Help me choose early season trip

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kpeter
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Help me choose early season trip

Post by kpeter » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:33 pm

WIth what is shaping up to be a low snow year, I will return to my usual practice of doing a June backpack, trying to get in early before the mosquitoes pick up. For my June trips I've done trips out of Hetch Hetchy, Shingle Springs, and Crabtree Meadows and would like to move on to something else. I've also done quite a lot of Desolation. Instead, I've been thinking of a trip out of Kennedy Meadows, Twin Lakes, Virginia Lakes, or Leavitt Meadows. Never been to any of them.

Any thoughts on how I should narrow it down? Even in a dry-ish year I will need to avoid high water in June. I'd love to do an extended loop trip of some sort. I read one of WD's trip reports from Kennedy Meadows and it sounds interesting.








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wildhiker
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Re: Help me choose early season trip

Post by wildhiker » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:33 am

In a low snowpack year, the Tahoe Rim Trail on the east side of Tahoe (the Carson Range) should be pretty open in June. We've done lots of dayhikes on various sections in June. Only ever hit significant snow on the highest part in the Mt Rose Wilderness (up close to 10,000 feet). This would be a one-way hike, using some combination of the various bus systems and taxis for trailhead transportation. For example, get a taxi from Truckee to Brockway Summit and head east from there on the TRT up to Tahoe Meadows, then south all the way to near Daggett Pass, where you can pick up the new Van Sickle connector trail right down into the town of South Lake Tahoe, from where you can put together some combination of buses to get back to Truckee.

Advantages: This east side of the TRT is generally actually on or very close to the crest with magnificent views of the Lake most of the time. No significant creeks to cross. June is good because water sources dry up later.
Disadvantages: Heavy day use on all trail sections (mid-week would be a lot quieter), including quite a bit of mountain bike use on certain sections. Not deep in the wilderness - you cross a state highway every 15 to 20 miles. No lakes or fishing (it's a rim trail!).

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Re: Help me choose early season trip

Post by oleander » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:55 pm

How many miles a day are you thinking of when you say "extended loop"?

My first thought was: From Twin Lakes, hike to Crown Lake (or thereabouts) for the first night, then to Peeler for the second, then out.

Offhand, that's around 8 miles/day, on a lollipop route.

- Elizabeth

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Re: Help me choose early season trip

Post by balzaccom » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:18 am

Loops are hard early in the season. We've done a trip up Buckeye Creek, on the east side in the Hoover Wilderness (South of Leavitt Meadows) when Crabtree was still snowed it. But we also had to cross the creek, and it was pretty high. We chickened out...but if the creek had been lower, that trail will take you all the way into Yosemite.
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Re: Help me choose early season trip

Post by kpeter » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:10 am

Thank you for all three of those suggestions. So much is going to depend on how the snow situation turns out. It looks like our March precipitation is helping us edge further away from the extremely dry 2015 or 2016 conditions, going from 15% of normal to 55% of normal since I first posted. So my options are shrinking.

In 2013 I did Crabtree to Deer Lake in the very first week of June and crossed West Fork Cherry Creek successfully. Encountered snow around 8700.
In 2015 I managed to explore all of Little Lakes Valley up to 11000 feet in the third week of June.
In 2016 I did Crabtree again and easily got across West Fork Cherry Creek in second week of June and encountered snow only on north shady slopes above 8000.

I wonder which year 2018 will most closely resemble. I'm thinking it will be a little more normal and I may have to avoid crossings and stay below 9000 feet unless I wait until late June.

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Re: Help me choose early season trip

Post by SSSdave » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:36 am

With the current massive wet AR storm pounding the state and our mountains I think we can proclaim it is a Miracle March for 2018 with summer conditions likely to be at least close to normal versus the dry outlook we had just a month ago. kpeter, given the likely nice early season stream flows, consider repeating a modesty downsized version of the considerable whitewater excitement I experienced in June last summer:

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

The trick is timing it for near peak snow melt after Kibbie Ridge has melted out enough to get through the 8k section before dropping into Cherry Creek Canyon. And then going DOWN below Lord Meadow a bit instead of up as almost everyone else does. There is a reason why kayakers consider that glaciated granite canyon world class and all the slabs and granite sand flats makes for a wonderful clean backpacking experience. Plus note at least during my trip, no bears, no mosquitoes.

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Re: Help me choose early season trip

Post by kpeter » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:55 pm

OK, my trip is beginning to come into focus. While I may take a quick solo trip a couple of weeks earlier, I have a friend who wants to come along on a June 14-17 time frame.

The April 1 snow depth in NW Yosemite and Emigrant is very similar to 2012, 2013 and 2014. In those years I went into those zones earlier than June 14 and barely beat the mosquito storms. But my destinations were in the 7000s and low 8000s. That leads me to believe that this year June 14 will be too late in a lot of that area. I should instead be aiming for something a little higher--say the 9000 foot band.

