TR- Cherry Creeks, Emigrant Wilderness: Granite, Lakes, Birds, Dogs, and Blue Skies! Oct. 10-8 to 10-13-2020

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Re: TR- Cherry Creeks, Emigrant Wilderness: Granite, Lakes, Birds, Dogs, and Blue Skies! Oct. 10-8 to 10-13-2020

Post by balzaccom » Thu Oct 29, 2020 5:57 pm

There is also a route down to Cherry Creek from the "Viewpoint" along the Kibbie Ridge Trail--and one that leads back up on the North side to the Bourland trailhead. This part of the Sierra doesn't get nearly the traffic it deserves. Sh!


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Re: TR- Cherry Creeks, Emigrant Wilderness: Granite, Lakes, Birds, Dogs, and Blue Skies! Oct. 10-8 to 10-13-2020

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:06 pm

Description of Cherry Creek Canyon is on pg 158-161 in the Ben Schifrin 1992 guidebook. You probably can find some trip reports on the internet. I have also seen internet trip reports for kayakers. High water in the canyon varies each year. It is significantly higher in high snow years. The risk of simply tripping and falling in the creek is too much for me to even think about that during high water. If you end up in the water you are dead. By mid-summer water is down so you could still have some nice waterfalls and such and more safety. But remember it the dry rock is still very polished and slippery. The canyon is a lot more difficult that it looks on a topo map. Being able to cross the creek is very helpful in avoiding dangerous sections.

Here is a photo of Cherry Creek from Mercur Lakes (5/30/16, a low snow year). The canyon starts where the creek goes around the corner in the upper left part of the photo. I have walked the easy part shown. It is a nice couple hour hike from Lord Meadow. It looked like you could drop into Cherry Creek from Mercur Lakes, but it is about as easy to simply take the trail to Lord Meadow - easy from there until you reach the canyon. Getting to Mercur Lake involved a lot of snow post-holes and soggy swamps. Second photo is down on Cheery Creek a few days later.


4573_Cherry Creek in AM.jpg
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Re: TR- Cherry Creeks, Emigrant Wilderness: Granite, Lakes, Birds, Dogs, and Blue Skies! Oct. 10-8 to 10-13-2020

Post by kpeter » Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:22 pm

EDIT: I posted this before seeing that WD had largely beaten me to it :)
Harlen wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 12:11 pm
What about my idea to head from Cherry Lake TH up Kibbe Ridge, maybe down to a camp a t Many Island Lake, then over Styx Pass, then back downstream along Cherry Canyon Creek? Wouldn't this be possibly even during high water, and even at its best? It would be brilliant to view to raging waters. Seems like one could stay on the left bank, and avoid all serious river crossings, and either reach Cherry Lake again, or if that's impassable, head back up to the Kibbe Ridge Trail for the last couple miles? Does anyone see a potentially impassable creek crossing in that stretch?

I really wish I could include a Caltopo, but have failed so far at learning to work it.
Shingle Springs to Styx Pass/Lord Meadow is a great early season route since it has no significant stream crossings and yet takes you to a spectacular raging torrent that in high water is truly something to behold.

Coming back via Cherry Creek Canyon I can't say but I would be quite skeptical of doing it low and near the water--the granite slopes steeply into the torrent in numerous places in the upper reaches and I have read that it turns into a slot canyon in places below. When Cherry Creek is at its height, it is much like a sizable river.
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However, you can come back hugging the top of the rim part of the way, taking in the lake west of Mercur Creek. You can see down into the canyon from this lake and, as WD had done, hike from here up to the cabin at Sachse Spring.
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Re: TR- Cherry Creeks, Emigrant Wilderness: Granite, Lakes, Birds, Dogs, and Blue Skies! Oct. 10-8 to 10-13-2020

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:51 pm

The loop I did in 5/30/2016 to 6/4 was: Kibby Ridge to Mercur Lakes, over Styx Pass-Boundary Lake-Little Bear Lake, dh to Inferno Lakes-Spotted Fawn, dh Nance Peak and ridge, Flora Lake-Bartlett Lakes-Many Island Lake-off-trail to Lord Meadow, dh downstream, out trail via Styx Pass, last night at Sachse Springs (the cabin). I did a trip report, but I could bump it up and add a map and more photos, if that would help.

kpeter- it is amazing that you took some photos almost exactly where I did! When did you do your trip?

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Re: TR- Cherry Creeks, Emigrant Wilderness: Granite, Lakes, Birds, Dogs, and Blue Skies! Oct. 10-8 to 10-13-2020

Post by phoenix2000 » Thu Oct 29, 2020 11:09 pm

Exploring Cherry Creek has been on my to do list for years now. Someday I'll get there. Here are some shots I took from the Kibbie Ridge trail of the lower part of Cherry Creek.
Cherry Creek.JPG
Click on the photo to see a larger size. Sorry about the lighting on this shot. It was early in the morning on a cloudy day. You can barely see the white water trail going from upper right to lower left.

Cherry Creek Slot Canyon.JPG
This is a close up of the slot canyon that kpeter was talking about. In the 1st picture it's located a little above the middle of the picture and to the right.

A good source for getting an idea of what going down next to the creek would be like are the Cherry Creek kayaking videos on Youtube. This one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV1KbWvPOXY has shots of the people climbing on the slopes of granite to scout out the creek ahead of them.

