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4 day loop opinions

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4 day loop opinions

Postby amsel » Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:45 pm

I'm on the East Coast and plan to meet my son for a hiking trip in Sequoia on the last week of May. I grew up in the Valley and spent a lot of time hiking the Sierra, but it's been decades since I've been, so would welcome any thoughts. A couple of questions:

By the time that I fly in, drive up, etc. we'll only have about 4 camping days. We're alone, so we'll need to do a loop. Suggestions?

Based on the heavy snows that I've been hearing about, would the hike out of Wolverton be ok? I'd rather not camp in the snow, but he's never been and it's a beautiful introduction.

Just looking for thoughts/suggestions from the group.

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Re: 4 day loop opinions

Postby maverick » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:31 pm

Hi Amsel

Welcome to HST.
End of May will be too early to do anything without a lot of snow in SEKI, the
only place is Paradise Valley, if 180 is open to Roads End.
Rancheria Falls or the Merced Corridor in Yosemite are two option you can consider.
Maybe hanging out in the Valley, and doing day hikes might be an options with the
falls being at there best.
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Re: 4 day loop opinions

Postby balzaccom » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:43 pm

WE did a nice trio to Bear Lake in the Emigrant Wilderness, just north of Yosemite last year in late May. That hike was perfectly doable, but Granite lake, 500 feet higher in elevation, was completely iced over.

Here's a lnk to our website pages on early season hikes. ANything above 8000 feet will be pretty snowy, in all likelihood.

http://sites.google.com/site/backpackth ... ason-hikes

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: 4 day loop opinions

Postby Mike M. » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:09 pm

Would you be flying into SFO or LAX?

Hetch Hetchy, in northern Yosemite, is an excellent area to explore in early season. It is hard to tell for sure, but you'll probably find the snow line somewhere between the 6000-7,000 foot range in late May. You can do a nice four day loop from the dam at Hetch Hetchy, taking you to Lake Vernon (bears!) and Rancheria Falls. May is a great time to explore the Sierras and stream levels will be high, so waterfalls will be in full bloom.

Mosquitos can be nasty near the receding snowline -- look for campsites with good drainage.

During my college days, I would drive up there on weekends in spring, books and all, and hike up to a favorite (undisclosed) hideaway. Near this secret place is a grove of giant sugar pine trees, the largest sugar pines I have ever seen, anywhere. Girthy beasts, as big as redwoods, miraculously spared chainsaw and fire.

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Re: 4 day loop opinions

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:37 pm

The last week in May does cut down a number of options and this makes "loop" configurations difficult, as well. Note that we are on pace for a higher than average snowfall and much more than last year (which was below average).

The Hetch Hetchy area is the one sure shot, owing to the low altitude, comparatively southerly latitude in the Sierra, and rather open or south- and west-facing exposures: The loop that Mike M. mentions would work nicely: it might include Laurel Lake, Lake Vernon, and the trail to Tiltill Valley and Rancheria Falls.

The other area that will be thawed pretty early would be the going out of Leavitt Meadow up the W. Walker River (Hoover Wilderness NE of Yosemite). Roosevelt, Lane, Secret, and Poore Lakes are guaranteed to be thawed, but they aren't very far in. Fremont L. stands a good chance of being thawed (higher and further north than HH area, but this is east of the crest, so it benefits from the rainshadow in not having as much snow to melt off in the spring), but I'm not so sure you can cross the W. Walker River this time of year to get to it (I don't know if there's a bridge at the trail crossing). In any case, this wouldn't be a loop trip.

A hike up the High Sierra trail out of Crescent Meadow (Sequoia National Park) isn't a loop trip, but it will be spectacular. I'm betting the trail would be clear all the way to Hamilton Lakes and back, given the south-facing exposure of the trail and the comparative low elevation (Upper Hamilton Lake is about 8200'). This would be an out and back trip, but it would be highly scenic.

There are only a few other places I can think of that have a good chance of being clear as of late May. Kibbie Lake, north of Hetch Hetchy (reached from near Cherry Lake) will be, but it is a one-lake cul-de-sac and not amenable to a 4 day trip, let alone a loop.
The Buck Island Lake area out of Loon Lake NW of Desolation Wilderness (west of Lake Tahoe) also has a high probability of being thawed, certainly as high as Buck Island Lake, and probably to Rockbound Lake, which is a bit more attractive. Here too, though, there isn't much room for a loop. This option is to be considered only if you are really obsessed with backcountry trout fishing, because the scenery won't be in the same league as the other options noted above.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: 4 day loop opinions

Postby Ozark Flip » Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:21 am

From Wolf Creek TH, go up into the headwaters of the East Fork Carson River and Silver King Creek. You can make this into a loop by taking the high tral then the low trail. A fantastic early season hike.
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Re: 4 day loop opinions

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:20 am

If you are interested in the Laurel Lake Loop you may run into snow at the Beehive on
the way in, and after crossing the bridge at Laurel Lake on your descent to Rancheria
the upper section may have snow and after that be quite dry so make sure you fill up on
water at the bridge before starting down.
The snow will not be a problem by the time you do the hike, there will have been
quite a few others who will have worn a trail into the snow which will be easy to follow
by then.
The Laurel Lake area is a nice early season destination but do not expect any big
mountain scenery, but good camping, and pretty lakes.
If you follow the trail all the way to the back of the basin there are some smaller
lakes and a pretty cascade to see, if you are up to it you can follow this cascade up
to Lower Branigan Lake and continue on skirting the lake on its eastern side back to a
series of smaller lakes which will end up bringing you to the bench above Vernon Lake.
You can descend the ridge(class 2 scramble)back down to the trail and back to Vernon.
If the HST is open to Hamilton Lakes as GB mentioned than this is a pretty trip with some
great scenery, even if it is not a round trip.
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