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Middle Fork Trail from Simpson Meadow to JMT

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Middle Fork Trail from Simpson Meadow to JMT

Postby rscofield » Sat May 16, 2009 7:40 pm

Still looking for an early season (1st week July) trip. Anybody done the Middle Fork Trail from Simpson Meadow to JMT? I understand there was a bridge at Palisade Creek that was washed out in 80s. How is this crossing? After spending almost my entire adult life in the Mojave, I am not fond of river crossings :) Sorry if this has been discussed but I cannot find.

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Re: Middle Fork Trail from Simpson Meadow to JMT

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon May 18, 2009 7:26 am

It's a beautiful and dramatic stretch of trail. Simpson Meadow is a favorite spot of mine; to me, it feels remote in a very Old West kind of way (if that makes any sense). The trail south of Pal Creek is very rocky, with lots of ups and downs that don't look like much on the topo but add up over time.

Now the bad news...

I did this stretch in mid-August of 1995, which probably translates to roughly early July of a normal year. Pal Creek at the old bridge site was not a good crossing place--very fast water, lots of big slippery rocks. We had a layover day at Grouse Meadow and did some scouting; we found a place about a mile up Pal Creek, where there was a snag bridge. You can't count on the same snags being there, obviously, but it's still a better place to cross because the creek slows down significantly at that point. You've got a mile long bushwhack on the other side, but if you're like me (and it sounds like you are) you'll take that as a fair exchange for an easier crossing.

The good news: based on our experience, you're probably in for a great wildflower display along that stretch of trail that time of year.
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