TR: White Wolf to Pate Valley (and back)

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Bernard
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TR: White Wolf to Pate Valley (and back)

Post by Bernard » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:05 pm

Date of trek: Oct. 10-14

I do not believe that I have ever submitted a report so welcome comments, suggestions etc. I'm keeping this simple. Hope that's cool. That said,I feel that this really warrants sharing because it is and was the first time I ever embarked on a hike when fires were so close. If anyone is considering this area, maybe my comments could be helpful. Sorry but no images. As for the fires/smoke - the wind direction actually kept us clear of smoke for much of this trek but sometimes at night or in the morning one's eyes would smart and/or you'd smell it. A few times one could look across the southern rim of the canyon and see whips of smoke crawling down various ravines and gorges.Overall, it was not a deterrent and my lungs feel fine. Nightime skies were clear and we were treated to a really healthy fireball. On this trip it was my wife and a friend out of Midpines. Last time I did this was in 2007.

Some notes:
- Great fall colors just beyond Harden Lake where there are many nice aspens
- Tons of bears. Very skittish and all seemingly healthy
- All water sources between Harden Lake and valley floor were trickles at best. We ran into John Ladd at mid-point on our return who was lugging a lot of water as a precaution
- The river at Pate Valley running low. I'd estimate 20cfs
- We did a little cross country along the river bed to camp downstream of Pate Valley.

- Bernard








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Re: TR: White Wolf to Pate Valley (and back)

Post by balzaccom » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:26 pm

Thanks for the trip report---and the conditions down there. I would not have considered doing that hike in the fall. Any chance you have some photos somewhere else?
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Re: TR: White Wolf to Pate Valley (and back)

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:27 pm

Did you walk up the river at all or any other day-hiking? Is the bridge repaired by now? Where did you park your car? I thought the road down to White Wolf was closed. Lots of rattlesnakes down there- did you see any?

I have done a later season trip up the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, and the swimming holes were really great. We stopped and swam so much that it took us 3 days to get up the canyon!

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Re: TR: White Wolf to Pate Valley (and back)

Post by Bernard » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:50 pm

Balzaccom
I am sorting through images and will do my best to post at some point but figured I’d at least get an initial report so that anyone considering the trek could hit me with questions or benefit from my post. Please be patient with me but I will do :) We felt that fall was actually an amazing time to do this. Air temps at all elevations were such that we could manage our body temps (perspiration etc) in a good way. Layering up and layering down was important. Years ago I made some mistakes and caught a cold.

Wandering Daisy
I love how you were distracted on past trips by the swimming holes. With lower flows and warm days, the water is great for a dip. I jumped in only once to "de-stink". Evening temps were cool but nice. We were surprised to find no snakes except for a water snake now and then and even some frogs (two kinds; both very tiny). To your point, we wanted to explore a little downstream so we never even made it to the bridge but dropped to the river as soon as it was safe. In other words, our day trips were downstream. With the flows as low as they were, crossing would be easy for anyone - bridge or no bridge. The hike downstream produced a variation of terrain and zero signs of humanity. It is also where we saw the most bears. Much of the trekking involved rock hopping although every now and then we found useful bear trails. At one point we found what appeared to be a well worn Native trail. As for parking, we parked on the highway and walked the road to White Wolf. I believe that parking on Tioga Rd is now closed (as of a few days ago). There were about 7 cars there when we started and 4 when we ended (including ours).

Hope this helps.
B

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Re: TR: White Wolf to Pate Valley (and back)

Post by balzaccom » Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:53 pm

I am going to guess that the native trail was a use trail created by fishermen....
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Re: TR: White Wolf to Pate Valley (and back)

Post by Bernard » Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:16 am

balzaccom wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:53 pm
I am going to guess that the native trail was a use trail created by fishermen....
That makes sense however it was on granite with a rich patina and far enough from Pate Valley that the more obvious human trails had faded out. I could be wrong. I'll try and include it in the set of photos I organize. It was, to be fair, in an area with a lot of bear and sporadic bear trails so who knows, they (the bears) certainly can have an impact. I define a bear trail as an obvious path through the forest and brush that not only has bear scat but also one that frequently goes through tight spots or brush with low clearance (difficult for humans). To be continued :)

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Re: TR: White Wolf to Pate Valley (and back)

Post by Bernard » Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:40 am

balzaccom wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:53 pm
I am going to guess that the native trail was a use trail created by fishermen....
Hi Balzaccom,
Circling back to this thread with a link to my blog where I posted a few photos. Disclaimer: Life is very much "in the way" right now so this is not intended to be a thorough report but as I said I would, I included a photo of that trail we discussed. FWIW it's about one mile west of Pate Valley on a large granite rise above the river. Link: https://trouthugger.blogspot.com/2020/1 ... -2020.html.
Bernard

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Re: TR: White Wolf to Pate Valley (and back)

Post by balzaccom » Sun Oct 25, 2020 6:17 am

Thanks for posting those. Only wish there were more of them! The only solution is for me to go down there and see for myself!
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Re: TR: White Wolf to Pate Valley (and back)

Post by Harlen » Sun Oct 25, 2020 2:45 pm

Thanks for including the photos, and that bear video. Looks like it was a great trip, TEN bears-- now I am really jealous! What sort of trout is that? Is it another of those yellow-spotted, "Brown trout?" Thanks for posting your trip Bernard.

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Re: TR: White Wolf to Pate Valley (and back)

Post by Bernard » Mon Oct 26, 2020 11:05 am

And thank you balzaccom for accepting my humble evidence. I confess that I live for great trip reports and know that mine is a bit simple. Should you ever go down there, I'd be happy to resume the conversation within the forum or privately. I am not an expert on the region but do go there with the advice of people who know it well and/or in the company of people who know it well. I am not an expert on the Native uses of the region but we all know that there are many signs within the region. On a quick side note: I definitely caution anyone who does any off-trail activity to be cautious. Our boulder-hopping (with full packs) was not something I'd recommend to just anyone. We moved carefully and often teamed up with backpack handoffs in rough areas etc.

Harlen - Yes, that is a brown trout. As an obsessed trout person, I'll tell you that browns can show a huge variety of color variations and in N. America, but the genetic lineage is actually not that diverse (remember, these are a European fish). What is cool is that some specimens truly resembled specimens one sees in Google searches for basic European browns such as the "Loch Leven" and "German Brown" <- both of these probably being diluted and generalized terms here in California however it is interesting to note that these self-sustaining populations are probably the descendants of plants comprised of either German or Scottish (Loch Leven) stocks; tough to prove or disprove at this point. The species is pretty much feral all over the state and even in Europe, genetics are diluted. As for the bears, well, I like to joke that we saw more bears than squirrels. Strangely enough, it's not a lie.

Dropping into another canyon tomorrow.
B

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