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Sequoia Trip Advice

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:54 pm
by AdirondackMike
Hello all,

I am planning a brief backpacking trip to Sequoia in early July and am unfamiliar with the area. I am not married to this area or even this park. I am looking for advice, suggestions, or alternatives to my proposed trip. I will be hiking with my wife and a friend.

Our level of backpacking experience is a 3-4 and we are comfortable with class 1-2 terrain and reasonable river crossings. Our main interests are: Lakes, Forests, and Big Mountain Scenery. The trip will be 3 days and 2 nights. I'd like to keep the daily mileage below at or below 10. We prefer loops, have no dog, and will be driving up from San Luis Obispo so shorter travel distances from there is a plus. Mainly we just want relative solitude and beautiful scenery.

So here is the plan

Day 1: Get necessary permits and arrive at Rowell Meadow trailhead around 10am. Hike south over JO Pass and then East to Twin Lakes. Set up Camp.
Day 2: Ascend Silliman pass. Stash overnight gear and explore Twin Peaks, or if we are feeling adventurous attempt to climb Mount Silliman (class 2-3). Descend East side of Silliman Pass to either Ranger Lake or Lost Lake depending on time/energy.
Day 3: Return to Rowell Meadow trailhead, amount of meandering dependent on time/energy.

Or do it in the reverse direction and camp a night at Seville or Lost lake first.

Also, I'm fully expecting the mosquitoes to be viscous wherever we go and I guess we'll just be ready for them.

So, how does this sound?

Thanks in advance for all advice or suggestions!

- Mike

Re: Sequoia Trip Advice

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:35 pm
by oldranger

Depending how early in July you are right about skeeters. Your plan is about the only 2 night loop I know of. The area between Silliman Pass and lost lake is the most interesting. When high you will get some views of the Great Western Divide and the upper reaches of the sugarloaf creek drainage. Rowell Meadow has the worst skeeters in the area. If you are skilled at cross country travel it is an easy cross country jaunt between Ranger, Lost, and Seville Lakes--much more interesting travel than by trail.



Re: Sequoia Trip Advice

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:43 pm
by maverick
Hi Mike,

Welcome to HST!
It sounds like a great trip. Lost Lake to me is the highlight of the area, and Seville is
pretty nice too.
Here is TR from earlier this year: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7681&p=55418&hilit=lost+lake#p55418" onclick=";return false;

Re: Sequoia Trip Advice

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 pm
by AlmostThere
FYI, all documentation suggests that you get a permit for Sequoia if you are starting in Jennie Lake Wilderness, but, I anticipate that the park ranger will shrug you off. There are no permits needed for Jennie trailheads.

If you haven't been to that area before, the signage is confusing for the road. The most obvious indication for the turnoff to the trailhead off the Generals Highway is a big sign that says Big Meadow Horse Corral. There is another sign visible after you make the turn that lists other destinations on that road.

Re: Sequoia Trip Advice

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:26 am
by AdirondackMike
Thanks for the information! I really appreciate it.

oldranger - when you say rowell meadow has the worst skeeters do you mean the whole area including the loop i am proposing? do you think they would be noticeably better somewhere else?
It also looks to me like Mineral King --> Sawtooth Pass --> Big Five Lakes --> Little Five Lakes --> Blackrock pass would be a nice trip to do in 3 days. Does Mineral King have a better reputation for mosquitoes than Rowell Meadows?

A couple more questions. Does anyone know if there are suitable campsites on ridges on the Rowell Meadow loop if the skeeters are terrible down by the lakes? Perhaps even at the top of Silliman pass?

Also, I read on an earlier thread that there are now bear boxes in the backcountry. I am having trouble locating a map of where specifically they are. Does anyone have a map that shows where they are?

Re: Sequoia Trip Advice

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:44 am
by AlmostThere
There's a list of bear boxes on the SEKI website somewhere, I think.

There will be none until you get to Twin Lakes on your route. You should have the bear can anyway, gives you freedom to camp elsewhere when the site with the locker is very busy - which is why they have the bear boxes at those locations, it's popular and so the bears are worse there. there's only one box at Twin and it would be easy to fill it, people don't always pack small....

I wouldn't rely on predictions or guesses - just go prepared for mosquitoes. People tell me that there will be lots and there are few, other times there's a ton in some spot that I expect none. I debated camping on Silliman - it's a nice flat top ridge.

Re: Sequoia Trip Advice

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:29 am
by maverick
Mineral King may have even more mosquitoes. No one can tell you which area will
have more mosquitoes, it changes from year to year, and even within the season itself.
Have been through the 5 Little Lakes area in July when it was a level 5.
Would not recommend doing the MK Loop in 2 nights, you'll have a lot of elevation
gain/loss, climbing Sawtooth Pass will waste you. There is just to much to enjoy and see
which you would miss if you tried to cram it into two nights if you could.
The Silliman Loop is much more laid back, a lot less elevation gain/loss which makes it
doable, unlike the MK Loop.
Here are the bear box location in SEKI NP:" onclick=";return false;

Re: Sequoia Trip Advice

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:26 am
by oldranger
I can't imagine anyplace on the west side over 8000 feet without mosquitoes the first week in July. Two places to camp in the area that might be a little better than others in the area is The ranger campsite about 100 yards ne of the ne corner of ranger lake. If there are just the locked bear boxes but no camp set up it is a nice flat, dry spot to camp. It is a long distance from the public bear boxes however (near se end of lake) so you probably should bring your own canisters. The other place that is relatively high and dry is Upper Sheepcamp lake but again no bear box. The top of the moraine on the east side of Lost Lake is another alternative and it is relatively close to the bear box. Regardless of where you camp though there will be skeeters the first week of July but I suspect they will drop off soon after. Rowell Meadow is likely to have skeeters all summer.


Re: Sequoia Trip Advice

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:16 am
by maverick
Good call on the Sheep Camp Lakes Mike, but since OP mentioned bear boxes did
not mention those lakes. I personally do not care much for Ranger Lake, and like
Mike says there are better location to camp than near the bear boxes, like the
Sheep Camp Lakes area. You really should consider taking a bear canisters it just gives
you so much more freedom to choose a good campsite, and since your going out
for such a short time the weight will not be a big deal.

Re: Sequoia Trip Advice

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:43 pm
by maverick
PM sent