Backpacking SEKI in June

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SSSdave
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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by SSSdave » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:56 am

Image

We get these same early season questions every year. One could save some time by searching for threads during big snow years 2011 and 2017.

Crabtree is at 7150. If you just go one day in to Grouse or Bear, you would likely be below the snow line. Lakes beyond that are above 8k and require crossing Cherry Creek that is likely to be swollen. I did the below linked trip into Emigrant in 2017 at that time and this year there is more snow at those elevations with long term forecasts now showing continued storms moving across the Pacific through March so could get deeper. The above image shows what it looked like at 8k and more pics on the link.

http://www.davidsenesac.com/2017_Trip_C ... 17-12.html

There simply are few lakes in the Sierra Nevada below 7k because most lakes are about glacial granitoid scoured bedrock regions that have not yet been filled in with sediments that tend to be at higher elevations where ancient glaciers were deep enough to scour. One of the few areas at those lower elevations is Emigrant and northwest Yosemite. Another is far north in the Yuba basin along the Bowman Road. The traditional lowest lake destinations are out of Hetch Hetchy to Kibbie and Vernon, both of which are scenic with good rainbow trout fishing.








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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by wildhiker » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:50 pm

SSSDave mentions lower elevation lakes "far north in the Yuba basin along the Bowman Road". This is commonly called the Grouse Lakes roadless area located just north of Interstate 80 in the Tahoe National Forest. It has many lakes in granite settings at around 7000 foot elevation. It has gentle relief and is popular with families. It also gets deep snows. If this year ends up like 2011 or 2017, I wouldn't count on trails being free of snow at Grouse Lakes in June. We have a cabin nearby, so we visit it frequently for day hikes. Looking through my photos, I see that we didn't do any hikes there in June in 2011 or 2017. By mid-July both years, it was mostly free of snow with beautiful wildflowers. One problem with Grouse Lakes is that the trailheads are all at the ends of long dirt roads that are not plowed. You have to wait for them to melt out. The lowest trailhead on the shortest dirt road is Loney Meadow at 6000 feet. On the plus side, it is not designated Wilderness and you do not need a Wilderness permit to backpack there - just a California Campfire permit, which you can get online after watching a short fire safety video.
-Phil

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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by rightstar76 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:03 am

Dustybottoms21, if you end up doing Plan C, since you'll be entering the Golden Trout Wilderness from Sequoia National Forest, getting a permit last minute should be easy:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sequoia/ ... ev3_059517

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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by dustybottoms21 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:40 pm

You guys rock. Many thanks for all the great intel you’ve provided so far. I’ll check out the above referenced info and that link to the trip report later tonight or tomorrow.

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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by Lumbergh21 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:40 pm

oldranger wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:35 am
Just reviewed snowfall records for the years I was backcountry ranger in Roaring river drainage. The only years I was unable to get into Roaring River/Sugarloaf/ranger lakes on foot by June 1 were years where Mammoth Mt recorded over 400 inches of snow. If the gates along the big meadow road are unlocked You should have no trouble hiking into ranger lakes by mid-June if snow fall total at Mammoth Main lodge is less than 400 inches for the season. If over 500 inches best wait until July!
Thank goodness my Plan B for the summer starts up in Yosemite in late July, finishing down at Whitney a few weeks later since the Mamoth Lodge is sitting at 364 inches as of February 20.

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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by dustybottoms21 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:14 am

So let's assume the absolute worst and we end up somewhere close to 500 inches and we still want to stick with mid-June. Would that basically preclude us from doing Rowell Meadow to Ranger and the other lakes but would we still likely be ok to do a loop in Emigrant Wilderness starting at Crabtree? Based on previous posts, it sounds like the only thing we would really need to worry about with this route would be the crossing of Cherry Creek? Which is still about 9 miles from the trailhead with the option (I think) to do some cross country hiking short of the creek if we wanted to add additional miles

In other words, do we really need a plan C?

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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by c9h13no3 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:02 am

dustybottoms21 wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:14 am
In other words, do we really need a plan C?
Plans change. I think the Emigrant or Yosemite is slowly becoming your plan A as the winter gets bigger. A fire like last year's Ferguson fire could change all that though. You always need a backup plan.

Yosemite still has many trail head vacancies for mid-June. The Pohono, Snow Creek, and Yosemite Falls trail heads still have open dates in mid-June (even on weekends). And if I was getting on a plane to see something, I'd prefer to go to Yosemite than the Emigrant.

The Golden Trout wilderness could also a good option, but being from the Bay Area, I know less about it.
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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by oldranger » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:17 am

dustybottoms21 wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:14 am
So let's assume the absolute worst and we end up somewhere close to 500 inches and we still want to stick with mid-June. Would that basically preclude us from doing Rowell Meadow to Ranger and the other lakes but would we still likely be ok to do a loop in Emigrant Wilderness starting at Crabtree? Based on previous posts, it sounds like the only thing we would really need to worry about with this route would be the crossing of Cherry Creek? Which is still about 9 miles from the trailhead with the option (I think) to do some cross country hiking short of the creek if we wanted to add additional miles

In other words, do we really need a plan C?
Depending on your skill and comfort level nothing is precluded. In mid june if you are willing to deal with some snow you could go from Wolverton to Ranger lakes with no dangerous stream crossings. The problem with the Sunset Meadow TH is the possibility of locked gates which would extend the distance to your destination. As I keep saying that at this time of the year if you have a small party you can make your decision at the last minute and not worry about a reservation.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by rightstar76 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:29 am

dustybottoms21 wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:14 am
In other words, do we really need a plan C?
Yes. That's why I recommended the Golden Trout Wilderness as a plan C. By June, Lloyd Meadows Road should be open.

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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by dustybottoms21 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:43 pm

Updates: My buddies have agreed to push this all the way to the June 27th-30th. So that'll help at least a little bit. Another update is that my more experienced winter hiking friend has extra snowshoes should we want to go that route.

But based on what you guys are saying, it sounds like even if we wanted to bring snowshoes to Rowell Meadow TH, we might not be able to access the TH due to road closures. Is this also a concern for Emigrant Wilderness? Or do you think we would be fine to drive to the Crabtree TH even if they get dumped with snow as well?


rightstar, my Golden Trout Wilderness trail map came in the mail today so I'll take a look and see if we can come up with something nice for a plan C. Any suggestions? We're looking for 3 nights, 8-11 miles a day, and plenty of options to fish.

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