HELP WITH MEMORIAL DAY!!! | High Sierra Topix  


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Postby Trailguru » Tue May 11, 2010 8:46 am

In view of the higher than average precipitation that we've come to have this season (143% at Hetch Hetchy) I'm looking for a place to go hiking with some friends who are going for the first time in the Sierras. I was looking forward to taking them to Lake Vernon and do some minor cross country above the lake since that area is usually snow free by Memorial but as of this writing (and speaking to a ranger) Lake Vernon is under 5 feet of snow and they may be getting a little more tonight!!

By the look of things I don't think i can safely take them there. Is there any other areas in the sierra (We are willing to drive all the way to the Tahoe area from LA if necessary!!) that is low elevation (say 6,000-7,000ft or less) and is generally snow free by the end of May?? It would be nice if it also had an alpine feel like treeline and stuff.

My general playground has always been SEKI and the Mono Divide region but those are way off at this point. This is my first time going on Memorial Day myself since every trip I've taken started at least in mid June. Your help would be greatly appreciated ^_^

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Postby bitingspider » Tue May 11, 2010 11:23 am

Maggie Lakes might be a fun trip. It's north of Ponderosa, CA and reaches 10,000' I think. It's out and back and I've never particularly like the trail in summer as it can be dusty, but Memorial day might be perfect this year. Without further storms I'm guessing that the snow will melt pretty quickly in the south. You can check out
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/jspplot/jspPlo ... 5&cookies=
for snow depth at Quaking Aspen.

The real question is when/whether the FS road to the trailhead will be open. Contact the Sequoia NF office for details about that ( 21S50 I think ).
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Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue May 11, 2010 9:04 pm

The southeast side of the Sierra often has less snow than the west side. You may be able to get in from Glacier Lodge to the Temple Peak area (Second Lake and Thrid Lake). Another somewhat oddball idea is to hike into the Stone House on Tuttle Creek. This is an abandoned Ashram from the 1970's and is in a beautiful location. It is a short walk in. You can do lots of interesting off-trail exploring from here. On the west side, the road to Lodgepole is open year-round. The trail to Hamilton Lake may be mostly free of snow since it is on the south-facing slope.

A favorite early season hike of mine is in Yosemite - start at Wawona Tunnel, take the Pohono Trail to Glacier Point with stops at Stanford Point, Crocker Point, Taft Point. Very scenic. You can camp on Bridalveil Creek or Sentinel Creek (not sure if this is OK once Glacier Point Road opens) Then take the Panorama Trail down to Illioette Creek and on to the top of Nevada Falls. Continue a few miles past Little Yosemite Valley to the valley just above Bunnel Falls before the trial crosses the river. Nice camping here. Then return to Happy Isles via Mist Trail. I am going to put up a trip report on this route as soon as I can access my Photobucket account -I am having technical difficulties with that.

The north rim traverse in Yosemite Valley is nice and can be done as a 3-day trip. Go up to Mirror Lake, up Snow Creek Trail and camp out on the buttress at the top - fantastic view of Half Dome. You will have to carry water a short distance. Then continue up to intersect the trail to North Dome - camp out on the top of North Dome (carry water from last major stream). Then go back via triail to Yosemite Point and Yosemite Creek. Return down Yosemite Falls trail. You will have snow patches on both the rims, but the trails should be mostly clear. I actually have done the north rim traverse as described in April a few years ago, and used snowshoes.

One Memorial Day I have hiked from Cedar Grove through Paradise Valley with day hikes to Castle Dome area. The river crossing was difficult but I hear there now is a bridge there.
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Postby SSSdave » Thu May 13, 2010 8:04 pm

Was just at Hetch Hetchy last Saturday and there were hundreds of day hikers and the parking lots overflowing. In that area which I have been at this time of year many times in the past, it all looked about 2 weeks behind the usual snowmelt. Lots of snow on shady areas up canyon at 6k. All the ideas in above posts are going to be under snow this year. A couple dry choices would be Redwood Creek Canyon in SEKI, Lake Eleanor in Yosemite, or the trail along the south side of the Kings River beyond Davis Creek confluence. There are actually alot of low elevation trails in western Sierra forests that few people know about and are fine for this time of year. Just no lakes and High Sierra style scenery. Even in every one of the national parks. All one needs to do is open up any US forest service map, bring up topo maps online, and do your own exploring. For instance right there near Yosemite Valley is a trail from the Foresta area that heads up towards El Capitan. The lower trail is well below the snow line. One could venture off the trail a bit and be right atop the amazing Devils Dance Floor where probably no one will be visiting much less backpacking camping at. But then again...no alpine lake.
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Postby markorr » Thu May 13, 2010 10:20 pm

FWIW we did a three day along the north rim in YOSE Apr 23-25. Up via Upper Yose Falls. hit snow as we crossed Yosemite Cr. Solid snow to North Dome with decent route finding challenges. Found some dry camping on North Dome. Second day went to the Tiaga road via Indian Rock, significant route finding challenges. Camped at Olmstead Point. Returned via cross country snow to the snow creek trail. This is marked for winter hiking making it pretty easy to navigate. Ran out of snow as we started the steep descent. There was more snow than I anticipated but it was a good trip.
Lift skied @ Alpine the following weekend. Its going to be hard to find snow free trips for Memorial Day this year.
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Postby TehipiteTom » Fri May 14, 2010 8:15 am

There's always Cassidy Crossing (Ansel Adams Wilderness west side)--the road should be open by Memorial Day weekend, and it's a good low-elevation destination.

But in general, there isn't going to be much snow-free that early this year.
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