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Trips ideas needed 4th July

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Trips ideas needed 4th July

Postby tim » Sat May 21, 2011 4:54 pm

June 15 sounds like it will be very tight or more likely impossible for the Tioga Road given the latest updates (and the pictures of so much snow at 8000ft): http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tioga.htm (the May 19 update said there was 11ft of snow to be plowed at Porcupine Flat)

I'm also looking at my permit for Tuolumne to Agnew Meadows for the July 4 weekend and wondering about other options for a 4 day trip that weekend (I'm guessing Donahue Pass to Island Pass would at the very least be a long snow slog, though its not clear to me if it would be completely ruled out by difficult stream crossings/steep slopes - if its feasible but slow going, we would be happy to take 5 days instead of 4 - any thoughts?). So far I've come up with 3 possibilities:
GCT
Cottonwood Pass to Soldier Lakes (out and back or return via New Army Pass if the cornice has gone), or
HST to Hamilton Lakes.

Any comments about which of these might be more fun (and reasonably straightforward with my 10 year old twins, i.e. on trail or easy terrain off trail, without gnarly stream crossings) or suggestions of other alternatives? We're not bothered about solitude, just interested in some great scenery (no particular preference for waterfalls/lakes/mountains) and we would expect to do about 7 miles per day (we're done quite a few trips before including a 5 day Duck Pass to Reds Meadow loop last summer, I've done numerous winter and off-trail trips before they were born, though in Europe not the Sierra).

I realize permits might be an issue on some of these popular trails for the July 4 weekend itself, but we're planning to start on Thursday June 30 and would go up Wednesday to get a walk-in permit if need be. Unfortunately we're away for much of the summer, so we can't go later in July (and we already have another backpacking trip planned for August and a third one for Labor Day weekend)



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Re: Trips ideas needed 4th July

Postby Cross Country » Sun May 22, 2011 10:42 am

My choice with my 10 yo son Jim would have been Laurel, then Bearup Lake. With Mike (at 10) I would go somewhere more difficult like Edith. On 2nd thought maybe not Laurel because there is a stream crossing on a log jam. I'd just go to Bearup, maybe Miwok.

tom
Last edited by Cross Country on Sun May 22, 2011 4:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Trips ideas needed 4th July

Postby markskor » Sun May 22, 2011 12:31 pm

July 4th...might be trouble with snow still.
Misc thoughts on your suggestions:
1) Lyell Canyon all the way to Donahue makes for a long day...first day too...at altitude. Suggest instead doing this half way up the hill (after the first 7 mile cake-walk) and camping at Twin Bridges...maybe 9 miles total, and doing the pass next morning when still solid walking. Could be done depending on how much snow at the pass. Suggest 5 days , minimum, and take it easy. Nice trip but realize you are going high - 11,000 at the pass? Nice trip though - a classic.

2) You never said if you fish but... Horseshoe Meadows to South Fork Lake first night...on to Cottonwoods second - lots to see there and maybe go over NAP, but expect the cornice still. Soldier is a long way for 10-year-olds, but possible...I would just stay in the Cottonwood Basin and fish, but that is just me.

3) If Tioga open and snow is passable...maybe fisherman trail, (or main trail) up to Lower Cathedral...Upper Cathedral...Sunrise Lakes and down Tenaya trail - (loop)...nice 4 - 5 day trip with small ones along.
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Re: Trips ideas needed 4th July

Postby SweetSierra » Sun May 22, 2011 1:07 pm

Also consider going from Horseshoe Meadows Trailhead south over Trail Pass to Bullfrog Meadows and Mulkey Meadows and perhaps down to the south fork of the Kern at Templeton Meadows and the back out the way you came. Golden Trout Wilderness is where I usually go in late May or early June because the snow melts quickly in that region. Not very many people visit the area so you are guaranteed solitude.
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Re: Trips ideas needed 4th July

Postby tim » Sun May 22, 2011 3:32 pm

Thanks Markskor. We did the Cathedral to Sunrise loop (over 3 days) a couple of years ago and definitely enjoyed it.

