Early season alternatives for Memorial Day?

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cantare
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Early season alternatives for Memorial Day?

Post by cantare » Fri May 15, 2015 2:08 pm

I'd been planning a 2-night trip to Emigrant Wilderness over the holiday, with some cross-country thrown in to avoid the crowds (lewis/sardella lakes area from Kennedy). But with all the unsettled/chilly weather I'm thinking that area will probably be snowy.

Before just heading off to Henry Coe SP or Ventana/Big Sur, I thought I'd ask the collected wisdom of HST for some other early season favorites...relatively snow-free destinations that afford some degree of solitude on busy holiday weekends. No need to give GPS coordinates of your favorite stealth campsite, just a general area recommendation will be appreciated!

Parameters:
Level 3- Numerous backpacking trips, some x-country travel
Class 2 terrain/pass/x-country
looking to avoid major river fords & snow/ice travel


main interest:
- Lakes
- Big Mountain scenery
- Photography
- dayhike peak scrambling (up to Class 3)


How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead?
2 nights

How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers?
10-12. For a 2-nighter I think one basecamp at a nice lake is ideal.

Do you have a route logistics preference: loop, out and back, point to point (which
may require 2 vehicles or hitchhiking)?
loop or out/back, no shuttles

Is there a particular area in the Sierra that your most interested in(Yosemite, SEKI
western sierra start or eastern start ect.)?
Originally it was Western Sierra within easy 4-6hr drive of SF Bay Area...now seeking snow-free lower-elev. or Sierra alternative within same radius!

Will you be hiking with a dog?
No animals.








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scottshapiro
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Re: Early season alternatives for Memorial Day?

Post by scottshapiro » Sun May 17, 2015 10:40 am

I'm in the same boat - had a trip planned to Desolation but am now thinking Ventana.

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Willythedog
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Re: Early season alternatives for Memorial Day?

Post by Willythedog » Sun May 17, 2015 12:02 pm

How's about trinity alps? They got barely any snow throughout the year. I'd imagine it's good to go by now. You can get up there in 4-5 hours.

More main stream places:
Canyon creek lakes
Grizzly lake
Caribou lakes
4 lakes loop

X country:
Smith and Morris lakes

Peaks around there:
Sawtooth
Thompson
Hilton
Wedding cake

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ndwoods
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Re: Early season alternatives for Memorial Day?

Post by ndwoods » Sun May 17, 2015 3:39 pm

Yolla Bollys are pretty nice early season. And the magic of the Yolla Bollys and the Trinity Alps is that at one time a very long time ago that mountain range was part of the Sierra before drifting...and have the same feel, flora and fauna as the Sierra.
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Re: Early season alternatives for Memorial Day?

Post by SSSdave » Mon May 18, 2015 3:22 pm

moved by moderator:

viewtopic.php?f=34&t=12770

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Re: Early season alternatives for Memorial Day?

Post by Cross Country » Tue May 19, 2015 8:19 am

Vernon Lake or for fishing laurel Lake out of Hech Hechy. You never excede 6500 feet.

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cantare
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Re: Early season alternatives for Memorial Day?

Post by cantare » Wed May 20, 2015 4:26 pm

Thanks for your kind suggestions, everyone! I'm unfamiliar with Trinity Alps, but the pictures are drop-dead amazing so I'm going for it. The area doesn't seem to get a ton of press but there are a few great TR's on here that I found inspiring.

Apparently the 4 lakes area & other marquee lakes will be fairly crowded on MDW; still weighing whether to take a popular route like Long Canyon & search for less obvious places to camp vs. try some more obscure(?) trail like Sugar Pine Lk or Grizzly Meadow...so many choices in this area! (edit: I guess Grizzly Lk isn't "obscure," even via China Gulch)

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Re: Early season alternatives for Memorial Day?

Post by dougieb » Wed May 20, 2015 8:13 pm

I have a couple suggestions having been to the Trinity Alps a number of times. I really enjoy Canyon Creek Lakes even though that trail is one of the most popular in the area. If you go to Boulder Creek Lakes you'll see far fewer people and there are some fun class 2 climbs up above there. Secondly, if you go juuuust past Canyon Creek Lakes to one of the little lakes just beyond them, you will have a spot all to yourself and the hike in is gorgeous. Both of those locations use the same trail by the way so you could do both.

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Re: Early season alternatives for Memorial Day?

Post by cantare » Tue May 26, 2015 3:58 pm

Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions. I thought thru many less-traveled options but ultimately wound up just going up the Stuart Fork to Morris Meadows, then dayhiking over to the Emerald/Sapphire & Caribou Scramble areas. Rained a bit on the first day, then had spectacular weather. There was a fair number of people esp Sat night but nothing too crazy for a big holiday. Already plotting a return trip!
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Re: Early season alternatives for Memorial Day?

Post by scottshapiro » Tue May 26, 2015 4:31 pm

My wife and I did exactly that. We got to the Canyon Creek trailhead on Saturday. Huge crowds at the trailhead - we had to park by Ripstein campground a half-mile down the road. So we took off for Boulder Creek Lakes which was much quieter. We tried scrambling to Mt Hilton Sunday and hiked out Monday. Got a bit of rain Sunday night which was fun.

Here's a view of Sawtooth from Saturday night
Image

Thanks again for the tips!
dougieb wrote:I have a couple suggestions having been to the Trinity Alps a number of times. I really enjoy Canyon Creek Lakes even though that trail is one of the most popular in the area. If you go to Boulder Creek Lakes you'll see far fewer people and there are some fun class 2 climbs up above there. Secondly, if you go juuuust past Canyon Creek Lakes to one of the little lakes just beyond them, you will have a spot all to yourself and the hike in is gorgeous. Both of those locations use the same trail by the way so you could do both.

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