One thing that would concern me with following Cherry Creek all the way to Cherry Lake is the amount of nasty bushwhacking you would have to do to get back to your car. The road going up to the Shingle Springs parking lot has been closed for years now and I wouldn't bet on them fixing the road and opening it anytime soon. So you would need to park at the trailhead to Lake Eleanor.
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Re: TR- Cherry Creeks, Emigrant Wilderness: Granite, Lakes, Birds, Dogs, and Blue Skies! Oct. 10-8 to 10-13-2020

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Oct 30, 2020 7:41 am

I have gone in several times when the gate was closed (parking at Cherry Lake) and either the road or the trail only add about 2-3 hours and are easy travel, and although a bit of added time it would be no more bushwhacking if exiting from Cherry Creek. The FS dirt road was very slow anyway so overall it should not be a big factor in planning a trip into Emigrant from Cheery Lake. In fact the paved road up to Cherry Lake is very long and slow. I usually drive and walk up to the end of the FS road and camp there, starting the rest of the trip the next day. It works out quite well.

That canyon shot is really amazing!

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Re: TR- Cherry Creeks, Emigrant Wilderness: Granite, Lakes, Birds, Dogs, and Blue Skies! Oct. 10-8 to 10-13-2020

Post by kpeter » Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:59 pm

WD, I did my most recent trip in 2018, and based parts of it on one of your trip reports. I think I found the exact place you pitched your tent on the ridge above Mercur lake looking down into the canyon, based on your description of it in that report. So it wasn't just a coincidence--but me taking your advice :)

Someone here talked to the rangers about the road to Shingle Springs and got the answer that it was on the list and would be repaired in a couple of years. My theory is that they are going to let it deteriorate so much that it will become too costly to repair and then they can justify permanently closing it. The trail up to Shingle Springs from the Lake Eleanor trailhead area is pleasant if not meticulously maintained, and I much prefer it to walking on the road. It adds a couple of miles and 800 feet of climbing compared with driving to Shingle Springs. I am sure that the kayakers are very unhappy about Shingle Springs being closed. It is one heck of a portage to haul those kayaks to Lord Meadow even with Shingle Springs open.

As WD noted, there is a campsite at Shingle Springs where the road dead ends into the creek, a little beyond the parking lot. I missed it the first two times I was there since I just headed out the parking lot up the hill, but if you hike the trail to Shingle Springs you come in across the little creek and can't miss it. Its viability would depend on the water flowing--probably just early season. A little ways up Kibbie Ridge there is another possible camp, I think SSSDave pointed this out a few years ago, on the intermittent stream just before starting up a barren white chalky part of the ridge. Again, viable for early season only.

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Re: TR- Cherry Creeks, Emigrant Wilderness: Granite, Lakes, Birds, Dogs, and Blue Skies! Oct. 10-8 to 10-13-2020

Post by phoenix2000 » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:03 pm

I was looking at entering from the TH above Cherry Lk., up Kibbe Ridge, down Styx Pass, and then, depending on the creek crossings (harder with dog), return downstream on one side or the other??
I had forgotten that dogs were not allowed in Yosemite when I first replied. You might want to change your plans and come in via Emigrant Wilderness. Maybe Crabtree trailhead to Hyatt Lake and then down the granite drainage to the west of Big Lake that SSSdave and WanderingDaisy mention on page 2 of this post.

The Kibbie Ridge trail crosses the border into Yosemite twice. Once for 0.6 miles near where the Kibbie Ridge Trail separates from the Kibbie Lake trail and the other section is about 3 miles and ends at Styx Pass. One of the rules listed on the sign at the spot where the trail crosses into Yosemite is that dogs are not allowed.

I did a quick google search for kibbie ridge trail dogs and one of the results was the Stanislaus National Forest webpage ( https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/stan ... rdb5361242 ) which states
Cherry Lake Dam gate to Cherry Lake, Kibbie Ridge, and Lake Eleanor opens from April 1-December 15. Only 25 people may obtain a Wilderness Permit to Kibbie Ridge/Lake, but due to damage from the RIM fire only 10 people may obtain a permit to Lake Eleanor per day in these areas per National Park quotes. These free permits are required year-round. Bear canisters are required and dogs, even on leash, are not allowed on trails.

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Re: TR- Cherry Creeks, Emigrant Wilderness: Granite, Lakes, Birds, Dogs, and Blue Skies! Oct. 10-8 to 10-13-2020

Post by CAMERONM » Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:52 pm

Great report. I made it out to Emigrant for four days just before the fires, and will post soon. I think it is an under-appreciated area. Lots of lakes to jump into all day long.

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Re: TR- Cherry Creeks, Emigrant Wilderness: Granite, Lakes, Birds, Dogs, and Blue Skies! Oct. 10-8 to 10-13-2020

Post by Harlen » Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:02 pm

CAMERONM wrote:
I made it out to Emigrant for four days just before the fires, and will post soon. I think it is an under-appreciated area. Lots of lakes to jump into all day long.
I can see jumping into lakes and thrashing back out, but I have read that you like to backstroke all around till hypothermia is a very close thing. I'd like to believe Cameron, but trolling through your website pages, all I find is shot after shot of your empty clothes on the banks of freezing lakes? commonloon, did you witness this odd backstroking behavior on your recent trip together? ;)

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