TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-5/30 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-5/30

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TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-5/30

Postby seanr » Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:30 am

Annotated album here: https://goo.gl/photos/wYmyzJYJ8GzEYqH97

With thunderstorms and snow dominating the higher terrain near the crest this Memorial Day weekend, four of us enjoyed spectacular scenery in the granite wonderland along the Yosemite-Emigrant Wilderness boundary surrounding Cherry Creek during substanial spring flows.

A handful of sample images from our trip:

Image (Cherry Creek Canyon west of Lord Meadow and west of Mercur Lake)

Image (near Bartlett Peak)

Image (Inferno Lakes)

Image (Ascending from East Fork Cherry Creek Canyon to north of Bartlett Peak)

Image (Boundary Lake)

Creek flow data can be found here: http://www.dreamflows.com/graphPanel.php?rid=665

Not mentioned in the album,
mosquitoes were plentiful at Boundary Lake (7,500 feet), but just starting to bite a little bit late Saturday evening with us not wearing repellent. With the warm temperatures from Monday forward, they should be blooming and biting this month.

Details and images regarding snowmelt and lake thawing are in the album. The nearest snow sensor and temperature data can be found here (HRS-8,400 ft. & KIB-6,700 ft.): http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cdecstation/?sta

(Edit: fixed broken album link and snow sensor data)
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Last edited by seanr on Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.



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Re: TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-

Postby balzaccom » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:21 am

Great photos and report. We love this area.

How did the fire damage look on Kibbie Ridge? And did it clear away some of the deadfalls that crossed the trail?
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Re: TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-

Postby ExploreABitMore » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:27 am

Never been to this area, but looks awesome. Must go some time now, thanks for the inspiration!
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Re: TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-

Postby seanr » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:34 am

Thanks, I look forward to returning! The recovery from the fire was interesting to see with lots of small trees and brush. With a low start and shade often lacking, Kibbie Ridge is not a hike for the middle of a hot summer day! There are just a few logs to scramble over or walk around on Kibbie Ridge trail. There was substantial downfall for us to cross as we traveled cross country to tag highpoints along the boundary on the way in, and then from west of Mercur Lake to the trail on the way out.
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Re: TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-

Postby wildhiker » Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:07 pm

Seanr - thanks for the wonderful photos. I've been to Kibbie Lake and to much of the Emigrant north of the Cherry Creek canyon, but not to that boundary region. Great to see all that wonderful open granite again. I may make a trip there near end of June. Did you start at the Shingle Springs trailhead? How was the road to there?
-Phil
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Re: TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-

Postby seanr » Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:32 pm

wildhiker wrote:Seanr - thanks for the wonderful photos. I've been to Kibbie Lake and to much of the Emigrant north of the Cherry Creek canyon, but not to that boundary region. Great to see all that wonderful open granite again. I may make a trip there near end of June. Did you start at the Shingle Springs trailhead? How was the road to there?
-Phil


Yeah, we started from Shingle Spring TH. The unpaved road beyond Cherry Lake dam is smooth going until it gets a bit rocky and bumpy near the very end. It should be easily passable by any car. The paved road to Cherry Lake dam is long, but scenic as it switchbacks and winds its way into the canyon and over the ridges with views opened by the fire. I suppose the green grasses and lupines will dry soon making the burned trees more greatly missed.

You may already know that the hike to Styx Pass is long, dry, and not especially scenic if you stick to the trail along Kibbie Ridge. You could get it over with quickly with an early start, or possibly get a permit to overnight near Kibbie Lake and approach cross country along creeks from there. I look forward to exploring Cherry Creek Canyon and other canyons in the area far more than returning to the ridge trail, but I will say that trail is easy on the legs with its smooth, gradual approach, besides being an interesting place to witness recovery from fire.
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Re: TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-

Postby cefire » Thu Jun 02, 2016 9:26 pm

Fantastic pictures, putting this on my list now :)
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Re: TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-

Postby kpeter » Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:36 pm

Beautiful pictures. Nice trip!

