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backpacking trips to take advantage of all that water

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Re: backpacking trips to take advantage of all that water

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:37 pm

Rattlesnakes are a fact of life - they are all over California! That we don't see more of them tells you how much they avoid us. You can see rattlers in your backyard, or in the foothills, or in the mountains up to 10-11,000 feet.... Just have to be in the right place at the right time. The best thing to do is to keep hands and feet where you can see them, watch where you step, and don't go close to the ones you do see. Go hiking in Yosemite enough and you will see them! I've nearly stepped on one on trails near Wawona, they will slither off the trail in front of you at Hetch Hetchy, and we have seen a few very large ones on open granite up high. There are only 1-2 deaths per year due to rattlesnakes in California. The average number of people bitten? 800.

I worry about snakes no more on the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne than I do anywhere else. They don't want to waste their venom on you - you're not edible.

If you want to see waterfalls the GCT is probably the best backpack - the other options would be anything along the valley rim (south or north rim trails) or anything starting at Happy Isles. But you are probably going to find it easier to get permits for GCT from either end than for Happy Isles.

another place that will have lots and lots of water would be Hetch Hetchy - the waterfalls out there are huge in spring - but, they are still working on the bridges at the base of Wapama Falls, so any trips would have to be up Beehive and out. There are areas out there that will also be wading, potentially up to your hips, or chest....



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Re: backpacking trips to take advantage of all that water

Postby maverick » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:31 pm

This hike is the best since you get to peep up Muir Gorge, see Waterwheel,
Leconte, and Tuolumne Falls at there absolute best, which is a spectacular
site.
Here is a shot of LeConte from the bottom of the Falls:
http://WildernessApertures.com/img/s1/v ... 9821-6.jpg
Here is one during sunset of the spray emanating from Waterwheel Falls:
http://WildernessApertures.com/img/s1/v ... 7345-6.jpg
Is there better collection of water falls in the Sierra, no, except for the Valley
of coarse.
The only other spring run-off that maybe more impressive (not waterfalls) power
wise, is the Devil's Washbowl, which will be spectacular this year, but is not an easy
early season hike.
Also the run-off from North Glacier Pass down to Stevenson's Meadow will probably
be quite a site.
But none off these have GCT beat, so if you want to see water falls during spring
run-off you will most likely have to get wet.
You could wait for Tioga to open and go up soon after and just spend 3-4 days
exploring the Canyon from Waterwheel Falls to Tuolumne Falls.
You can hike down to the camp area above WWF, and use it as a basecamp to
visit, and explore.
You can also climb up to, or near Wildcat Point, which is one of the best lookout
points in the Sierra.
If you go up than plan to spend a night on top so you can soak in the sunset and
sunrise views, absolutely gorgeous!
Views south from up near WCP:
http://WildernessApertures.com/img/s10/ ... 3184-6.jpg
View southwest: http://WildernessApertures.com/img/s8/v ... 3682-6.jpg
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Re: backpacking trips to take advantage of all that water

Postby Mike M. » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:27 pm

Great pics Maverick!

Another thing for the original poster to keep in mind is that this year, because of all the snow, the falls should have impressive amounts of water well into July. So if he is worried about having to wade swollen streams, just wait a few weeks and try the hike in late June or early July, when stream flows should be a little less extreme.

Mike
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Re: backpacking trips to take advantage of all that water

Postby maverick » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:51 pm

Mike M. wrote "Great pics Maverick!" Thanks Mike.
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Re: backpacking trips to take advantage of all that water

Postby tightline » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:53 pm

Are there creek crossings going up to Kibbie Lake? I misplaced my maps of the area somewhere.
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Re: backpacking trips to take advantage of all that water

Postby kpeter » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:35 pm

I was also pondering whether a June pack to Kibbie Lake would work this year, so I would echo tightline's question.

The trip I did last year (3rd week in June) which was spectacular for water was Hetch Hetchy via Beehive to Vernon. That hike crosses no significant streams although Beehive was marshy and mucky. This year it will no doubt be somewhat later than the 3rd week.

