Dad and I got up early and were back to Robinson Creek by 08:00. Rumor is that the creek was planted yesterday, in the same run that planted Upper Twin Lake. We start at the bridge by Doc & Al's but it is slow. A passer-by confirms the rumor and informs us that many were catching fish the previous evening. I finally catch one upstream but after an hour, we decide to move on.
So back to the Paha campground. Here, I work the stream with little luck. After a while, I find Dad and he has caught 2 near a stump. He's not ready to leave so I go downstream a little. It takes me over an hour as I only get an occasional bite, but I finally figure out where the fish are hiding and catch 3 fish on the next three casts. It's nearing 1:00 pm, the bite has ceased, and we're both starving. Back to camp to refuel.
After lunch, Scott and I take off in search of Tamarack Lake. The lake is up at over 10,000 feet elevation and supposedly contains the famous Golden Trout, California's state fish. The map shows a 4-wheel drive trail that gets close to the lake. We take-off to explore the high country.
Initially, the dirt road is quite nice. Any 2-wheel drive vehicle could travel it with ease. About 5 miles in, the road narrows and begins a very steep climb up the mountain. This is the beginning of the 4-wheel drive trail. My truck borders on being too wide to continue on the road but with care, we squeeze through along the trail. Scott quickly masters the skills of the 4-wheel passenger, keeping both a watch on his side and my beer full as we creep slowly up the mountain at 1 - 2 miles per hour.
Because of the slow speeds and the effort required to climb, the truck overheats. So we use the opportunity to get out of the truck and check our progress while allowing time for the truck to cool.
The truck cools in about 10 minutes. We continue up the trail but are stopped a short distance later as the trail leads through a patch of trees. The trees are just too close together to get through. We abandon the truck and start walking.
Scott continues up as I stop repeatedly to catch my breath. I imagine we must be at 9500 feet or so. There's no air up here. I hadn't seen Scott for about 15 minutes when he returned from above. He said the road dead-ends and then there's a hiking trail that continues. There is a Jeep Cherokee that is parked there but no signs of any people.
While recovering back at the truck, the Jeep emerges from the forest. They stop and we ask about Tamarack Lake. They tell us that it is another 1 1/2 hour hike up from the end of the road but it's worth the walk as the lake is beautiful. To hell with beauty, we want the fish. But the sun is already low in the sky so this adventure will have to be continued on another day.
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