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Planning for Late May Trip: Rae Lakes Loop or Deadman Canyon

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Re: Planning for Late May Trip: Rae Lakes Loop or Deadman Canyon

Postby AlmostThere » Tue May 27, 2014 7:27 am

There is STILL SNOW. People are turning around and heading back when confronted by how much snow there is.

22 miles to Roaring River? UGGGHHH, that was the hardest part of the whole trip. I hate hiking in the deep sand through Belle Canyon. There will be snow on Silliman. A trip to the peak was canceled last weekend - went to Alta instead. Postholing in snow then miles of sand... oof dah. My feet hurt on your behalf.

Good luck with that. I'm going to Yosemite for some off trail hiking to the Diving Board.



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Re: Planning for Late May Trip: Rae Lakes Loop or Deadman Canyon

Postby franklin411 » Tue May 27, 2014 8:55 am

AlmostThere wrote:There is STILL SNOW. People are turning around and heading back when confronted by how much snow there is.

22 miles to Roaring River? UGGGHHH, that was the hardest part of the whole trip. I hate hiking in the deep sand through Belle Canyon. There will be snow on Silliman. A trip to the peak was canceled last weekend - went to Alta instead. Postholing in snow then miles of sand... oof dah. My feet hurt on your behalf.

Good luck with that. I'm going to Yosemite for some off trail hiking to the Diving Board.


Heh! I haven't been of course, but the sand doesn't sound awful to me. I save "awful" for the granite block steps w/ 12-16" risers on the Whitney Trail! That was torture both ways--on the ascent (since I'm short) I was hauling myself up every step, and on the descent it was like pounding my toes with a hammer.

I'm bringing my daypack just in case. I've done Alta as a dayhike before and I dunno if I want to do it again solo (what's the point?), and I've done the HST through Big Arroyo so nothing on that trail interests me as a dayhike. I think Ranger Lakes could make a cool overnight if the going is that slow getting over Silliman Pass, so that's a good reason to pack light (I can always just spend the night wherever I can find a bear box and go back to Lodgepole the next day...I have the bear box list).

Dayhikes/overnights from Roads End...wouldn't the snow up there be even worse?

I guess you could say I kinda *know* the original Deadman loop plan isn't going to work, but I want to give it a reasonable try. And I want to have a few cards in my pocket that I can play if/when it's time to pack it in.
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Re: Planning for Late May Trip: Rae Lakes Loop or Deadman Canyon

Postby AlmostThere » Tue May 27, 2014 11:55 am

You'll get farther out of Road's End than you would over Silliman. All the way to Woods Creek and beyond. Getting to Junction Meadow would be straightforward enough. Glen Pass in mushy cruddy shallow snow bracketed by some meadow hiking, fishing in a river full of rainbow trout and on the other side of the pass, hiking through Rae lakes and then down along Bubbs Creek, sounds like more fun to me than mushing along hot miles of exposed granitic sand occasionally near a tiny stream, after miles of mushing over Silliman... But what do I know. Maybe you're more tolerant of mid elevation heat than I am.

I go to Alta several times a year and have hauled water up to camp there on a fair night. I adore the high elevations and never get tired of wandering in the columbines and scree. Never seen so much wildlife as in Alta Meadow...
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Re: Planning for Late May Trip: Rae Lakes Loop or Deadman Canyon

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue May 27, 2014 12:04 pm

Good luck. Not knowing you, I do not know how much your "morale downer" when alone and not hiking influences your decisions. Resist letting your fear or loathing of being alone when not walking influence your decision to when to stop. I would not even let the no bear can issue color safety decisions. I would rather be "illegal" one night than continue when it is not safe.
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Re: Planning for Late May Trip: Rae Lakes Loop or Deadman Canyon

Postby franklin411 » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:11 pm

Thanks for the support, all! I just got back...ended up not backpacking because the rangers told me that Silliman Pass was snowed over. So I changed my permit for a trip to Tamarack Lake a few days later, but I ended up not doing that either. I guess my reluctance to backpack solo was a good thing. The sleeping bag I brought was too light (37 degrees) and I woke up every morning chilled around 3 AM despite going to sleep fully clothed (underwear, long underwear bottom, long underwear shirt, pants, shirt, fleece jacket, wool beanie. The temps at Lodgepole weren't that bad: 35 was the lowest I think, so I can't entirely blame the sleeping bag. I think the air bed I was using for car camping purposes was too low and uninsulated so I lost heat that way. I fixed that by using my backpacking mat on top of the air bed, though.

Day 1: I dayhiked from Lodgepole up the Twin Lakes Trail and then to Silliman Pass, where I found some amazing views! Silliman Pass was completely snow free, and the 2-3 patches of snow I found on the way up were easily bypassed. I even ran into a couple who were actually going to do the Deadman Canyon route I had planned, but I really think it's a different (and better) game when you're not alone.

Left around 8:20 AM, back at the car by 4:30 PM.

Day 2: I dayhiked from Wolverton to a point just short of Emerald Lake on the Lakes Trail. I took the Watchtower Route up because when I arrived at the trail junction, the trail sign said both the Watchtower and Hump routes were open. There was only one small section on the Watchtower Route that still had snow on it, but this was on a precipice overlooking the canyon. I was a little nervous traversing it, but there really was no danger and I made it fine. I found a few patches of iced over snow around Heather Lake that were more difficult to deal with. I got to the high point overlooking Emerald Lake, saw the view, and figured it wasn't worth pressing on to Pear Lake (another 1/2 mile...but the main thing was I'd lose a lot of elevation and then have to climb out again). I hike out via the Hump just to mix it up, and ran into a few people coming up who told me that they had seen the Pear Lake Ranger on her way in. The sign I had seen had been flipped over by some hiker, and the Ranger flipped it back to "Watchtower Iced Over--Closed." Ha! The route is perfectly safe, though, so maybe they'll finally open it officially now.

