, Benson Lake.

Sandy beaches, great campsites and enough Brown and Brook Trout to pass around. A true anglers paradise, Benson Lake has it all.

Of course it has to come at a price and that price is blood. Between the four of us we all had blisters and hot spots that would prove to be a real bummer later on in the trip.

Setting up Camp
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Nestled in the tree line of the warm sandy beach is a nice campsite and fire ring.

After setting up our camp the first thing we wanted to do was to walk around the lake in search of the best fishing spot.

Facing the lake from our site we went left along some steep cliffs. It seemed like a great place to fish as it is very deep there but only Steve caught a fish there and we moved on.

Evenings on the Trail
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As the sun set on us in the little Benson Lake Valley, we had one fish to cook for dinner along with our other rations. The fish was simply delicious and I knew I had to catch more, lots more.

The evening was spent talking about what the first thing we were going to eat was once we made it back.

Every one of us included a cold beer in our special meal.

Perfect Morning
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Waking up at sunrise to get a jumpstart on fishing proved to be one of the best ideas of the trip.

Wading in the shallow waters directly in front of our site we began pulling in some of the largest High Sierra Trout I've seen.

Not only did everyone caught fish, we caught so many we were throwing back 12in fish! 

Midday Feast
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After fishing all morning we were both hungry and ready for a quick dip. The water was frigid, but refreshing.

Each of us cleaned off and headed back to camp to a roaring fire all ready for our mornings catch. It was a great lunch needless to say for our first layover day at Benson Lake and kicked off a great afternoon full of relaxation.

Exploring
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After lunch and a quick nap :) we each went our separate ways around the lake.

Always within ear shot, we explored on our own around the lake.

Last Afternoon at Benson
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As the sun began to set on the last day at Benson we again tried our luck at pulling out some Brown Trout for dinner.

We only managed to pull in two or three but it was a great way to watch the sun go down, quite relaxing.

Hike Out
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The next morning we again caught a few choice fish for breakfast and started our way out of the lake area.

Retracing our steps back, we jumped back onto the PCT to Seavey Pass and the crystal clear pools.

These were perfect when we began to overheat and needed a quick splash in the alpine water.

Kerrick Canyon Trail
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Once again on the trail we stopped for more pictures when the sandy trail was giving our poor blistered feet problems.

Returning to Peeler Lake
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Peeler Lake the second time was a bit more crowded this time around.

There were two other couples that now had spots in the site and as neighborly as we were, we invited them over for coffee and mallows at our last nights campfire.

Interestingly enough, one of the guys we met lived on the same street as the one Pam grew up on. Small world!

Barney Lake Trail
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Back on the Barney Lake Trail, we powered through the last stretch on our way to the vehicles.

We were ready to get back to civilization mainly just to get real food.

Hey we all can have our vices right?

Barney Lake and Out
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Not even stopping to say goodbye to Barney Lake, we hustled out and back into town, time enough to catch the remaining morning football games over a greesy burger and a beer.