Mid August Shepherd/Milestone/PicketGuard/Wales/Wright Lakes

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Mid August Shepherd/Milestone/PicketGuard/Wales/Wright Lakes

Post by dbogey » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:10 pm

This is my route I'm planning for an August trip. This year it's a definitive go and if anyone would like to add some "must see" places or camping areas please feel free to chime in. Will be doing this with my daughter and I don't know when or if I'll get back in this area so I'd like to make sure that I hit all the necessary spots that you thought were worthy. Going over Milestone Pass was mentioned here to see the meadows and a better "less dusty" route to PG lake. Both of us are in excellent condition and I'm comfortable with cross country travel. If you're going to be in the area let me know :partyman: .
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Re: Mid August Shepherd/Milestone/PicketGuard/Wales/Wright Lakes

Post by Mike M. » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:09 pm

dbogey,

How many days are you planning to be out?

I can't make sense out of your attached map and route options. Can you let us know where you are thinking of starting and stopping each day?

Mike M.

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Re: Mid August Shepherd/Milestone/PicketGuard/Wales/Wright Lakes

Post by dbogey » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:45 pm

trying for 8 days. will go over shepherds pass on 1st day. the map is a loop starting at the shepherds trail head and finishing there. we are open to cutting some spots if need be. I've been on the SHR and I'm comfortable with high milage days if need be. really want to see picket guard lake, milestone basin and Wales Lake. If possible also peak bag mt tyndall. I'm trying to see where others have camped or visited.
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Re: Mid August Shepherd/Milestone/PicketGuard/Wales/Wright Lakes

Post by thegib » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:53 pm

Never done Milestone pass - but I'd assume this year the north side will hold snow. Looks like a great trip. I find Wright lakes basin very open and easy hiking, but not remarkable scenery. You can make Wales lake in two days if you try.

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Re: Mid August Shepherd/Milestone/PicketGuard/Wales/Wright Lakes

Post by SSSdave » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:37 pm

This late August is looking like I may finally do the upper kern basin trip I've had planned for more than a decade. The reasons why that won't play out are most likely smoky skies or body injuries. After all I'm a senior now. Over the years on HST I've not read a single itinerary for those visiting upper Kern basin areas that plan to visit anywhere close to locations I've long put on my own list. And what people do list is most often just another lake this or lake that fest. About all I'll say is no my places are not along trails nor do they have names and are mainly about optimal landscape perspectives.

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Re: Mid August Shepherd/Milestone/PicketGuard/Wales/Wright Lakes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:51 pm

If you are going to Wallace Lake and Wales (best seen late in day), then going out via Wrights Lake basin is very logical. The best part of Wrights Lake Basin is going through the string of small lakes south of Lk 3645 and camp near the outlet. Lake 3645 lake is the gem of the Wrights Lake Basin. Then return
down Wrights Creek and over Rockwell Pass. I would also take the side-trip to peek over into Williamson Bowl when you are at Shepherd Pass. If you are a good 3rd-4th class climber, the north face of Tyndall is a fine climb over clean slabs- one of the "Sierra Classics."

This is why you go to Wrights Lake Basin:
Merge17_Upper Wright Lk.jpg
Merge15_Upper Wright Lk.jpg
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Re: Mid August Shepherd/Milestone/PicketGuard/Wales/Wright Lakes

Post by Mike M. » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:06 pm

That's a lot of ground to cover in eight days. Your first day will be extremely strenuous, then you've got only seven more days to complete the proposed loop, including the long, knee-crunching hike out to the Shepherd Pass trailhead. This is a great area to visit; I understand how tempting it is to go everywhere and see everything. Were I you, I would decide on one or two principal destinations to explore. Trying to fit all three (Picket Guard Lake, Milestone Basin, and Wright Lakes Basin) into one eight-day hike seems like rushing it and would involve very long days.

The hike up to Picket Guard Lake is not trivial. It took me three hours to get to the lake from the Kern-Kaweah River, from my launchng point below Gallats Lake. Picket Guard Lake is a beautiful spot. If you go there, you should plan to spend a day or two exploring the adjacent basins (Kaweah Basin and the lakes to the east, next to Red Spur). This is a remote and seldom visited area, well worth committing several of your limited days. Committing to Picket Guard Lake usually requires backtracking -- returning to the Kern-Kaweah the same way you came in. There are alternatives, but they take longer. The hike down the Kern-Kaweah is pretty with pockets of mosquito-infested territory. The trail was choked with deadfall near Rockslide Lake when I was there last in 2017. it took me most of the day to hike from Picket Guard Lake to Junction Meadow.

Milestone Basin and the headwaters of the Kern River are less remote but easily integrated into a loop that includes Picket Guard Lake. Route finding over Milestone Pass is easy in both directions; coming down the SW side is harder than going up. Below Milestone Bowl (on the SW side of the pass) is a bench with tarns and a stream, plus a few trees. It's a great place to camp, with stunning views of the Kaweahs.

If you decide to spend time in Wrights Lake Basin and/or the lakes in the Wallace Creek drainage (other than walking through parts of it), I would recommend you cut Milestone Basin out of your itinerary. You can spend days exploring and climbing in the Wallace and Wright Creek drainages. If I decided to go this route, rather than straight down the Shepherd's Pass trail to the JMT, I'd want to spend a few night's here. Tulainyo Lake, at the head of Wallace Creek, is awesome, as is Wales Lake.

Bottom line, I recommend you choose two of these areas, realizing you can't see and do everything in only eight days. Or, better yet, add another 7 days to your schedule!

Mike M.

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Re: Mid August Shepherd/Milestone/PicketGuard/Wales/Wright Lakes

Post by dbogey » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:57 pm

Thanks, Mike - 14 days would be awesome except I probably wouldn't have a job when I return :( We (or should I say I) really want to see Picket Guard Lake so the trip will at least include Milestone, Picket Guard, and Wrights Lakes. I do a lot of Photography so we'll be doing some layovers in those areas. 8 Days is what we are shooting for. Should be epic and I'll def put up a trip report. I'm still a few years behind on all my other reports. Thanks to everyone for the input.
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Re: Mid August Shepherd/Milestone/PicketGuard/Wales/Wright Lakes

Post by Mike M. » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:31 pm

dbogey,

Have a great hike. Looking forward to reading your trip report.

Mike M.

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Re: Mid August Shepherd/Milestone/PicketGuard/Wales/Wright Lakes

Post by maverick » Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:01 pm

Wales and Tulainyo over Wright for photography, though the meadow on the way up to Wright Lakes has some great wild flowers and views back towards the Kaweah Ridgeline, at sunrise, with the right light, you could capture something nice.
Wales is pretty, but can be windy, so getting a smooth reflection in it will depend on the conditions.
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