Friday, November 23, 2012

Cirque of the Towers

Cirque of the Towers
Every man has a dream. Some dream to play professional sports, some dream to be successful businessmen, some may just dream for a quiet life, and then some people don't stop dreaming. I dream and dream big. The Cirque of the Towers promised to be one of the most majestic settings that eyes could be laid upon and late August seemed like perfect timing. As snowpack was greatly reduced from previous years we were kindly greeted to mosquitoless air, which was a delight indescribable in backcountry terms. We hiked in about 6 miles and set up base camp at Big Sandy Lake. The weather was ideal, with warm afternoons and cool nights. From our base camp we would take day hikes around the area. Big Sandy Lake provided a central location that allowed for this type of exploring, ideal to maximize time and speed. We tracked up to Black Joe Lake on our first day and it turned out to be our best fishing, just as we had expected. There are some complications that would sway ordinary fisherman away from Black Joe. There is no trail around the right side of the lake, so if you want to fish it you have to boulder hop the entire way. It may sound like a good idea, but after 2 hours of hoping and your only half way across the lake you can assure you feet and legs are going to be sore for quite some time! Another issue is Black Joe Lake is basically a wind tunnel. This makes it nearly impossible to cast. Waves were actually breaking on the lake from the winds. But we still caught a number of good cutthroats but nothing that reached 20 inches or over. After rapping up a day there we hiked back down to camp and found fishing the inlet stream to Big Sandy Lake was some fast action brook trout fishing. So each night we would settle down and have some fun in the small stream. The next day we made it up to Clear Lake. We didn't fish here but the scenery was beautiful. The third day brought on the hike to the Cirque. It would be quite a climb but we were ready for the challenge. We got on the trail early and made our way up. After climbing about 2,347,082,341 switchbacks we noticed some rain starting to set in the area. We picked up our pace and made it to the pass. The Cirque was unreal, indescribable with words or pictures. Of course it started raining about 5 minutes after we got up there so we started hightailing it back to avoid being caught on the pass in a thunderstorm. Turned out the rain passed by and it was a non issue but it did have us nervous for a while. We stopped at a couple lakes on the back and had some very good luck for some small brook trout. The next day we hiked out with a couple stops along the way for fishing. It was another great trip, one that I will never forget. Here are some pics below. Til next time...
- Dreamcatchers 
Hiking in
Camp next to a small inlet stream to Big Sandy Lake

Cutt from Black Joe

Nice one
The far side of Black Joe Lake, there was another smaller lake behind it
On the far side of Black Joe Lake
Looking back down from the far side. You can tell why it is so windy
Another Cutt!

Black Joe from the hike out. The right side is all boulder hoping


Danny and Mike with Big Sandy Lake in the background

Danny casting a line early in the morning

On the way up to the Cirque, Looking back down at Big Sandy

Weather is creeping in

Lonesome Lake below the Cirque
Colorful Brook Trout

Looking down at our campsite in the top left of the valley

Mike's hand after some filaing

Brook trout from the stream

Danny hooked up

Casting a line


Big Sandy Creek on the way out
Til Next Time