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Kibbie Lake/Spotted Fawn July 2011 Questions

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Kibbie Lake/Spotted Fawn July 2011 Questions

Postby richapple » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:42 am

Planning a trip in a week to and beyond Kibbie Lake. I'm fishing for info, so to make it organized, I'll use numbers! I'm thinking someone could have ventured out there over the long weekend of July 4th, as well as just know stuff from prior experience.

1. Heard the road to Shingle Springs hadn't been graded by late June but was navigable with care and caution in just a car. Anyone know if it's been graded yet and is better? (I may call the Groveland number 209-962-7825 today and will update if they know.)

2. Standard topos (MyTopo) don't show a cut-over trail to Flora Lake, but an old Emigrant Wilderness book map (Ben Schifrin?) shows a light trail (ducks I presume) from the east side of the the Kibbie Lake outlet that heads pretty much south and catches up with a trail from Eleanor to Flora (which with Shingle Springs parking would be shorter than Eleanor to Flora, and include Kibbie). Anyone know how easy that is to spot and follow? (And yeah, that Eleanor to Flora trail isn't on standard topos either, so assuming very unmaintained.)

3. Any tips on Flora to Spotted Fawn? Heading North and East north of the 7276 peak and south of the ridges south of the 7563 peak looks the way to go, but any insights?

4. Best campsite zones for Flora, Spotted Fawn, Little Bear lakes?

5. X-Country to Many Island Lake and then south back to Kibbie for a loop? Possibly up to Styx via Boundary and down the Kibbie Ridge Trail, but we just may be happy trundling back via Flora...

6. Rattle snakes, skeeters, and poison oak. I'll keep watching the 2011 Skeeter Reports topic, but overall I assume the presence of all these for this trip. Maybe poison oak just starting out...

Trip Advice Info 'bout us (referring to the "how to" post):

Level of backpacking = Level 3 usually, but with quite a bit of varied x-country travel under our belts.

Terrain = Class 2 perhaps. We take our boots off for more creek crossings than some, and the word "Col." generally means "turn around and run" to us. (col. = steep pass not able to be called a trail pass in my mind)

Hiking over huge talus fields (giant scree)? Not our thing! But probably not a part of this lower trip anyway...

Lakes, Forests - but the more alpine the better, Big Mountain Scenery, Photography...

This trip is our "short trip" for the early season, but 5 or 6 nights anyway. Actually, I've probably gone further than needed with the "Suggestions for requesting trip advice" already since I'm not fishing for a trip suggestion, but more suggestions about a targeted trip.

Thanks to anyone in advance for any input!
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Re: Kibbie Lake/Spotted Fawn July 2011 Questions

Postby TehipiteTom » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:32 am

First of all, I did a trip report a couple of years ago covering a lot of that area; might be helpful.
richapple wrote:2. Standard topos (MyTopo) don't show a cut-over trail to Flora Lake, but an old Emigrant Wilderness book map (Ben Schifrin?) shows a light trail (ducks I presume) from the east side of the the Kibbie Lake outlet that heads pretty much south and catches up with a trail from Eleanor to Flora (which with Shingle Springs parking would be shorter than Eleanor to Flora, and include Kibbie). Anyone know how easy that is to spot and follow? (And yeah, that Eleanor to Flora trail isn't on standard topos either, so assuming very unmaintained.)

I did that in reverse a couple years ago, and it's a reasonably distinct track at the Kibbie trail end, more cross-country at the Flora end. Look for it near the top of the switchbacks south from Kibbie.
3. Any tips on Flora to Spotted Fawn? Heading North and East north of the 7276 peak and south of the ridges south of the 7563 peak looks the way to go, but any insights?

From Spotted Fawn to Flora, I went first NW over to the Bartlett Creek drainage, then down the drainage, and it was (mostly) a breeze. (The one thing I would do differently is go west of the irregularly-shaped lake at the confluence of Bartlett Creek & Flora outlet, instead of circling east of it.) IIRC, heavy brush cut off the northwestern shoreline of Spotted Fawn from the southern shoreline, so heading south wasn't really an appealing option for me.
4. Best campsite zones for Flora, Spotted Fawn, Little Bear lakes?

