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Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

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Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:52 pm

What you will do is what everyone does early in season after a big snow year. Go as far as you can, until you can't cross a stream or find the trail in all the snow. It's not going to take long to get to an uncrossable stream. Twice average snow pack and late May, the likelihood of doing the whole loop without snow gear is slim to none.

And as noted above -- rockslides on Beehive. There may just be some on the trail to Rancherias Creek. Always call before you go -- roads are washing out or being buried all over California, and right now the routes to Yosemite are under almost constant state of repair.

Being in a drought followed by epic, never before seen amounts of snow and water, plus millions of dead pine trees, is a deadly combination. Trails will be under repair for a long time to come.



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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Postby SSSdave » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:06 pm

No you won't get near even Beehive.

Same situation every heavy snow year of mobs of backpackers trying to all go to the very few natural lakes at low elevations below snow lines. There are low elevation destinations to backpack into on MDW even on a heavy snow year, however they tend to instantly be rejected by 98% of backpackers because ridiculously they don't include a lake or major stream and of course are usually not on some trail...because most trails go to lakes haha. Thus backpackers almost never lug packs out to places with great views as though they don't count. The Eastern Sierra sagebrush zone is especially great then because it is green with wildflowers rising.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Postby ERIC » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:45 am

suziet_ wrote:Sorry for the late reply, y'all! I didn't receive notifications in my inbox...


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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Postby balzaccom » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:42 am

SSSdave wrote:No you won't get near even Beehive.

Same situation every heavy snow year of mobs of backpackers trying to all go to the very few natural lakes at low elevations below snow lines. There are low elevation destinations to backpack into on MDW even on a heavy snow year, however they tend to instantly be rejected by 98% of backpackers because ridiculously they don't include a lake or major stream and of course are usually not on some trail...because most trails go to lakes haha. Thus backpackers almost never lug packs out to places with great views as though they don't count. The Eastern Sierra sagebrush zone is especially great then because it is green with wildflowers rising.


Hmmm. From Hetch-hetchy itself, it's a straight hike up an old road for a couple of miles, then fairly flat (no long climbs, roaring creeks or anything) to the Beehive. Now, there won't be anything but snow once you get there, but you can always try camping back over the ridge towards Lake Eleanor. Not my idea of a great trip, but any trip is better than no trip.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Postby SSSdave » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:11 pm

balzaccom wrote:...
Hmmm. From Hetch-hetchy itself, it's a straight hike up an old road for a couple of miles, then fairly flat (no long climbs, roaring creeks or anything) to the Beehive. Now, there won't be anything but snow once you get there, but you can always try camping back over the ridge towards Lake Eleanor. Not my idea of a great trip, but any trip is better than no trip.


Last 1.5+ miles to Beehive while not much elevation gain is dense forest at over 6000 feet hence likely to still have snow this year. And like I said people ought to get out of the lake and trail mindset because there are actually a lot of terrific places for short backpacks with outstanding views. Including right on this trail. I've been rambling to such places for decades lugging my cameras and most look pristine because they are ignored. Of course not the trail going to Rancheria Falls because that is all a no camping zone along the reservoir. Miguel Meadows as you suggested is not a bad idea if one is a botany oriented person because it is at that elevation then vegetation is green.

Here is a terrific example showing how nearsighted the majority of even experienced backpackers are because of their narrow lake and trail mindset. Ok why do people hike to Rancheria Falls? No lake there but indeed a terrific cascade especially in early season. Now look at this topo link:

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.96978,-119.77325&z=15&t=T

It is 3.5 miles from the dam up the steep jeep road to the Miguel Meadows junction. Climb another half mile to the knob at 5400 feet and to the east is 1 mile cross country across slightly challenging modest gradient somewhat brushy sun baked bedrock slopes to roaring Falls Creek within a very lonely grove of shady pines. A place to avoid during summer because it is too low elevation and hot. But not at the end of May. And no I would not advice novices go there because there are dangerous cliffs without guard rails and many people can't make sense out of topos at all. From nearby point 5469 are awesome views with Wapama Falls directly below and across the waters Kolana Rock. I figured this out before most here were born. Thousands backpack to Rancheria and almost none to ...
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Postby suziet_ » Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:16 am

Last 1.5+ miles to Beehive while not much elevation gain is dense forest at over 6000 feet hence likely to still have snow this year. And like I said people ought to get out of the lake and trail mindset because there are actually a lot of terrific places for short backpacks with outstanding views. Including right on this trail. I've been rambling to such places for decades lugging my cameras and most look pristine because they are ignored. Of course not the trail going to Rancheria Falls because that is all a no camping zone along the reservoir. Miguel Meadows as you suggested is not a bad idea if one is a botany oriented person because it is at that elevation then vegetation is green.

