TR Summit City Canyon

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JBenz
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Mokelumne

Post by JBenz » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:45 pm

My wife and I just completed my dream of 30 years of hiking from Hermit Valley on Hwy 4 to Salt Springs reservoir. We got out yesterday Sept 4, 2017 after 6 days of never seeing a soul or sign. When we joined the old "Pack Trail" (Alpine to Summit City via Camp Irene) at Cole Creek, we were relieved to find well marked yet untrod trail to Camp Irene. The old crossings at Camp Irene appear to still be easy. At least from our junction, that route appears 'relatively' used and very well marked.

I would like to hear from others who have done Hwy4 to Salt Springs about routes from Monte's to the old "Pack Trail". Of all my google earth options, this was the most brutal.

JBenz








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Vaca Russ
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Re: Mokelumne

Post by Vaca Russ » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:18 am

JBenz wrote:My wife and I just completed my dream of 30 years of hiking from Hermit Valley on Hwy 4 to Salt Springs reservoir. JBenz
Did you see any rattlesnakes or poison oak?

:D

Thanks,

-Russ
"...Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host and then a master?"

Kahil Gibran.

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JBenz
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Re: TR Summit City Canyon

Post by JBenz » Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:16 pm

I just want to say I appreciated your photo's and description. My wife and I did a solo (duo?) through hike from Highway 4 to Salt Springs about the same time. I am also curious about the your mention of a trail ranger. Is the Forest Service attempting to open it up again and if so who is the contact?

JBenz

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Re: TR Summit City Canyon

Post by balzaccom » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:27 am

This project was organized by the local ranger station. PM me if you want the contact info.
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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JBenz
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Re: Mokelumne

Post by JBenz » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:54 am

Vaca Russ wrote:
JBenz wrote:My wife and I just completed my dream of 30 years of hiking from Hermit Valley on Hwy 4 to Salt Springs reservoir. JBenz
Did you see any rattlesnakes or poison oak?
:D
Thanks,
-Russ
Russ,
Sorry to get back so late but I've been cramming it in this summer. Maybe this will help you next season.

There is very little poison oak along the river or in the granite upstream of Blue Hole. My wife is very sensitive and never had problems above Blue Hole. But we both recognize and avoid it. There are spots where its heavy on the trail around Salt Springs reservoir. The Forest Service has cleared the worst place.

As for snakes. We saw no snakes this year. Even though it is known by some as rattlesnake canyon, I've only seen 3 snakes and been told about 2 others (I can't hear them) over the fifty or more trips I've done into the Moke. I just maintain a rapid pace and keep tapping the hiking pole before stepping over logs.
Jason

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TehipiteTom
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Re: TR Summit City Canyon

Post by TehipiteTom » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:42 pm

Somehow I missed this...great report about an interesting area.

I've never done Summit City Canyon but I've been to Devil's Corral on a couple of trips with Max, from which you can look a ways down Summit City Canyon. Devil's Corral would make a great not-too-long detour from a Summit City Canyon trip.

I've also wondered if it would be feasible to go off-trail from Grouse Lake (another spot that doesn't get a ton of traffic) to Summit City Creek, and make a loop that way.

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gplhiker
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Re: TR Summit City Canyon

Post by gplhiker » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:57 pm

Hi TehipiteTom -
I spent a lot of time this summer in the Mokelumne Wilderness with the ranger who organized this outing, and we actually discussed that thought of dropping down from Grouse Lake into Summit City Canyon. One of his coworkers did this about 20 years ago, and related that it was very difficult and required a number of backtracking course changes to make it down successfully. I guess in other words it is possible, but definitely not recommended.
However, if you ever do it, I'd love to hear all about it. For me, the chance of running into a rattler while doing a rock scramble is reason enough for me to live vicariously through others on this one...
Greg

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mokelumnekid
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Re: TR Summit City Canyon

Post by mokelumnekid » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:08 pm

JBenz, A bit off topic but I have been down a lot of the Mokelumne Canyon starting at Hermit Valley (my family has one of the few cabins there, the oldest, so I started going down in the '60's when I was a teenager). I have been on what much must have been Monte's route and at times it goes well above the river. It is a brutal bushwhack, hot, snakes, stiff manzanita as you know. Most of that is all gone now back to nature. But an amazing canyon. There are some shortcuts, but those are kinda private info ;-) These days I'm more fascinated by the people that kayak it, regarded as one of America's premier multiday hard paddles, collectively referred to as Fantasy Falls.

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JBenz
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Re: TR Summit City Canyon

Post by JBenz » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:25 pm

mokelumnekid wrote:JBenz, A bit off topic but I have been down a lot of the Mokelumne Canyon starting at Hermit Valley (my family has one of the few cabins there, the oldest, so I started going down in the '60's when I was a teenager). I have been on what much must have been Monte's route and at times it goes well above the river. It is a brutal bushwhack, hot, snakes, stiff manzanita as you know. Most of that is all gone now back to nature. But an amazing canyon. There are some shortcuts, but those are kinda private info ;-) These days I'm more fascinated by the people that kayak it, regarded as one of America's premier multiday hard paddles, collectively referred to as Fantasy Falls.

Having spent 30 plus years exploring the canyon myself as in and outs, following the river in and finding alternates out, I finally did a through hike from Hwy 4 to Salt Springs reservoir with my wife this last August. It was a wonderful hike, not seeing another soul for six days. Even better, based on the flood debris in the fire pits at the 4 fixed camp sites, it did not appear any one had been in the middle canyon this year. Have you ever done the through hike or more importantly have you ever hiked from Monte's to the Summit City drainage? I would like to do another through hike but it's always a trade off between finding the fastest vs the most interesting route to maximize the time spent exploring and fishing. How is following and crisscrossing the river down stream from Monte's to Summit City creek vs going up? Going up as high as the third pass on river right was less than desirable.
jbenz

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TehipiteTom
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Re: TR Summit City Canyon

Post by TehipiteTom » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:07 pm

gplhiker wrote:Hi TehipiteTom -
I spent a lot of time this summer in the Mokelumne Wilderness with the ranger who organized this outing, and we actually discussed that thought of dropping down from Grouse Lake into Summit City Canyon. One of his coworkers did this about 20 years ago, and related that it was very difficult and required a number of backtracking course changes to make it down successfully. I guess in other words it is possible, but definitely not recommended.
However, if you ever do it, I'd love to hear all about it. For me, the chance of running into a rattler while doing a rock scramble is reason enough for me to live vicariously through others on this one...
Greg
Thanks for the info! Sounds like it's probably more trouble than it's worth, though it's good to know it is doable if I feel the urge...

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