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2-3 night trip starting April 1st?

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2-3 night trip starting April 1st?

Postby rnevius » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:27 am

I have done a lot of backpacking in the sierras, seki, etc...but am at a loss for a good 3-4 day, 2-3 night trip for the first weekend of Spring at the end of the month that wouldn't be covered in snow. We (two 20 year old, fit guys) want to do about 8-12 miles per day and won't be using snowshoes, so the rout would have to have little or no snow. ANY suggestions for a trip would be great! Thanks in advance.



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Re: 2-3 night trip starting April 1st?

Postby rlown » Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:30 pm

I don't think we're ignoring you, but there's a LOT of snow up there still, and at 8 miles a day, you're gonna run into some. Salt springs on the Mokulomne wilderness (highway 88) comes to mind as the trail on the North side of the canyon. Tanglefoot crossing is always a bear. You'd be lucky to get 6 miles up that trail on April 1st, without skiis/snowshoes.

Russ
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Re: 2-3 night trip starting April 1st?

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:19 pm

What rlown said. Realistically, snow-free by April 1 means below 5,000' or so (lower further north). Time to think outside the box--and by 'box', I mean the Sierra.

Where do you live? There's Ventana on the central coast, or Henry Coe in the South Bay, or the King Range way up north; I don't know the SoCal wilderness options as well, but there should be a lot to choose from. And of course there's always the desert.
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Re: 2-3 night trip starting April 1st?

Postby copeg » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:47 pm

I agree with the others on this. Unless you are willing to deal with a bit of snow, you are going to be stuck with lower elevations. Options in Northern cal include Big Sur, Point Reyes, Lost Coast. Options in southern cal include San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernadino Mountains, and/or Los Padres National Forest. Other possibilities that you may want to look into include heading way south...Kern River Canyon and the Domeland Wilderness, although I have no firsthand knowledge of early spring in these areas.
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Re: 2-3 night trip starting April 1st?

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:09 pm

Let's try again, seems like the HST gods want to make posting difficult.
I see everyone before me has suggested the things I had planned too, so I'll
add Death Valley.
Also Merced Lake out of the Valley may be an option.
I have done this in early May, and had no snow except after Washburn Lake but
this year seems like a bit more snow has fallen so who knows and Echo Valley
may be flooded more then usual, but it could be a fun trip.
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Re: 2-3 night trip starting April 1st?

Postby rnevius » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:04 am

I know all of this is pushing it, which is exactly why I posted it. I also realize that a lot depends on the weather during that weekend. Getting our feet wet during the day isn't a problem as long as we can find some dry land to sleep on. Is Hetch Hetchy an option at all? I have been around yosemite and along the entire JMT and surrounding areas, but never ventured up there. We are even willing to base camp a little if that increases our options. Someone mentioned the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River to me, but that seems like it could get a little high. I'm looking into places on the coast, the only drawback is the "road-like" trails and barrenness of landscape at times that cannot (it seems) match the beauty of the Sierras.
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Re: 2-3 night trip starting April 1st?

Postby TehipiteTom » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am

rnevius wrote:I'm looking into places on the coast, the only drawback is the "road-like" trails and barrenness of landscape at times that cannot (it seems) match the beauty of the Sierras.

Everything in its season. The Coast Ranges may not be Kings Canyon, but they are at their greenest right now, and the end of the month is prime time for wildflowers. It's a different kind of beauty, but it's beauty nonetheless.
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Re: 2-3 night trip starting April 1st?

Postby maverick » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:30 am

Hetch Hetchy is doable and Rancheria Falls is nice.
The trail up to Vernon will be snowed in especially the Vernon to Tiltill Valley's
upper section and probably the Beehive area will also be solid packed.
3 days at Rancheria is kinda long, I wouldn't do it.
You can see how far you can day hike towards Tiltill Valley and maybe follow
Rancheria Creek as far as you can.
Getting over Wapama Falls walkway might be a little treacherous because of the
run-off, could be very slippery and the current could be very strong!
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Re: 2-3 night trip starting April 1st?

Postby Flycanoe » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:25 pm

Both Cherry Lake and Lake Eleanor are about 4500' elevation and the mountain in between is no more than 5500'. Cherry dam would be the TH this early in the year and you can hike across the dam to the inlet of Cherry lake (about 5+ miles) or over to Lake Eleanor and to it's inlet (also about 5+ miles). You can also do both as those areas are very scenic. Contact Groveland ranger station for more info.
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Re: 2-3 night trip starting April 1st?

Postby maverick » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:11 pm

Kibbie Lake is probably the most scenic to me in the area and I would highly
recommend it, if you could make it that far, much more scenic and intimate
than Cherry or Eleanor.
The highlights of this area are in the Edith, Fawn, Many Island Lakes areas and lakes
further back but you need to wait till June if you want snow free for these area's.
Also the Kendrick Creek area south of Edith Lake is known to be one of the worst
bushwacking experiences you can find in the Sierra only Goddard Creek, Muro Blanco
and a few others in SEKI come close.
I've visited this area in May without any snow, but be prepared for some rough
going unless you travel high up on the ridges, but the pay-off is that you visit
places not many have done before.
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Re: 2-3 night trip starting April 1st?

Postby TehipiteTom » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:49 pm

maverick wrote:Kibbie Lake is probably the most scenic to me in the area and I would highly
recommend it, if you could make it that far, much more scenic and intimate
than Cherry or Eleanor.
The highlights of this area are in the Edith, Fawn, Many Island Lakes areas and lakes
further back but you need to wait till June if you want snow free for these area's.
Also the Kendrick Creek area south of Edith Lake is known to be one of the worst
bushwacking experiences you can find in the Sierra only Goddard Creek, Muro Blanco
and a few others in SEKI come close.
I've visited this area in May without any snow, but be prepared for some rough
going unless you travel high up on the ridges, but the pay-off is that you visit
places not many have done before.

I've done Kibbie Ridge on Memorial Day weekend in a dryer-than-normal year, and I guarantee it'll have a ton of snow in late March of this year. More snow than rnevius wants to deal with, based on the original post in this thread.

My advice remains: if you don't want a lot of snow, forget about the Sierra altogether until at least mid-May. Check out Ventana or Coe instead.
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Re: 2-3 night trip starting April 1st?

Postby lostlandscapes » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:38 pm

Actually, Ventana is still closed due to the fires of last summer. Silver Peak Wilderness, just south of there, is open. A beautiful place, all of the creeks are full and flowing, trees are leafing out, everything is green, wildflowers in bloom, whales are migrating off the coast.....and there are some nice backpacking loops too :)
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