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Mineral King Day hike in SEKI

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Mineral King Day hike in SEKI

Postby abhijitaparadh » Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:50 pm

Hi,

we are visiting SEKI over labor day weekend. And have a day to spend in Mineral King area.

I have a some questions regarding that

1. Which day hike would you recommend? We would prefer hike around 10 miles roundtrip. I was thinking either Monarch lakes or Eagle & Mosquito lakes. Any thoughts?
2. How are the marmot conditions at the trailhead at this time? We cancelled a visit to Mineral king earlier in mid June due to the fact that marmots in Mineral kIng area love to chew on car wires under the hood early in season. Any recent reports regarding that? Is it possible to park the car at visitor center and hike a bit extra from there, if that means car will be safer?
3. Has the smoke from fire affected views in Mineral king area? I read in another post that there is website which shows smoke map? Can someone point to that website?

Thanks in advance!



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Re: Mineral King Day hike in SEKI

Postby maverick » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:14 pm

Has the smoke from fire affected views in Mineral king area? I read in another post that there is website which shows smoke map? Can someone point to that website?


http://www.mk-webcam.net/

I was thinking either Monarch lakes or Eagle & Mosquito lakes. Any thoughts?


Mosquito is the easiest of the three, hiking back beyond the first lake, to the lakes further in, to witness the real gems. Eagle Lake is really pretty, 2200 ft in 3.4 miles, and Monarch Lake is 2500 ft in 4.2 miles, the second Monarch Lake is prettier.
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Re: Mineral King Day hike in SEKI

Postby cslaght » Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:17 pm

Franklin Lakes would be a little bit farther ~12 miles round trip, but it is beautiful in that area. I've always felt that this area, then Monarch really showcases the color contrasts of the area. But, I don't think you'd go wrong with any :)
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Re: Mineral King Day hike in SEKI

Postby abhijitaparadh » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:00 pm

Thanks!

Franklin lake looks really pretty, though it may be a bit too much for us on that day. We are planning to drive back to SF bay area after the hike.
May be some other time...

Any update on the marmot situation at the trailhead? Anyone been there recently?
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Re: Mineral King Day hike in SEKI

Postby RooPhillip » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:04 pm

There are lots of cool day hikes in MK. Too bad you only have one day.

If a lake isn't a necessity, another great day hike to consider is to the upper White Chief valley. I'm not sure of the distance but it can't be more than 7-8 miles RT. This hike has a real mix of cool stuff. Climb through the chaparral, then the forest, then the foxtail pine zone and finally to a valley with solid marble on the whole western flank, with a mineshaft and caves to poke around. The ruins of one of the first structures in the MK area (a cabin) is on the way and easy to find. Also, you pass a surreal little valley where dozens of huge ancient foxtail pine carcasses litter the floor. Like huge pick-up sticks--you can see them on Google Earth. I wonder if they all came down in one massive avalanche, or were stacked up over thousands of years. It's a very cool spot. The White Chief Mine shaft is fun to explore (it cuts straight into the marble) and is pretty harmless. There are lots of caves up there too, scattered throughout the marble face. We're not brave enough to go very far inside these because we don't have the proper training or equipment, but it's fun enough for us to simply find their entrances and peer inside. Also, there are also a couple "open-ceilinged" caves where the creek has cut through the marble that are fun to check out and don't really qualify as "caving" but you still see lots of water-cut marble and pretty formations.

If you're a birder the first couple miles of the hike will keep your interest too.

PS The marmot problem is usually not an issue later in the season, but you can call the MKRS at 559-565-3768 for the latest info.
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Re: Mineral King Day hike in SEKI

Postby tim » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:34 pm

We were there end July (overnight to Eagle Lake: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13373&p=100371#p100371). No Marmot issues, we didn't bother to do anything to protect our car, only about 20% of cars had done (though would likely be higher % of overnight backpackers). For a day hike I don't think anyone was concerned about marmots.
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Re: Mineral King Day hike in SEKI

Postby limpingcrab » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:47 pm

My favorite is White Chief valley. If you really want a lake you can hike cross country up to white chief lake and the views (and fishing) are great but it's enough just to hike up the valley. The caves are big enough to explore for a while and get a little confused but not so big or complex that you'll get lost or need special gear, just grab a flashlight, watch your head, and go for it! Where the trail ends you can see the two most prominent entrances, if you go further upstream the creek passes by more entrances and you can actually follow passages all the way through and come out the main entrance but half the time I can't figure out how to do it again. All the way at the top of the valley by the headwaters are a few more entrances and a pretty meadow with the stream/pond going through it.

The smoke is occasionally a little hazy in the morning but gets better as the day progresses and really hasn't been an issue the last couple weeks.

I live in Visalia and have been going to Mineral King my whole life, have hiked every trail and abandoned trail, been to every mine and cave (panoramic bowl has some too), been to every lake and been up every major peak and I have never protected my car from marmots. It seems like everyone knows someone who knows someone who's had trouble but I think the risk has been blown way out of proportion. It's actually kind of a joke where we count how many people went through the trouble of bagging their car against a non-threat when we drive up. One time I saw a car with chicken wire around it and a marmot trapped underneath! Just look under your car before you leave to make sure all of your radiator fluid isn't sitting in a puddle.

In the end you really can't go wrong up there, everywhere is beautiful and has its own personality!
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