Left around 8:15 AM, back at the car by 12:45 PM.

Day 3: I drove to Roads End and dayhiked to Mist Falls. Fantastic views, and I even ran into a friendly California King Snake. On the way out I decided to cross the bridge leading to the Sphinx Trail because I wanted to see this alleged Sphinx rock, but after climbing several switchbacks I realized I was letting myself get sucked further and further in. So I turned around and exited the way I came.

Left around 9:30 AM, back at the car by 1:00 PM.

All in all it was a good trip. I finally found some food I like to eat while hiking (cheese, crackers, tuna, dried fruit, etc...), I found a really comfortable setup for car camping (air bed + insulated backpacking air mat), and I found some cool places to backpack if I can find someone to go with me. Every night was pitch black/moonless so I saw a lot of stars. And I did it all while relatively comfortable: I had a nice bed setup, I ate real food from the Lodgepole cafe every night, and my site was near the only heated bathroom at Lodgepole so I didn't have to literally freeze my @** off in the mornings!

I know it's not a backpacking trip, but maybe someone will be able to use the info about the lack of snow etc. The mosquitoes were non-existent in the Lodgepole area, but there were a few on the way up to Mist Falls. One tried to stick me while I was eating lunch (this guy was the size of a nickel!), but I was wearing a long sleeved shirt treated with Permethrin. I saw him land, try to stick his needle into my shirt, and then fly off in a fraction of a second. I dunno if Permethrin works on mosquitoes, but I hope he died!
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Re: Planning for Late May Trip: Rae Lakes Loop or Deadman Canyon

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:17 am

Sounds like a good time to me! You went to some great places. Hope you told the rangers - they rely on conditions reports from hikers a lot. You were probably getting info that was recent but obviously inaccurate. Friends have been posting pictures on Facebook - within a week some of the high areas are melting out.

You also beat the mosquitos - that's great, since there is likely to be a bunch soon. Night temps are trending warmer....
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Re: Planning for Late May Trip: Rae Lakes Loop or Deadman Canyon

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:27 am

Hi Franklin,

Glad to read that you made some wise decisions to stay within you comfort level while
on your solo trip. You have some good intell that will be lost in this thread, would
ask that you post some of it in the "2014 Backcountry Conditions Report" thread here: viewtopic.php?f=34&t=10802 Thanks
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Planning for Late May Trip: Rae Lakes Loop or Deadman Canyon

Postby ucangler » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:23 pm

Good calls Franklin. Reading this thread from the beginning right now kind of worried me on how it would end up. 72hours turn time, 15 miles a day, no acclimation night, snow, elevation, etc...started sketchy to me, yet ended up on a good note.

It made me remember my first high sierra trip with my buddy at 26yrs old with pack of 50lbs (I am now 32 still doing it every year). I am 155-160lbs, 5ft 9, six pack abs, works out every other day, and it took us 6 hours to go 6 miles at 10,000ft+ on our maiden voyage ;) .
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Re: Planning for Late May Trip: Rae Lakes Loop or Deadman Canyon

Postby franklin411 » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:21 pm

Thanks all! This is an unfortunate post-script--I may have caught Giardia on this trip. I drank about a quart of water from the spring-fed stream near the switchbacks on the western side of Silliman Pass--I was too lazy to filter it even though I had my kit.

Also, I used water from the faucets in Lodgepole Campground to wash my pots and pans. Then later I saw a sign in the bathroom saying that they had failed a water quality test but there was no danger.

Finally, I had dinner at a mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant in Fresno at the end of the trip, but the place looked clean.

Here it is two weeks later and I've had Giardia symptoms for the last 3 days. Severe gas, bloating, feeling of fullness, lack of appetite, mild diarrhea, and crippling gut-pain in the evening. Absolutely no fever or vomiting. Went to urgent care this morning and they gave me a 10 days' course of Flagyl and a 3 stage egg/parasite test kit, so hopefully I'll find out for sure.

It's not terrible right now--it seems to be fine in the morning and horrible at night. The rotten egg burp thing went away today, so that's good, and hopefully the antibiotics will make sure of it. Probably should have filtered that water though... :\
Last edited by franklin411 on Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Planning for Late May Trip: Rae Lakes Loop or Deadman Canyon

Postby rlown » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:26 pm

would love to hear the results of the test.
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Re: Planning for Late May Trip: Rae Lakes Loop or Deadman Canyon

Postby franklin411 » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:47 pm

rlown wrote:would love to hear the results of the test.


Yep, I'll post whether it's yea or nay. The doctor said I didn't have to do the test if I didn't want to (probably lots of people are squeamish), but I definitely want to know! :)
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Re: Planning for Late May Trip: Rae Lakes Loop or Deadman Canyon

Postby franklin411 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:32 pm

Well, no test. I collected the samples (bleh!) and brought them to the lab this morning, and they wanted to charge me another co-pay to have them processed. I was expecting to pay the Egg and Parasite test fee listed on my insurance company's cost estimator ($15), not an office visit copay ($40). I thought about it for a second and was like...why pay $40 for a test that very often results in false negatives...and even if I get a positive, there's no way of knowing where I got it?

Well whatever...the symptoms were mild aside from the gas/intestinal pain, and all symptoms disappeared after 1 full day of Flagyl. I'll take the full course of 10 days (aside from the pill's metallic taste, no side effects so far), but I figure I'd rather spend the $40 I would have spent on the test eating in a better, probably giardia-free restaurant after my next hiking trip!
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