Had a nice camp near the northwest shoreline of Spotted Fawn.
5. X-Country to Many Island Lake and then south back to Kibbie for a loop? Possibly up to Styx via Boundary and down the Kibbie Ridge Trail, but we just may be happy trundling back via Flora...

Reverse of my route: I did Kibbie Ridge, cut off to Many Island short of Styx Pass, then over to Spotted Fawn. Nice easy X-C route, really pretty. Kibbie Ridge is sorta boring, though.
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Re: Kibbie Lake/Spotted Fawn July 2011 Questions

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:53 am

To add my $00.02 worth:
richapple wrote:1. Heard the road to Shingle Springs hadn't been graded by late June but was navigable with care and caution in just a car.


Yes, it is a bit bumpy the last mile. Even if it were graded, it would still be bumpy. Drive slow.

2. Standard topos (MyTopo) don't show a cut-over trail to Flora Lake, but an old Emigrant Wilderness book map (Ben Schifrin?) shows a light trail ...


If I were to trek to Flora, I would go first to the Boundary Lake area via Kibbie Ridge (trail in very poor condition), then cross-country from the outlet of Little Bear Lake to Flora, following the west side of the streams and lakes. It's easy. From Flora, just head west to the top of the hill and try to find the remains of the old trail that goes SW on Schifrins' map. Watch out: at one point the trail takes a hard right, and a tree landed right on it length-wise, making the trail (what is left of it) seem to dead-end.

I would avoid the Spotted Fawn to Flora route when the one I suggest is so much easier. Your choice.

There is excellent camping at the west and east end of Flora Lake.

richapple wrote:5. X-Country to Many Island Lake and then south back to Kibbie for a loop?

When I went to Flora Lake, we started at Many Island Lake (one of my all-time favorite lakes), but it may be best to go over to Little Bear Lake first before heading down to Flora lake.

Mosquitoes would be the primary worry in July. No poison oak there.
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Looking west from at Flora Lake.
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Re: Kibbie Lake/Spotted Fawn July 2011 Questions

Postby Cross Country » Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:27 pm

Tom and Doyle really nailed this. Their descriptions are effectively perfect. It's been decades since I've been to these but I've talked to people (I always talk to people) about them. From what I understand, Flora no longer has fish (I caught some there). Spotted Faun used to have big fish, but no more. From Flora I (we) hiked to Edith. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. This year you wouldn't be able to cross Kendrick RIVER (I mean creek). Kibbie is visited by many people (crowded in July this year). It has decent fishing. The better trip is to Laurel L. On my 5 (or 6) day trips I always went to Edith from Laurel and I was not a stud hiker. Before attempting Edith from Laurel BE SURE and talk to me. I'm the world expert (apparently) for this route. I don't know that the fishing is still this good at Edith. It's surly
a pleasant place to be as you can tell by the attire of the boys.

Edith Lake
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Re: Kibbie Lake/Spotted Fawn July 2011 Questions

Postby richapple » Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:05 pm

Thank you, Tehipite Tom and Doyle, and Cross Country's post nailed it that you two nailed it. Your descriptions, advice, and that excellent TR, Tehipite. Our trip will be better for it and hopefully it won't be too long 'till I post a TR.

The Groveland ranger didn't know if/when there'd be any grading of the road to Shingle, but I have done plenty of super slow and careful driving, so I think we will opt for that closer access.

Yeah, the way this year is, it makes sense that more folks have been going to Kibbie, and the ranger did say that on weekends the quota is filling up. Hopefully points beyond will be lonelier. (My Schifrin book from 1990 must have been before quotas there. The logging road to Shingle Springs was fairly new in that edition and he lamented the increased access and resulting yayhoos and litter.)

Did the Laurel Lake/Vernon/Fall Creek Falls/Tiltill/Rancheria Loop one early trip, and is it "Frog Creek" before Laurel? One wild crossing for us, and while we thought Vernon and up to Fall Creek Falls was very nice for those els, Laurel away from the main outlet campsite (which was occupied) had very little lake access, a lot of brush, and too many mosquitos. At Vernon we were up from that natural boat landing granite at the east end, and there was enough breeze to help with the skeeters.

I do actually have some images of that Hetch Hetchy loop trip (2006) - at http://www.richapple.com/backpacking/ve ... index.html

The salamanders at Vernon were a kick!

