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Water Crossings in Mineral King

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Water Crossings in Mineral King

Postby Sherri » Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:18 am

Hi all! I'm not sure if this board is inclusive of lower elevation trails in Mineral King, so let me know if I should look elsewhere. Next week I am taking an out of town friend, non-hiker, first time backpacker, on a trip in Mineral King. Originally, we were to do a 10 day trip on the PCT, but the heavy snow season put an end to that. I then got a permit for the Atwell-Hockett trail (in) and Tar Gap trail (out). I saw two differing reports from a couple of weeks ago about the Horse Creek water level. One said it was at knee level and the other said waist level. No info on how strong the current was. I'm hoping to find something more recent about the water crossings along these two trails. I had planned to hike to Hockett Meadow on Atwell-Hockett trail, maybe to Evelyn Lake, and then back to Cold Springs Campground on Tar Gap trail. Any help with finding this info would be great. Tried calling the ranger station but I think they are out a lot. Thanks!



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Re: Water Crossings in Mineral King

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:30 am

It could be that both reports are true. If you arrive at a stream in the afternoon, it will be higher than it was in the morning. You can see a fluctuation of more than a foot if you sit next to a creek and keep measuring.

I was in Garfield Grove overnight a few weeks ago and the rangers warned me the south fork was uncrossable, and Garfield Creek was dangerous. This is a year when even insignificant streams can be significant.

I would take your friend to Jennie Lake, in Jennie Lake Wilderness, instead. It's higher elevation and the trail won't be as hot as the lower trails in Atwell Mill. There are no dangerous streams -- I was there recently and saw that firsthand. And you don't need a permit. If you intend to continue into the park, you'll get a permit from the park but it can be out into Roaring River and one of the canyons then back, without high passes or major river crossings without bridges.
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Re: Water Crossings in Mineral King

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:42 am

Hi Sherri,

Welcome to HST! :)

SEKI NP:

Atwell/Hockett Trail

6/30 - Hockett to Blossom Lake not stock passble. Ok by foot, many downed trees with intermittent snow.

6/25 - Horse Creek waist deep in afternoons, -impassable- mornings. Log crossing has not been confirmed.


https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/trailcond.htm

Call to get more recent updates. (559) 565-3341
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Water Crossings in Mineral King

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:44 am

The watershed above the trail crossing of Horse Creek is relatively small, relatively low elevation and west-facing. I suspect that peak runoff has passed. Reports from two weeks ago do not mean a lot now. Knee high vs waist high can depend on the time of day the creek is crossed as well as the height of the backpacker. The only way you can know, is just to go out and do it (or not, and retreat). Also, you do not have to cross exactly where the trail crosses. Most crossings are located where it is easiest for horses, not people. Smooth bottom is more important for horses than depth. Spend time to scout for the best crossing, and then do it at low flows (mid-morning to noon).

Crossing SF Keweah south of Hocket Lakes may be a more significant crossing. Not sure if that is on your route.

I did Farewell Gap from Mineral King on 4th July of a heavy snow year, and then up over Shotgun Pass. None of the creeks were difficult to cross. A snow cornice had to be climbed on the east side of Franklin Pass. I do not recall any really hard crossing of the creek from Franklin Lake. (I did read that a few years ago someone actually fell through a snow bridge crossing Franklin Creek and was trapped under the snow). That loop was at a higher elevation. The Little Kern (which I did not have to cross) was swift and rocky but relatively shallow. That is the only area nearby that I am familiar with, and early season creek crossings.
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Re: Water Crossings in Mineral King

Postby Sherri » Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:56 am

I had actually looked at Jennie Lake Wilderness a while back. I recently saw someone's report that it was wet along the trail, can't remember which trail, though. I love Mineral King and thought that since it's further south we wouldn't need to worry about snow. Thought the snow melt would be less by mid-July, too. Might need to reconsider, now. Have you done the Jennie and Weaver Lakes Loop? That was one I had looked at. Thanks for your input, AlmostThere.
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Re: Water Crossings in Mineral King

Postby Sherri » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:05 pm

maverick wrote:Hi Sherri,

Welcome to HST! :)

SEKI NP:

Atwell/Hockett Trail

6/30 - Hockett to Blossom Lake not stock passble. Ok by foot, many downed trees with intermittent snow.

6/25 - Horse Creek waist deep in afternoons, -impassable- mornings. Log crossing has not been confirmed.


https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/trailcond.htm

Call to get more recent updates. (559) 565-3341





Thank you! (I don't know how to do the quotes on here)
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Re: Water Crossings in Mineral King

Postby Sherri » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:19 pm

AlmostThere wrote:It could be that both reports are true. If you arrive at a stream in the afternoon, it will be higher than it was in the morning. You can see a fluctuation of more than a foot if you sit next to a creek and keep measuring.

I was in Garfield Grove overnight a few weeks ago and the rangers warned me the south fork was uncrossable, and Garfield Creek was dangerous. This is a year when even insignificant streams can be significant.

I would take your friend to Jennie Lake, in Jennie Lake Wilderness, instead. It's higher elevation and the trail won't be as hot as the lower trails in Atwell Mill. There are no dangerous streams -- I was there recently and saw that firsthand. And you don't need a permit. If you intend to continue into the park, you'll get a permit from the park but it can be out into Roaring River and one of the canyons then back, without high passes or major river crossings without bridges.



I had actually looked at Jennie Lake Wilderness a while back. I recently saw someone's report that it was wet along the trail, can't remember which trail, though. I love Mineral King and thought that since it's further south we wouldn't need to worry about snow. Thought the snow melt would be less by mid-July, too. Might need to reconsider, now. Have you done the Jennie and Weaver Lakes Loop? That was one I had looked at. Thanks for your input.
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Re: Water Crossings in Mineral King

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:24 pm

I'm pretty sure the trails in Jennie are dry, to drier. Only poop out pass had lingering snow when I went. There may be patches in deep shade but it's been incredibly warm out there.

They also replaced the bridge at the main trailhead -- it's a beautiful one.

They were working on the road past the Big Meadows trailhead, that too may be done if you want to access other trailheads such as Marvin Pass. Call Sequoia NF (Hume I think is the right office) for an updated report. Rowell Meadow is the one I favor to head out to Ranger/Lost/Seville lakes.
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Re: Water Crossings in Mineral King

Postby Sherri » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:07 pm

So, just got through to the Mineral King ranger station. Very happy to report that all water crossings are no more than shin deep now. I think it's a go! Thank you so much for all of your thoughts and info.
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