Sounds like Donahue might not be completely out of the question. I guess there will be a boot trail through there by then from the PCTers. What I'm not clear about is whether there are any problematic stream crossings at that time of year. The books I've read say basically all the hard stream crossings have bridges/logs but that might not be true so early on (I'm thinking particularly of the Rush Creek drainage and the two(?) fords on the way up to Donahue Pass). When you suggest 5 days/4 nights, would you then do Twin Bridges night 1, Rush Creek night 2, Thousand Island night 3 and Shadow Creek/Ediza night 4?
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Re: Trips ideas needed 4th July

Postby markskor » Sun May 22, 2011 3:58 pm

tim wrote: When you suggest 5 days/4 nights, would you then do Twin Bridges night 1, Rush Creek night 2, Thousand Island night 3 and Shadow Creek/Ediza night 4?

Sounds about right, with 10-year-olds:
- One night Tuolumne BP camp - no reservation needed - acclimatization
- Twin Bridges
- Rush Creek drainage - somewhere, cannot go wrong. BTW, avoid Waugh - looks inviting but a bog. Stay Rush Creek...BTW, no bad crossings - all bridges/established logs
- 1000 Island - (if it were me, I would do 2 nights here, especially if fishing and if no wind).
tim wrote: Shadow Creek/Ediza night 4?

- Any of a number of lakes possible, whatever strikes your fancy, realizing that there are three trails on your way down to
- Agnew Meadows...free shuttle to Reds, and $ shuttle from there up to Mammoth
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Re: Trips ideas needed 4th July

Postby oldranger » Thu May 26, 2011 6:34 pm

Might also consider lakes in the W. Fork Granite Creek basin. A loop trip is possible. TH is about 7,200. Lower lakes about 8500.

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Re: Trips ideas needed 4th July

Postby quentinc » Thu May 26, 2011 8:21 pm

SweetSierra wrote:Golden Trout Wilderness is where I usually go in late May or early June because the snow melts quickly in that region. Not very many people visit the area so you are guaranteed solitude.

Not many people do, but a lot of cows do! Does anyone know when the plague of cattle generally arrives?
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Re: Trips ideas needed 4th July

Postby texan » Sat May 28, 2011 8:40 am

How LLV out of Rock Creek. Easy hiking, good fishing, and nice views.

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Re: Trips ideas needed 4th July

Postby SPeacock » Sat May 28, 2011 11:00 am

Depends where you are starting from.

If from the south, then the trail to Cottonwood Lakes from Horseshoe Meadows (Lone Pine) should be clear by then - even this year. Probably not a good idea for the passes, however. Easily make it a 3 day trip with exploration as well. You would probably have some snow on the trail after Cottonwood pass making Soldier a bit dogie.

If from the north, HST to Bearpaw Meadows is a long first day for a 10 year old. There is an option to stay at Merten Creek - about 1/2 way. You probably should also have clear trail to Hamilton Lakes and probably a long way up Valhalla as well. Probably Tamarack Lake might be open as well.
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Re: Trips ideas needed 4th July

Postby KathyW » Sun May 29, 2011 10:01 am

This year, it might be better to stick to the southeastern part of the Sierra for the 4th of July weekend if going in with children. Going over Cottonwood Pass might work. Cottonwood Pass Trailhead to Chicken Spring Lakes on Day One, Then on to either Soldier Lakes or Rock Creek on Day Two where you could base camp and wander up into Miter Basin as a day hike on Day 3. Then you could head back out from there.

You could also just go in to one of the Cottonwood Lakes, set up basecamp, and do day hikes from basecamp. The children and the adult would only have to carry a heavy pack on the day you go in and the day you go out that way. If New Army Pass is passable for the children, you could day hike up to the Pass and enjoy the views.

August would be more enjoyable than early July - less bugs, less slush and mush, and the creek crossings shouldn't be as dangerous.

PS: We're looking at doing Mount Ritter from Lake Ediza over 4th of July weekend. Inyo National Forest said the road to Agnew Meadow/Reds Meadow will be open by that weekend. They expect it to open up around the 25th of June - pretty late.
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Re: Trips ideas needed 4th July

Postby tim » Mon May 30, 2011 8:25 am

Yes I think that's exactly what we are going to do now.
Day 1: Cottonwood Pass to Chicken Spring Lake
Day 2: Chicken Spring Lake to Lower Soldier Lake
Day 3: Day hike in Miter Basin
Day 4: Back out
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