I did much of this hike a year before the Rim Fire burned all the way to Kibbie. (Intersting factoid: The Rim Fire was not declared dead until 14 months after it started--due to the dry winter, some logs and roots smouldered for a full year.) At the time I counted some 80 deadfall across the trail, there had been a prior fire a few years before. The dead trees kept falling regularly every year, and the Forest Service did not saw them out every year. It sounds as if the latest fire may have helped to clean up that problem. Was the trail easily discernible and in good shape all the way to Styxx?

Yes--getting from Shingle Springs to Many Islands was a pretty long, boring slog. I saw kayakers porting their kayaks up that trail, though, all the way to Lord's Meadow! The strain of carrying those things, weighed down with their camping gear, over 80 deadfall must have been excruciating.

I am planning to head in to southern Emmigrant in a couple of weeks to see that same granite from the other side. Hope I don't hit the peak of mosquitoes.
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Re: TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-

Postby seanr » Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:24 pm

Yes, the trail was easy to follow, but we left it near Sachse Spring on the first day and did not join it until almost back to Sachse Spring on the third day. So, we did not see the three miles or so of trail west of Styx Pass.

With all the warm temps this week, the mosquitoes ought to be a significant part of the views for awhile, but the snow won't last long. Kpeter, enjoy your trip.

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Re: TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-

Postby sparky » Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:02 pm

thanks for sharing!
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True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
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Re: TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:13 pm

I just got back from a similar trip. You would be amazed at the melt. I went in from Shingle Springs at about 11:00 AM on Memorial Day; did we perhaps cross paths? There was a load of cars at the trailhead and tons of people coming out when I went in. I came out today and there were only 5 cars. Other than the first two miles from the trailhead, I saw not a single other person for six days. I will put in a trip report in a few days. I did the same route as you did, but then added the loop to Spotted Fawn, day-hike to Inferno Lakes, day-hike to Nance Peak and ran the ridge to the lake on top, then to Flora Lake, Barrett Lakes and Many Island Lake. Wasn't Cherry Creek amazing! PS you have a lot better photos than mine.
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Re: TR: N. Yosemite, Emigrant, Cherry Creek, Styx Pass 5/28-

Postby seanr » Sun Jun 05, 2016 12:10 pm

WD, a couple of us were only on the Kibbie Ridge trail for 2-3 hours in late afternoon Monday. The other two left Cherry Creek Canyon earlier due to our trip's taxing mileage, gain, and terrain with full packs on, but still only would have spent the full afternoon on Kibbie Ridge trail, returning to the parking area after 4pm. So, we all missed seeing you. When I came out after 5:30, there were just a couple other vehicles still there. We saw an older couple heading up trail near Lookout Point, but spied nobody else in the backcountry Monday. On Saturday, one guy made his way far along Kibbie Ridge with similar timing to us. Besides him, we saw one other couple as we all approached Boundary Lake from Styx Pass late afternoon Saturday. Sunday evening at Boundary Lake, we spoke with an HST member and his companion. So overall, I'd say we had decent solitude. The lot had been very full Saturday morning and Friday morning and (over the phone) the ranger office was very picky about all quotas being full if entering via ANY small piece of YNP.

There was talk of visiting Nance to see the steep side views, and I would not mind returning to visit more lakes. Mostly a couple of us think we would like to devote more time to canyon travel there. The trip was done with an adventuresome spirit; our original plans were higher along the crest and this trip came together last minute. Partly due to threads on HST, I was the only one who was highly skeptical of crossing Cherry Creek to tag peaks in Emigrant. It didn't take long standing near it to dampen that plan. After we eventually found a crossing that would have been uncomfortable, but likely survivable, the others were happy to head southeast to Bartlett and Wheeler Peaks instead. The flows increased more this past week; I know it must have been pretty impressive!

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