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SEKI Canyons North of the Tablelands

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SEKI Canyons North of the Tablelands

Postby thegib » Tue May 05, 2015 1:21 pm

Hi all,

I'm going in for four days next week and thinking of passing Pear Lake and through the tablelands to explore the north-south canyons immediately to the north (e.g. Crowely, Box, Ferguson east and west). Anyone have a most or least favorite spot? Is the vegetation massively tedious? It seems like a plausible early season trip. Any advice appreciated.



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Re: SEKI Canyons North of the Tablelands

Postby AlmostThere » Tue May 05, 2015 1:54 pm

It depends. How much do you enjoy snow? over talus and boulders? A friend just posted pictures from the Pear Lake trail in her facebook, and there is still some good coverage in the Tablelands.
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Re: SEKI Canyons North of the Tablelands

Postby maverick » Tue May 05, 2015 1:59 pm

You will have solid snow just below Pear Lake and into Tablelands, lakes at the head of those canyons will still be frozen, or
maybe just starting to thaw, especially in Ferguson and East Box.
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Re: SEKI Canyons North of the Tablelands

Postby thegib » Tue May 05, 2015 4:11 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I did Mt. Clark in Yosemite on tax day and there was no snow cover to speak of. I was hoping the generally south facing tables would be similar, and that the canyons would allow for lower elevations if necessary. Back to the drawing board.
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Re: SEKI Canyons North of the Tablelands

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue May 05, 2015 9:42 pm

I think all of the canyon's highlights are near their South ends. They all are nice places but I really like the lake at the head of Box Canyon. Too early now but great swimming at the right time of the year. Good rocks to jump off of on the South shore.

None of the canyons as far as I know have brush issues.
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Re: SEKI Canyons North of the Tablelands

Postby iHartMK » Thu May 14, 2015 9:12 am

I have always wanted to explore Crowley Canyon and find Shorty's cabin. But now i'm interested in Box Cyn too. What's the best way to access Box Cyn? From the north or south?
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Re: SEKI Canyons North of the Tablelands

Postby oldranger » Thu May 14, 2015 10:11 am

Discounting issue of snow you can access each of the canyons from either the tablelands or from the n. Dropping in from the table lands, except for Crowley, involves careful route selection from ledge to ledge but is class 2. There is actually the remnants of a trail dropping into Crowley from the Tablelands. the Shorty cabins in Crowley were about a mile upstream from Comanche Meadow. They may have been destroyed in the last fire in the area. Crescent lake is one of my favorite spots near the head of crowley, even if there are no longer fish in the lake. About halfway down crowley is large slab of glacier polished granite that I have camped on a couple of times. From the mouth of Box Canyon there are two old trails. One heads up Box Canyon to the first meadow. It is really hard to follow in places but in others it is the best route up and down the canyon. The fishless lakes at the head of the canyon are very nice. The route from these lakes to the w. fork Ferguson lakes is an obvious grassy chute. The lower lake has abundant 10-11 rainbows and the upper lake fewer 12-13" rainbows. There is a trail near the outlet of the lower lake that works its way down to the series of meadows in the canyon then passes the S. of Ellis meadow and heads west then n. ending at the mouth of Box Canyon (the second trail mentioned above). This trail is significantly obliterated in two sections. First avalanches have wiped out a portion of the trail below the lower lake. The second section is at the lower portion of the canyon just before Ellis meadow where the fallen trees from a fire in the 70's has created a jackstraw of large trees across the trail. To bypass this going down head west when you get to the downfall just below the last meadow in the canyon (there are 5) then head to the s. side of the unnamed point just n. of point 9048 on the HST map then drop down to the midpoint of Ellis Meadow (if going up the trail then at the midpoint of ellis meadow head s. Note that there will be some trees down across all of this route as it is no longer logged (I used to log these historic cowboy trails so I could patrol them on horseback when the Roaring River Ranger, no ranger since me has done that). Just down from where you make the westward detour going down the canyon there used to be a cutoff that led to the main fork of Ferguson and up to Ferguson Meadow and stops there. I'm sure this junction is totally obliterated by downfall. So to intersect this trail head e. when you get to the downfall area folllowing the perimeter of the downfall. If you get to w. fork ferguson without finding the faint trail you either missed the trail or need to go downstream. When this trail gets close to the creek there is a huge rock across the creek. At that point there is a cutoff that leads to Roaring River. After crossing a meadow and going up a low moraine the trail splits again. Go left to Roaring River and right, up the moraine to Scenic Meadow and if you skirt Scenic on the w. side there is a trail that drops down to Ferguson creek and Long Meadow (now incorrectly labeled Ferguson Meadow on new maps). Note: these "trails" are now extremely difficult to follow given the almost total lack of use since 1990. Unless you are totally confident in your ability to navigate without trails to follow do not attempt any of these routes! Fallen trees, avalanches and rockfalls can make for serious navigational issues. Also note that going up Ferguson creek from the Sugarloaf/Roaring River trail is a bushwhack over some nasty terrain and the general routes of the old cowboy trails really constitute the best access coming from the n.

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Re: SEKI Canyons North of the Tablelands

Postby creekfeet » Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:52 am

This is some of the most underrated country in the Sierra. Lots of nice lakes out there. Ellis Lake is not to be missed. It's about as big as they get, has a nice seasonal creek running through the middle, and is a true infinity meadow, offering views of Sentinel Ridge to the North. There's not much of a trail left from Box Canyon to Ellis, but the cairns are easy to follow.
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