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TR Hoover Wilderness via Green Creek TH

Posted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:59 pm
by NorCal Jon
New to HST and this is my first TR. Actually many firsts....first time backpacking after many years of hiking/camping, first time in high Eastern Sierra, etc., so apologies if this is a bit long-winded.

Since this was my first backpacking trip I had researched good shorter/beginner trips that were rated for early season, so I settled on the Green Creek TH in the Hoover Wilderness area. I got to Bridgeport at 9 am Friday and picked up my permit, and after a hardy breakfast in town headed to the TH. The road from 395 to the TH is 10 miles of dirt road that ranges from washboard to rocky but never requiring high clearance, so I was able to make it in my little 2 wheel drive Nissan but had to take it slow and so it took me an hour to cover the 10 miles. I mention this so that if you decide to make this trip and don't an off-road worthy vehicle you'd better plan for that time.

My plan was to hike past Green Lake to East Lake and camp for the night, then day hike the next morning to see if I could make it up through Hoover Lakes to Summit Lake and the Yosemite boundary, depending on water/snow conditions.

I hit the trail at 11 am, moving at a slow pace due to a) the altitude (I live at sea level), and b) nearly 50 lb. pack (long story - solo packing, not enough $$ for really light gear, a few "luxury items". The trail is pretty level over the first mile as you move along Green great, then begins the climb up toward Green Lake as you climb from the 7980' TH to 8945' lake. The trail crosses Green Creek at the outlet but the rocks were under water so I moved up stream a bit and found a bridge of driftwood logs. From Green Lake you begin switchbacks up to East Lake at 9458' with 2 stream crossings along the way, each of which were flowing swiftly but easily crossed. I made it to East Lake around 2:30 and was rewarded with it's stunning scenery under blue skies with pretty gusty winds. The trail moves along the east side of the lake, and I had read that there were decent camp sites above the trail, so not long after the trail moves along there I hiked 30-40 feet above the trail and saw that there was a bit of a shelf in the hillside with several nice flat areas that clearly had been used by others, so I found the best and set up camp with great lake views. I only say 2 other groups around, but could not hear/see any of them.

There weren't many skeeters, and the wind helped (probably a 2), and the ones I saw were tiny so I'm thinking they'd just hatched in the past few days. As the sun set the southerly wind died from consistent 10-20 mph with higher gusts to periodic gusts, but it was getting cold so I was worried I'd not stay way at night. As I turned in around 9:30 the gusts seemed to shift to the N/NW and warmer, but still strong gusts making sleep difficult, however around midnight it stopped entirely.

The next morning I woke around 6 am and could see the sun just starting to hit the peaks across the lake, so I made my coffee and sat by the lake watching trout rise (more on fishing over in the Fishing Hole) and the sun illuminate the mountains and reflect on the lake. Around 8 I headed out on my day hike, passing little Nutter and then Gilman Lakes with only a few short snow fields to easily cross. After only about a mile the trail crosses the creek that flows between Hoover Lakes and Gilman, and even though it's pretty narrows it's in the steep canyon and flowing pretty high and fast. Since I was alone and the water was high/fast, I decided that I'd better not try it. But after looking around it looked like I could try to navigate the south side of the rocky canyon up towards Lower Hoover, and at the outlet I carefully crossed some drift logs. From there I was able to follow the trail, easily moving around some smaller snow fields and over small stream crossings past both Hoover Lakes, then following the short climb to the top at Summit Lake.

Summit was completely ice free, so after following the trail around the lake to Summit Pass and snapping a few pics of the Yosemite boundary sign, I headed back down to camp at East Lake by noon. Since the skeeters were picking up, it was getting cloudy, and I'd already covered all the trail I had planned, I decided to pack up and head home so I could spend Father's Day with my pop.

All in all, it was an AMAZING trip with absolutely stunning scenery (and I've been to Glacier Park, the Grand Tetons, etc., so I know my high country beauty haha). I think I timed it right because the snow/water conditions were easily navigable, but the skeeters weren't much yet, although in another week or so it will get bad I imagine. Can't wait to get up again for a longer adventure!

My pics for some reason are not formatting into the forum very good, so here's a link to a folder with some views of crossings, lakes, snow, etc. Enjoy! ... ort=oldest" onclick=";return false;

Re: TR Hoover Wilderness via Green Creek TH

Posted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:37 pm
by maverick
Not long-winded at all Jon. Thank you for coming back and posting this detailed TR
and pretty pictures. :thumbsup:

Re: TR Hoover Wilderness via Green Creek TH

Posted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:03 pm
by Tom_H
Really enjoyed the TR. Great Details. And the pics are very pretty. Sorry they didn't format with the forum. If anyone else is debating whether or not to click the link, all the thumbnails come up with one click, and they're nice.

Re: TR Hoover Wilderness via Green Creek TH

Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 4:41 am
by Dag
great TR. Drove by the trailhead and was wondering what it was like from that direction when I camped near Virginia Lake. Really great photos and super detail—thanks!