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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

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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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