TR: Rancheria Falls/Le Conte Point kids trip | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Rancheria Falls/Le Conte Point kids trip

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

TR: Rancheria Falls/Le Conte Point kids trip

Postby tim » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:11 pm

We had a great 3 day/2 night trip to Rancheria Falls June 18-20, with my 9 yr old twins and a friend with slightly older kids (he'd never taken them backpacking before, my twins and I have done 3 trips in previous years). Weather was great, low to mid 70s most of the time, though Sunday was slightly warmer. We walked in to Rancheria Falls (6-7 miles) on Friday, where we camped 2 nights. The trail was very busy with people doing the Vernon Lake loop and day hikers out to Rancheria Falls. Wapama Falls was impressively damp, Rancheria Falls even more of a torrent.

100_1357.jpg
Rancheria Falls

100_1354.jpg
Upper Rancheria Falls

Most of the good camp sites were taken when we got there at 5pm. We ended up at the far end of the various sites under the trees where it was extremely buggy. Lots of repellent needed, but even then the kids were getting bitten. Everyone was tired as well, so we all turned in pretty early.

Next morning we climbed up Le Conte Point as a day hike. We went up the trail all the way to the col then out along the ridge and didn't see anyone all day. Flowers were extremely impressive, we even saw (and almost trod on) a grouse and her chicks. The ridge was fun, very easy off trail walking and wandering up and around the various rock outcrops. The view from the top was also stunning.

100_1370.jpg
On top of Le Conte Point

On the way back, we cut off at the low point of the ridge and went down and round the various cliffs to reach the trail slightly lower down. All very straightforward, though it would have been very hard to find the right way to go up. About a 5-6 mile day hike in the end. When we got back to Rancheria Falls we found that the best campsite, on the rocky ridge near the lower falls, had been vacated that morning, and no-one had found it, despite at least half a dozen groups having arrived that day. We swiftly moved camp and had a much better evening, because the wind kept the bugs down to a manageable level even at sunset. A truly memorable place for our campfire and s'mores, with a great view down Hetch Hetchy.

On Sunday morning we hiked out a lot more quickly than we had hiked in, with the kids incentivized by the prospect of ice cream at Camp Mather. Wapama Falls was completely drenching this time, due to the warmer weather, and the dam sluice was open, creating an enormous cascade below the day use parking. Arrived back at the dam in only 3 hours of walking and then headed back to the Bay Area for a Father's Day dinner. A great trip, and a really beautiful time of year to be up there.



User avatar
tim
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 496
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:36 pm
Location: Bay Area
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR: Rancheria Falls/Le Conte Point kids trip

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:19 pm

Sounds like a great trip Tim! Thanks for sharing it.
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8029
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: TR: Rancheria Falls/Le Conte Point kids trip

Postby SSSdave » Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:25 am

Looks like a fun time for the kids and exciting for you adults. Nothing like big whitewater to awe.

tim >>>"...We ended up at the far end of the various sites under the trees where it was extremely buggy. Lots of repellent needed, but even then the kids were getting bitten... "

As I've been expecting to read this in a report. Reports at higher elevations thus far have been that mosquito numbers were still moderate. My suspicion has been they are merely still down in lower elevations due to lower than normal temperatures at mid forest and timberline elevations due to all the snow cover that tends to cause nightly freezes that kill em. And in those lower elevations with lots of glacial granitoid bedrock, they are all going to be in the green vegetation areas with very few out in open bedrock areas. Hence the better strategy is to NOT camp in usual spots people camp in that are invariably beneath trees that often grow in more green areas but rather out a bit in the open bedrock where your only shade is likely to be a juniper.

tim you mention getting bitten and there is a fix there too during peak bug season. The key is to offer minimal areas of skin and that means only the face and hands (dosed with DEET) with everything else covered by clothing they cannot bite through. So no thin cotton clothing like typical t-shirts or thin and holy jeans but rather tight weave synthetic nylon and headgear with a neck drape that also fully covers one's ears.

I'm likely to be in the Cherry Creek, Mather, and HH areas this weekend.
User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Location: Silicon Valley
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR: Rancheria Falls/Le Conte Point kids trip

Postby Ozark Flip » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:11 pm

That’s a great trip report. Too bad the crowds are so. Way to snag the sweet camp spot though. I hiked the JMT with my son when he was 9, terrific age! The peak Hetch Hetchy inflow has passed. A couple weeks ago it topped out at ~18,000cfs inflow to the reservoir. It was rising 10 feet/day at that time too….eventually spilled which is an awesome sight, that’s when the sluice gate was opened, awesome, triple rainbows! You never hear anyone mention Mather’s food which is the best for MANY miles around. Even if visiting the valley it is well worth the small side trip compared to Groveland, etc. I like to take the old railroad grade from Mather to Cherry Oil on the way out. If you know where to stop there is a ton of history still to see right off the old railroad grade. Grouse scares me to death! Like you stated, you almost tromp on them when all hell breaks loose, behaving like overgrown runaway quail. Great way to check the heart health! Again, great trip report with kids, right on with the right on.
User avatar
Ozark Flip
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 373
Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 12:31 pm
Location: Escalon & Cottonwood California
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR: Rancheria Falls/Le Conte Point kids trip

Postby ryanerb » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:54 pm

see any rattlesnakes?
User avatar
ryanerb
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:23 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR: Rancheria Falls/Le Conte Point kids trip

Postby tim » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:59 am

We saw one rattlesnake at the side of the trail on the way back about half way to Wapama Falls. A guy was coming in the opposite direction and pushed it out of the way with his hiking pole. The snake was not happy - lots of rattling and it looked for a moment like it might strike, but then it wandered off. Given the snake was as long as his pole I wouldn't want to have been in his shoes.
Other than that scary moment we just saw one grass snake not far from the dam.
User avatar
tim
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 496
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:36 pm
Location: Bay Area
Experience: N/A


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], MSNbot Media [Bot], socal_brian and 7 guests

cron