Hidden Gems among California's 188 designated wilderness areas

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fishwrong
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Re: Hidden Gems among California's 188 designated wilderness areas

Post by fishwrong » Thu May 14, 2020 2:50 pm

Not necessarily on point with the wilderness element, but on the hidden gems side of things, I've taken to considering streams and rivers as destination points. Desolation Wilderness is the closest to me and while I love the lakes and peaks, they're seldom secluded with the exception of some remote off-trail lakes and even those get quite a bit of traffic. Quotas keep the number of campers somewhat limited, but finding a lake to yourself in high season is a rare thing. With that in mind, there are many miles of creeks both inside and outside of the Wilderness that don't see near the use the lakes do. Some trails follow streams, but it's seldom much effort to go very far off-trail to find a secluded tranquil spot. Even on holiday weekends, a half mile hike upstream or down of our many jeeping trails and roads outside of the wilderness areas will yield the same.

Fishing is my main passion, and hiking is often a means to get to good spots. While lakes tend to have larger fish, most streams in my area hold wild trout at higher densities than in the lakes. They're typically much smaller, but there are enough bigger fish around to keep things interesting. It's also a different feel. Rather than chucking and winding, it's a stealthy, hunting mentality that I really enjoy. Very precise casts and presentations force my mind focus rather than wander, which I enjoy. And while most higher elevation streams contain smaller fish, some of the lower elevation streams hold bigger trout than in any of the alpine lakes. There are also very challenging destinations to get to if that's something that interests you. I've spent hours bolder hopping a mile up some streams that burned as many calories as some passes.

Another element I enjoy is falling asleep to the sound of a stream. As a kid we did a lot of car camping along the Feather River, and falling asleep to the sounds of a stream bring back fond memories. It also drowns out the other human sounds that give the feeling of being remote, even it's not necessarily the case.

While if may not be for everyone, I've found I can find some fine fishing, solitude and peaceful tranquility in places folks pass by without ever stopping except to fill a water bottle or soak their feel. Just food for thought.








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iHartMK
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Re: Hidden Gems among California's 188 designated wilderness areas

Post by iHartMK » Thu May 21, 2020 2:21 pm

What about John Krebs Wilderness...
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Re: Hidden Gems among California's 188 designated wilderness areas

Post by giantbrookie » Thu May 21, 2020 2:48 pm

fishwrong wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 2:50 pm
Not necessarily on point with the wilderness element, but on the hidden gems side of things, I've taken to considering streams and rivers as destination points. Desolation Wilderness is the closest to me and while I love the lakes and peaks, they're seldom secluded with the exception of some remote off-trail lakes and even those get quite a bit of traffic. With that in mind, there are many miles of creeks both inside and outside of the Wilderness that don't see near the use the lakes do.
I agree totally with your observations. There is little doubt that lakes bring a lot more visitors for both fishing and general visitation than do streams. Also, if one wants to combine the fishing and off trail experience, off trail stream/canyon treks offer a sort of adventure and experience that is a step beyond the basic off trail scramble to an off trail lake because the off trail route and fishing experience are merged. I myself have habitually targeted lakes, but I can certainly see the advantages and allure of stream-focused hiking and fishing.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Hidden Gems among California's 188 designated wilderness areas

Post by dave54 » Thu May 21, 2020 8:16 pm

Mentioned earlier in passing and not elaborated. The BLM desert wildernesses are a good winter destination. Water is problematic, but if you base camp out of your car and day hike into the Wilderness areas you can have a nice trip. Very few trails exist in the desert Wildernesses, but really are not needed. The vegetation is light enough you can cross country easily. Some of the roads accessing these Wilderness are quite rough and need a high clearance 4wd. Bears are not a problem, but smaller pack chewers can still necessitate some food storage concerns. I have yet to find a BLM desert Wilderness with any kind of quota restriction or permit.
The downside is the views can be monotonous. Interesting geology, and some wildlife. The long views from summits are looking across the playas to the next mountain range in the distance.
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Re: Hidden Gems among California's 188 designated wilderness areas

Post by jvquarterback » Fri May 22, 2020 11:43 am

Ventana. You can put together some great hikes and the scenery is awesome. We actually need more people on long hikes because most of the coastal access is prohibited and a lot of the trails are growing over. Right now you have to enter through Arroyo Seco or Jolon in the southeastern part of the wilderness.

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Re: Hidden Gems among California's 188 designated wilderness areas

Post by c9h13no3 » Fri May 22, 2020 11:55 am

jvquarterback wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:43 am
a lot of the trails are growing over.
This is happening everywhere. People are concentrating on popular routes (the JMT keeps adding lanes) while less popular spots are dying off. The internet is pretty good at sending everyone to the same places.

I think people do the Ventana wrong, thinking of it as a summer destination. I won't go there from May until October though. But yeah, some of the most scenic pictures I've ever seen have come out of that place.
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Re: Hidden Gems among California's 188 designated wilderness areas

Post by sekihiker » Fri May 22, 2020 5:51 pm

c9h13no3 wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:55 am
jvquarterback wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:43 am
a lot of the trails are growing over.
The internet is pretty good at sending everyone to the same places.
The reason I put together my hiking website was to suggest areas off the beaten path. It does include trip reports for popular hikes like the JMT and Rae Lakes Loop, but most of the hikes described are to seldom used areas. However, due to a change in hosting, my site and its reports have dropped way down in Google's search lists.

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Re: Hidden Gems among California's 188 designated wilderness areas

Post by s0rce » Sat May 23, 2020 7:42 pm

I had a great time a couple years ago in Ventana - started at the Santa Lucia Memorial Park and went up to Upper Bee (basically destroyed, camped on the ridge, was beautiful) and then down into the Lost Valley with the 2nd night at Fish Camp. Was memorial day weekend and we saw 2 other groups. Much was pretty extensively overgrown with lots of poison oak. Add to that the bugs, dust, burned areas, I get why casual folks aren't flocking there. Still, great scenery, really fun trip.

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Re: Hidden Gems among California's 188 designated wilderness areas

Post by kpeter » Sat May 23, 2020 9:17 pm

s0rce wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:42 pm
I had a great time a couple years ago in Ventana - started at the Santa Lucia Memorial Park and went up to Upper Bee (basically destroyed, camped on the ridge, was beautiful) and then down into the Lost Valley with the 2nd night at Fish Camp. Was memorial day weekend and we saw 2 other groups. Much was pretty extensively overgrown with lots of poison oak. Add to that the bugs, dust, burned areas, I get why casual folks aren't flocking there. Still, great scenery, really fun trip.
I explored the Ventana wilderness under less than ideal conditions--I was on a fire crew in 1977 battling the Marble Cone fire, the largest in California history up to that point. Although the highlight of the trip was when they helicoptered us from the northern line up by Carmel Valley to the southern line based at Big Sur, flying just above the coast the entire way. I remember the ubiquitous poison oak. Another crew cut a line through it and they all wound up in the hospital. I do remember thinking that the ridge top trails were the best features of the place.

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Re: Hidden Gems among California's 188 designated wilderness areas

Post by dave54 » Sat May 23, 2020 9:58 pm

kpeter wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 9:17 pm

I explored the Ventana wilderness under less than ideal conditions--I was on a fire crew in 1977 battling the Marble Cone fire, the largest in California history up to that point...
Just about everyone in the fire business has done a tour in the Ventana at some point in their career. I did my share -- more than I can remember and I couldn't care less if I never go back. It burns about every ten years.

Note the default strategy now is back off to perimeter roads and burn it all off.
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