July 19: Mineral King to Kern Canyon via Coyote Pass (almost | High Sierra Topix  

July 19: Mineral King to Kern Canyon via Coyote Pass (almost

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July 19: Mineral King to Kern Canyon via Coyote Pass (almost

Postby RodofJ » Fri Jul 25, 2014 6:20 pm

This didn't turn out the way I expected it, but I thought I'd post some info in case it can help someone else.

I'd planned to go from Mineral King through Farewell Gap, over Coyote Pass to the Kern river, and then spend time fishing Golden Trout Creek and checking out the cinder cone before heading up the Kern River and looping back to Mineral King. I hiked the JMT last year, and have been on some other trails between Kearsarge and Whitney. I assumed all the trails would be similar, so I just took a 1:125,000 Tom Harrison SEKI map and assumed I'd be able to follow stuff OK.

Long story short, as soon as I left the park the trails got much less clear; at one point I took a wrong turn and followed a ducked trail that wasn't shown on my map for mabye a half mile. I backtracked a bit to find the correct trail, and camped in a nice spot:

Sat Night - Toward Farewell Gap.jpg
North Toward Farewell Gap (I think)


Sunday morning had a little rain and hail and some light thunder and lightening. I found the trail toward Coyote Pass tough to follow in places - it was pretty overgrown and there was more or less nothing that made it clear to me I was following "the trail" rather than a game trail or something like that. About a mile west and 1,000 feet below Coyote Pass I couldn't really follow it anymore, I was worried about the weather and wasn't sure if the trail would get easier for me once I was back in the park or not, so I decided to head back and just do some different hikes. It ended up not raining a drop more; I wish I'd given it a bit more time (or just planned a bit better from the start) but maybe I'll try again some other time. So it was a bit dissapointing, but still ended up being fun.

At Franklin Lakes a helicopter kind of swooped in and then landed on a small piece of land; a few people got out and seemed to check out the dam, then they took off:
Mon - Franklin Lakes Helicopter.jpg
Franklin Lakes Dam Check?


The trip over Franklin Pass was awesome. I camped and fished at Little Claire Lake:
Tues Morn - Little Claire Lake.jpg
Little Claire Lake


I spent the next night at little five lakes, and then headed over Kaweah Gap.Precipe Lake was, I think, the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I took like twenty pictures and, of course, none came ven remotely close to capturing what I'd seen. Was planning on staying at Hamilton, but there were a ton of (loud) people there, so I continued on and ended up staying at Buck Canyon (I think) past BearPaw, where there were also a bunch of people but at least it was quiet. Friday I headed back to Mineral King. On the way to Redwood Meadow I came across this guy:
Fri - Bear .jpg
Fri - Bear .jpg (154.22 KiB) Viewed 533 times


In Redwood I found lots of big trees and the Blair Witch Crapper:
Fri - Outhouse.jpg
Blair Witch Outhouse
Fri - Outhouse.jpg (171.87 KiB) Viewed 532 times


And then not long after I ran across this guy:
Fri - Bear Cub.png
Bear Cub


So it wasn't really what I had planend, but it was stil pretty fun, and hopefuly I can do a little more planning and try it again.



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Re: July 19: Mineral King to Kern Canyon via Coyote Pass (almost

Postby rlown » Fri Jul 25, 2014 6:25 pm

a nice report. At least you got out!

Obviously, you didn't check out the crapper, or you wouldn't be able to post this report :D
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Re: July 19: Mineral King to Kern Canyon via Coyote Pass (almost

Postby Mike McGuire » Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:43 pm

That trail on Sequoia National Forest (SNF) side of Farewell Gap is in pretty bad shape. I made it through there a couple of years ago doing a "Golden Trout Grand Slam"in one trip. That and other experiences lead me to rate SNF's management of their part of Golden Trout Wilderness as the poorest in the Sierra.

Mike
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Re: July 19: Mineral King to Kern Canyon via Coyote Pass (almost

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:03 pm

You still made a great trip of it, and even more importantly, you made a wise
decision based on your own comfort level to back off, bravo RodofJ! =D>
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: July 19: Mineral King to Kern Canyon via Coyote Pass (almost

Postby sekihiker » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:48 pm

I got the same feeling about the country south of the Kaweah-Kern Divide after a recent visit.
http://sierrahiker.home.comcast.net/Sho ... index.html
It seems like the FS has given up on the area.
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Re: July 19: Mineral King to Kern Canyon via Coyote Pass (almost

Postby joshuacourter » Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:55 pm

sekihiker wrote:I got the same feeling about the country south of the Kaweah-Kern Divide after a recent visit.
http://sierrahiker.home.comcast.net/Sho ... index.html
It seems like the FS has given up on the area.


I was told the lack of a trail crew and funding has been an issue for some time. Hopefully some volunteer groups can make a difference in the near future. Bummer to see the trails becoming grown over and hardly visible at times. In my opinion it is such a unique area within the Sequoia National Forest's side of the Golden Trout Wilderness.
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Re: July 19: Mineral King to Kern Canyon via Coyote Pass (almost

Postby maverick » Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:36 pm

Hi Joshua,

Welcome to HST! Cool site by the way. :)
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: July 19: Mineral King to Kern Canyon via Coyote Pass (almost

Postby richlong8 » Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:43 am

I had some trail crew personnel tell me last year that they(Government) are focusing on maintaining the major "popular" trails like the JMT and HST, because that is where "everybody" goes. I know that is anecdotal, but it is interesting. Most trails won't survive without a little maintenance now and then. I had wanted to do that route from MK to the Kern river through the Coyote area, but avoided it because of the info out there that is was very badly overgrown with brush. Too bad, seems like some very desirable loops could be done using that route. In general, I hope in the future that people will spread out more, and realize the High Sierra is a lot more that setting new speed records on the JMT, or the Mt. Whitney trail. Or maybe I am just envious- I am not capable of setting any speed records anywhere! Obviously High Sierra Topix folks do get out and about more than the average user out there, in my opinion.
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Re: July 19: Mineral King to Kern Canyon via Coyote Pass (almost

Postby Nozmo King » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:14 am

We hiked that route in 2012 & were able to stay on the trail. However, it is especially sketchy from “Windy Flat” on the east side of Farewell Gap until you round the bend & reach some of the creeks like Pistol & Shotgun (? – I think that’s what they were called). The key to staying on the trail was to stay high on the north side of Farewell Gap canyon – the trail is completely washed-out in spots & it’s easy to lose.

The trail over Coyote Pass itself was actually in surprisingly good shape & it looked like a trail crew had done some recent maintenance. All that being said – we got to the Kern River by that route, but unless I was going to detour to Coyote Lakes (which we did not do on that trip), I wouldn’t go that way again. The trail over Franklin Pass & through Rattlesnake Canyon is in great shape & much more scenic. The Golden Trout Wilderness near Coyote Pass has had several fires over the last 8 – 10 years & large swaths of it are kind of burned-out wastelands.

Speaking of the Golden Trout Wilderness – my buddy & I tried to ascend Coyote Pass in 2009 & decided to spend the night @ Broder’s Cabin. We then proceeded to get ridiculously turned around trying to find the trail. We ended up wandering around for a couple days thru less than attractive backpacking country… Lots of brush & burned-out sections, although I guess if you like solitude, it’s all yours. Interestingly, though, when we went over Coyote Pass in 2012, we ran into an older, solo backpacker who was doing a loop & heading into the Golden Trout. We cautioned him about its brush & generally desolate nature but he was all good with it. Might have great fishing for goldens in those streams…
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