Wandering Daisy wrote:I find it hard to believe that you would not have snow in late March from Levitte meadows up the river, even in a low snow year.
And I agree it's highly unlikely it would be free of snow then. Yet I think the possibility (though very small) that there might be very little snow does exist for two reasons.
1.) The West Walker valley really does melt an awful lot sooner than the rest of Stanislaus/Toiyabe. (And due to the precipitation shadow, it snows less there to start with.) I remember during later spring of 1983 trying to get ready to lead my summer trips. Sonora Pass was closed with no opening date even projected. The snowpack was still very deep. We didn't have resources like HighSierraTopix back then for any beta. Though I directed the program, I did have a boss in the parent corporation who owned a Cessna Skyhawk. Near the end of May we spent a day doing aerial recon. of the entire Stan/Toiyabe area. From the west, there was deep snow starting around 5,000 feet which extended east all the way past Tower Peak. What was amazing, however, was that there was no snow at all up the West Walker, to Kirkwood Creek, then Up Kirkwood, over the summit, and down Buckeye Creek. We drove all the way around on Hwy. 88, did that route and saw no snow. We came back to our outfitting base near Pinecrest via just opened Sonora Pass, and there was still a lot of really deep snow there. The difference between our route and the rest of the area was stark.
2.) This winter has been so wacky already. I am starting to really worry that this high pressure area is not going to collapse. I read somewhere that an El Niño is building, but the high pressure cell keeps pushing all the systems through OR/WA and the stubborn thing doesn't show signs of collapsing. I so hope you're right and that valley is under dozens of feet of snow in late March, but this weather is being so weird that I am getting this bad feeling that it might actually not snow. God help us if it doesn't.
To the OP: Another alternate location besides the Lost Coast is Point Reyes. You could string together a week long loop in there, and it's doubtful there would be any problem pulling a permit at that time of year. You need to be ready for rain and cold, but you won't have to worry about snow.
Edit: I see you posted while I was typing. Good luck wherever you go. Even if it's outside the Sierra, I hope the mods would at least let you post a little blurb on the end of this thread to let us know how it went.