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HST campsites between big arroyo and kern canyon?

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HST campsites between big arroyo and kern canyon?

Postby frozenintime » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:00 am

hey all

my wife and i are heading out on the high sierra trail in a week.

many have reported that moraine is quite low and muddy. without moraine, it seems there's a major dry spell between big arroyo and kern canyon. am i missing a possible campsite here?

we are thinking of spending a night at buck creek, then a night at precipice (or at the first lake in nine lake basin if precipice is too crowded) and then... i'm not sure. the big arroyo campsite is far too close to precipice/nine lake, and funston or kern hot springs is quite far. we could do a longer second day from buck to arroyo if necessary, but we are not in a rush. moraine sounds like it's technically still an option water-wise, but less than ideal.

just curious if i'm missing something obvious!
thank you.



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Re: HST campsites between big arroyo and kern canyon?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:28 pm

I enjoy camping in an old site on the Big Arroyo about a hundred yards upstream from where the trail crosses the creek. It has a tree that says 1935.

Chagoopa Creek should be running but I have never looked for camping in the area you get close to it after Sky Parlor.
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Re: HST campsites between big arroyo and kern canyon?

Postby limpingcrab » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:28 pm

I haven't done the opposite side of that loop but sky parlor meadow is really pretty, has water, and there's an old cabin there so someone also thought it was a good place to camp at some point!

The view from Moraine Lake is great so I wouldn't throw that option out without checking it out.
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Re: HST campsites between big arroyo and kern canyon?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:32 pm

I haven't done the opposite side of that loop


Don't. It's completely bland with no good views. I thought I might at least get a decent view looking down on Sky Parlor Meadow but you don't. It's nothing but a small shortcut to take if you have done the trail many times and just want to cut through fast.
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Re: HST campsites between big arroyo and kern canyon?

Postby frozenintime » Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:58 am

i'm definitely not dismissing moraine - it works really well for our itinerary. i'm just wary of getting into a bad spot in dry stretches. perhaps that is a rare concern in the sierra, even in a drought year!

sky parlor is a very nice idea, though wouldn't that creek be fed by moraine, and possibly low?
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Re: HST campsites between big arroyo and kern canyon?

Postby limpingcrab » Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:26 am

Possibly, but most of the water in Funston Creek comes out of the meadows. You are right that not finding water is a rare concern in the sierra, even on a drought year. I hiked past Bearpaw camp and back on the High Sierra Trail on Saturday and every one of those minor creeks had plenty of water to drink so I never had to carry any.

I would be VERY surprised if you couldn't find water at Sky Parlor Meadow (disclaimer, if there is no water go back to Moraine to find some and don't sit there and die :)
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Re: HST campsites between big arroyo and kern canyon?

Postby limpingcrab » Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:30 am

Just FYI and not recommended but I have only carried water on hikes in the Sierra a handful of times in years because there's almost always water.

I go native american style and chug at least 1 liter when I find water and move fast in between, hasn't failed me yet!
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Re: HST campsites between big arroyo and kern canyon?

Postby frozenintime » Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:33 am

good info to know, thanks.

when changing my permit days yesterday, the wilderness person mentioned that mehrten and possibly panther creeks were dry or close to it. sounds like that's not the experience you just had though!
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Re: HST campsites between big arroyo and kern canyon?

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:28 pm

I would not depend on creeks this year. Until the drought ends, I plan lake to lake, unless there is very recent report of water in a creek.
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Re: HST campsites between big arroyo and kern canyon?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:08 pm

Campsites at Moraine Lake are plush and very comfortable. The lake level is down and it is difficult to get water without getting algae and mud. You have to filter AND treat all water. I thought the views were still quite beautiful. There was no water at Sky Parlor Meadow (at the trail) a month ago. Perhaps there was water upstream in the meadow but I did not look. There was a good flow of water in Chagoopa Creek at about 8800 feet. That area is, however, very brushy with lots of deadfall from an old fire- not sure you could find much of a campsite. Chagoopa Creek in the meadow at 10,400 feet (fork in the trail) was very small a month ago and I would not doubt it is dry now, unless you get new rainfall. Just about all the small creeks will temporarily flow after a significant storm. I agree with "Almost There", if you plan on camping on any stream between Big Arroyo and Kern Canyon, have enough reserve energy and daylight to continue to Moraine Lake or Kern River if needed.
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Re: HST campsites between big arroyo and kern canyon?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:14 pm

If they told you that Mehrten Creek could be dry or close to it they have no knowledge of those creeks at all. Mehrten creek certainly gets lower but never even comes close to drying up.

You will likely have one or two creeks running down the hillside on the climb from the Big Arroyo also.
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Re: HST campsites between big arroyo and kern canyon?

Postby MountainMinstrel » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:39 pm

Just finished the HST. Moraine was indeed low but if you go out to the far right end of the peninsula there is a sandy spot where everyone was getting water. If your pumping it may be difficult but we where all using sawyer mini's and just had to be careful in scooping up the water. We did all have to back flush the next day due to the moss.
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
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