Hiking above Vernon lake past the snow monitoring cabin takes you to an incredible playground of water and granite, and the outlet stream is awe inspiring too. The most spectacular water, though, was when I day hiked from Vernon up the Morraine Trail and down into Jack Main Canyon--also no need to cross a stream, although just before Jack Main the trail was flooded knee deep for 30 feet. But once I got into Jack Main the waterworks were the most memorable I have ever seen. The beauty of the roaring water sluicing through granite and swirling through eddies--and an unusual color--will not leave me. In a narrow canyon with that much water going by you not only see the water, hear it, and feel its spray on your skin, but you feel its pulse and vibration as if you were standing next to a bass drum. And you can wander up and down the canyon with a new delight at every twist of the trail.
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Re: backpacking trips to take advantage of all that water

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:40 pm

Tightline wrote "Are there creek crossings going up to Kibbie Lake? I misplaced my maps
of the area somewhere." Yes, you cross Kibbie Creek a few times, but the times I have
done it in the early season the creek was a non issue.
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Re: backpacking trips to take advantage of all that water

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:03 pm

Yes, the Lake Vernon Basin is nice, and Falls Creek can put on a good show, as can the
creek draining from Branigan Lake that turns into a pretty cascade/falls in the
northern end of the basin.
The smaller lakes, south of Middle Branigan, up on the bench are quite pretty with
good views of the basin below, and the lakes a little further south having some great
campsites and no one around.
You can go straight down back to Lake Vernon, it is steep (easy class 2) in some places
just take your time going down.
And though I have visited this place numerous times,and do enjoy it, it doesn't come
close to what the GCT has to offer, IMHO.
But if you do consider doing it as a loop, than the descent to Tiltill Valley is very dry
make sure you get adequate amount of water at the top, and you will possibly have
some snow for a stretch starting off from Lake Vernon.
Tiltill will be very muddy so be prepared.
Here is a shot form the bench above Lake Veron on the way to Lake Branigan:
http://WildernessApertures.com/img/s6/v ... 4365-6.jpg
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Re: backpacking trips to take advantage of all that water

Postby kpeter » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:50 pm

Maverick,

What route from Vernon did you take to get up to Branigan? When I was there the Vernon basin was flooded and the creeks impassible, so I took the bridge and tried to pick my way along the south and southeast sides of the Vernon basin to follow the Branigan outlet stream up. It was miserable slow going through swamp and brush along the edge of the basin. Any time I started up I ran into shrubby granite where there was enough growth that you could not see far enough to route find. I'm wondering if I should have taken the trail towards Tiltall up high and then cut back around hill 7572.

There was no way I could have come down into Branigan from Jack Main, since that would have meant crossing Falls Creek up there.
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Re: backpacking trips to take advantage of all that water

Postby maverick » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:16 am

Kpeter,

Sent PM with 411 on Branigan.
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Re: backpacking trips to take advantage of all that water

Postby tightline » Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:44 pm

I found those maps. I guess the question I would have is regarding a trail I see from about the Cherry Creek dam that does not appear to have the creek crossings. This trail is a little NW or "left" of the trail that crosses the creek--but ties back into this trail near Kibbie. It seems to go up the ridge with Cherry just to the left as you go up. However, my son and I were thinking about a mid may trip that might just be out this year. I'll have to monitor the snow melt. That one could be tough. Like others on this board we've been exploring some early season possibilities. I got myself caught up in nearby Kendrick Canyon years ago in June. My buddy and I had to cross-twice--and it was a chore. I've been wading rivers all my life but that is one situation I can now pass on.

As for enjoying all that water, I saw some photos of Cherry creek making it's way thru the classic NW Yosemite granite slide and chute country. I have not been there so I cannot speak to the accessibility. It looks like Kibbie Creek loses altitude in a hurry too. You'd be hiking up between these two streams. So these smaller (although they will be pushing water!) might be a more preferrable alternative to days on a raging river. You have some lakes to mix in too. It's just a preference thing.

I didn't mean to highjack the thread with the Kibbie inquiry. I think I was watching the NCAA's or a movie or something with a beer and the laptop and plugged in the question when I should have started a new thread. However, I was thinking of those photos when I was reading people's suggestions about enjoyng the water. I think the photos were from google earth--showing kayakers!! Crazy. I wonder if the locations indicated are accurate. Hard to believe. They are represented to be in Cherry Creek well upstream from Cherry Reservoir.
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Re: backpacking trips to take advantage of all that water

Postby adornowest » Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:40 pm

Thanks everyone for all the helpful suggestions and the interesting discussion. I look forward to doing the trip, and will report a trail report. Much thanks!
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