The Kennedy Meadows/Relief Reservoir entrance looks like it might be about right, or maybe the Gianelli trailhead will be open--I have not been to Wire lakes and at 8800 they might be high enough to stay above the mosquitoes in mid June.

So, if Wire lakes were the destination, would you come in via Gianelli or in via Relief on June 14, thinking about stream crossings. From Relief the trail has to cross Summit Creek just south of the reservoir inlet. From Gianelli the trail crosses West Fork Cherry Creek, but very close to its source, and then Spring Creek. Which of the two routes would be more scenic? Which would be safer?

Now, if the melt goes fast, all of this area will be too low. In that case I was thinking of a taking Oleander's advice and going from Twin Lakes hike to Peeler Lake at 9500 instead. Unfortunately, that trail crosses Robinson Creek twice, at around the 8300 foot zone. I have never been in that area and don't know what to expect of those crossings. Any advice?

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Re: Help me choose early season trip

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:27 pm

I went in Ginelli 5/30 - 6/4 2014. Y-Meadow Dam-ToeJam-Upper Reilef-Iceland Lks (partially frozen)-Lewis Lakes (frozen)-Summit Creek - Emigrant Lake-Buck Lake-Upper Wire-Spring Meadow-Leopold Lake-Granite Lake-Y-Meadow and out. I do not recall any horrible crossings, but there was a lot of soggy flooded trails. The worst crossing I think was coming down from Lewis Lake and crossing to the trail. Do not recall bad mosquitoes either. Quite a bit of x-country. The Iceland Lk-Lewis Lake-Emigrant loop was a bit of a mess up on my part, but turned out great. Got a bit lost and ended up at Upper Relief Valley and just decided to go on up to Icleand. Planned to fish, but LOL, that did not work with the frozen lakes. I did a trip report. You may want to look that up. Photos may be gone because of Photobucket.

I have a copy of the trip report I could send you in a PM if you cannot find it on the forum.

Buck Lake and Emigrant Lake are by far more scenic (and better fishing) than Wire Lakes. Think about going in there from Kennedy Meadows. I was not that impressed wtih all that country from Gienelli to Wire Lakes.

Spots of mosquitoes but overall not bad.

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Re: Help me choose early season trip

Post by Willythedog » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:05 am

I also was in the area in 2014 on 2 separate trips May 16-17 and then again May 23-25. First trip was suppose to go in to Deer lake but found a lost dog at camp lake area so had to bail on the trip to find the owner and then the second trip made it out to Deer lake (8400ft)

Even in mid May the mosquitoes were eating me alive and there was definitely flooded trails. Cherry creek was definitely raging. Crossing cherry creek would not have been ford-able but found downed trees to cross on. (this is in piute meadows fords im talkin bout so maybe itll be easier crossing up higher)

The lakes along the way were all completely unfrozen.

But yeah, the emigrant mosquitoes. horrible. In middle of May. Go higher!

BTW i thought there were no fish in Wire Lakes?

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Re: Help me choose early season trip

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:46 pm

Interesting! The route I took was higher, and still snow patches. The route from Gienelli is also more open with slabs and rock vs forests. Perhaps windy, cannot really recall. I have been in that area when mosquitoes were bad and my trip was not like that, even if it was later than your two trips. There were some horrible mosquitoes at the inlet end of Long Lake (thick forest too) and I did not even stop - just ran by. Also ran into a bear at Long Lake. There are no fish in Wire Lakes anymore. Those lakes up on the top like Wire Lakes are pretty windy, which helps. I have also crossed Cherry Creek lower down, and it is nothing like that higher up. I have also crossed Summit Creek, no picnic but not as bad as Cherry Creek. Upper Relief Valley is one big swamp. I just walked through, did not stop.

Kennedy Meadows is really pretty. Relief Reservoir is scenic but hard to get to for camping. There is one hard-to-find use trail that drops steeply to the shores- big established campsites. Fishing supposed to be good. The climb up to Relief Valley is quite nice. But going to Emigrant Lake vs Relief Valley is significantly more scenic, as is Emigrant Lake. Buck Lake is one of my favorite. Take the north trail from mid-shore Buck Lake to Deer Lake to avoid crossing Buck Meadow Creek. I would choose Buck Lake over WIre Lakes any day, even if you go in Gienelli. Middle Emigrant and Emigrant Meadow Lake have good fishing, but less scenic than Buck or Emigrant. Mosquito Pass is very soggy and with some snow early season.

Oh, for the other trip out of Twin Lakes, Robinson Creek crossings are not bad, but you will be wading in water a lot.

No skeets up at Iceland, Ridge and Lewis Lakes! I loved this area. A bit tricky to get to- some fairly tough off-trail.
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