Here is a terrific example showing how nearsighted the majority of even experienced backpackers are because of their narrow lake and trail mindset. Ok why do people hike to Rancheria Falls? No lake there but indeed a terrific cascade especially in early season. Now look at this topo link:

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.96978,-119.77325&z=15&t=T

It is 3.5 miles from the dam up the steep jeep road to the Miguel Meadows junction. Climb another half mile to the knob at 5400 feet and to the east is 1 mile cross country across slightly challenging modest gradient somewhat brushy sun baked bedrock slopes to roaring Falls Creek within a very lonely grove of shady pines. A place to avoid during summer because it is too low elevation and hot. But not at the end of May. And no I would not advice novices go there because there are dangerous cliffs without guard rails and many people can't make sense out of topos at all. From nearby point 5469 are awesome views with Wapama Falls directly below and across the waters Kolana Rock. I figured this out before most here were born. Thousands backpack to Rancheria and almost none to ...[/quote]



May I ask what your suggestion would be instead? We have the permit and we have our flights booked already. I spoke with someone else who was looking to do the same trip and spoke to a ranger last week. The ranger said the rockslides on the switchbacks would be removed later this month/early April.
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Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:21 pm

My suggestion is not what you want. Don't try to backpack. Camp and dayhike, if you can find a campsite. Drive to Hetch Hetchy and dayhike the falls. Day hike the top of Yosemite Falls, day hike the Mist Trail, day hike the Four Mile Trail to Sentinel Dome, day hike lots of places, don't try to string together four days of any single trip. You'll see the Big Scenery that way instead of hiking in burned out or snowed in areas.

The snow is a navigational hazard and the high water during snow melt is deadly to people with zero stream crossing skills.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:00 pm

As someone who has done a lot in Yosemite, I also think the day-hike idea is great. This time of year Yosemite Valley falls should be fantastic. You may be able to score a first-come permit to backpack to Merced Lake. Camp 4 is a non-reserve campsite in Yosemite Valley. You have a very short walk-in. Also, with your permit, whether you use it or not, you get the night before and night after for the backpacker campgrounds - one in the valley and one at Hetch Hetchy. These are guaranteed campsites with your current permit. Day hike up Mist Trail and down Muir Trail is a classic. As is Yosemite Falls, Snow Creek, and Four Mile Trail. Even though I have done these trails many times, I will do them again this year- I never tire of it. Also, if you want to go off trail just walk down the bank of the Merced River in the Valley - you will have solitude and great views. Drink wine at sunset in El Capitan Meadows!
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Postby Cross Country » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:33 pm

I would say don't do the loop, but I'll bet there's no chance you would be able to loop it.
Hike to where the snow is and work on the snow until it's just about unbearable and then turn back. To get to Vernon you have to hike above beehive where there will be lots of snow - worse higher up.
If I went on a trip LDW from Hech Hetchy I would go to the easiest trip and go to Laurel Lake. Dispite that that's the easyist, it still might not be doable. Also - to cross a VERY swollen frog creek youl'd need to find a downed trees log crossing. Good luck in finding a place to camp without snow - maybe at the north end.
I've been to Laurel 5-10 times in my life. I liked the fishing there.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:06 am

Why in the world would you just go to Beehive? That is all the work, none of the scenery. In my opinion the loop is not worth the effort unless you can complete it; and this year you are unlikely to complete it. Put this off for later in the season or another year. There are so many alternatives that are ten times more scenic. If you are set on doing part of this loop, if the bridge is not out, just going to Rancheria Falls and back is the much more scenic leg of the loop. Why are you set on this loop?

I will repeat my opinion, that this year, early season, hikes out of Yosemite Valley are much more appropriate and scenic.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Postby suziet_ » Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:50 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:Why in the world would you just go to Beehive? That is all the work, none of the scenery. In my opinion the loop is not worth the effort unless you can complete it; and this year you are unlikely to complete it. Put this off for later in the season or another year. There are so many alternatives that are ten times more scenic. If you are set on doing part of this loop, if the bridge is not out, just going to Rancheria Falls and back is the much more scenic leg of the loop. Why are you set on this loop?

I will repeat my opinion, that this year, early season, hikes out of Yosemite Valley are much more appropriate and scenic.



I wouldn't say I'm set on the loop, but I'm set on backpacking Yosemite. I've already established plans and have a flight from Austin, Texas to do this.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Postby suziet_ » Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:54 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:As someone who has done a lot in Yosemite, I also think the day-hike idea is great. This time of year Yosemite Valley falls should be fantastic. You may be able to score a first-come permit to backpack to Merced Lake. Camp 4 is a non-reserve campsite in Yosemite Valley. You have a very short walk-in. Also, with your permit, whether you use it or not, you get the night before and night after for the backpacker campgrounds - one in the valley and one at Hetch Hetchy. These are guaranteed campsites with your current permit. Day hike up Mist Trail and down Muir Trail is a classic. As is Yosemite Falls, Snow Creek, and Four Mile Trail. Even though I have done these trails many times, I will do them again this year- I never tire of it. Also, if you want to go off trail just walk down the bank of the Merced River in the Valley - you will have solitude and great views. Drink wine at sunset in El Capitan Meadows!


Would you suggest calling to possibly obtain a permit or switch my permit to Merced Lake for Memorial Day Weekend? How long is that hike? Best backpacking suggestions? (I realize I could look this up, but it's late and I'm lazy at the moment - lol. Plus I figured it's best to ask the experts.)
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