Thanks again, all, for the Kibbie area info...
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Re: Kibbie Lake/Spotted Fawn July 2011 Questions

Postby phoenix2000 » Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:43 am

Thought I would add my 2 cents too. I was there 11 months ago.

1.) The road you take to the dam, Cherry Lake Road is paved but is only barely wide enough for 2 cars to squeeze past each other. When your on it be very alert because people (even the rangers) like to speed and they like to drive in the middle of the road.

The parking lot for the Kibbie trailhead is at the very end of the dirt road. Its a very long ways in so keep going straight & don't take any of the side roads.

2.) Like everyone else that posted I did your route in reverse. When I went up and over the mountain from Flora to Kibbie I didn't see much of a trail. I only saw 2 ducks about 3/4 the way up the mountain on the Flora side and a stretch of trail about 50 feet long at the top. The trail ran into a fallen tree and disappeared. That may have been the spot that Doyle warned about. I'll have to take a closer look when I go back this August.

3.) If it was me I would head up the Bartlett Creek drainage so that I could check out all the little lakes. You can either go all the way up to Little Bear Lake and then down to Spotted Fawn Lake or cut up and over before getting to Little Bear. I'm not entirely sure about the Spotted Fawn Lake area. I missed it last year because I got sick (fever, sore throat, runny nose & no energy) at Boundary Lake and decided to cut my trip short.

5.) I'm not sure about going from Many Island Lake to Kibbie Lake. On the map it looks like there is only one steep spot between the 2 lakes and I recall a trip report where someone said it was easy going from Kibbie to Many Island Lake. What I would be concerned with would be getting around the shores of Kibbie lake. Both the north and the east sides of the lake look like they are steep on the map. In this trip report , Bmac says that some of the thickest and steepest bushwacking was making it around Kibbie Lake. I assume that they were going around the eastern side since the western side doesn't look that bad.

Unless you really want to go over Styx pass I would recommend climbing up the steep granite north of Many Island Lake. Once at the top head NW until you hook up with the Kibbie Ridge Trail.


6.) Rattle Snakes - I didn't see any last year but they are out there. Always keep an eye out where you step and where you put your hands. Rattle Snakes don't always rattle to warn you that they are there. They also like to stay in shady spots under rocks or granite ledges. If you get bit get to a hopital ASAP.

Poison Oak - Only grows below 5000 feet. The Kibbie trailhead is close to 6000 feet so you shouldn't see any while hiking.
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Re: Kibbie Lake/Spotted Fawn July 2011 Questions

Postby Cross Country » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:45 pm

I really enjoyed those pics and movies. In Tiltill Valley was one of the strangest lakes I've ever seen.
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Re: Kibbie Lake/Spotted Fawn July 2011 Questions

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:18 pm

phoenix2000 wrote:5.) I'm not sure about going from Many Island Lake to Kibbie Lake. On the map it looks like there is only one steep spot between the 2 lakes and I recall a trip report where someone said it was easy going from Kibbie to Many Island Lake.

I thought I would mention something about the Cross-Country between Kibbie lake and Many Island Lake. See the map below. Use this route at your own risk.
First, I do not recommend this route if Kibbie Ridge is snow free. You can get to Many Island Lakes from Shingle Springs in one long day, while the trip alone to Kibbie Lake may be journey enough for one day for most people.
Anyway, the map shows the general route. If you happen to be following this route, here are some pointers. When in doubt use your best judgement. Note the lettered points:
A. Be sure to stay to the left/west of the cliffs here, and head uphill till the cliffs peter out. As the bush closes in and you are near the seasonal creek, there is a spot where you can cross the creek to clean granite. Cross and head uphill.
B. The idea here is to stay out of the bushes and on the open areas for walking. One can also go to the top of the nearby hill for fine views. Head east for the base of the cliffs over easy terrain.
C. This area looks complex on the map but is really easy, unless the bush has closed in like it has these last 10 years. Just head east-ish following the base of the cliff over easy terrain.
D. This is the tricky part, but easy if you are prepared. Look up and see a small gully going straight up. At the base of the gully near you is about a 7 foot cliff. To the right is a ledge that goes up to the gully that requires you to step around a corner, hard to do with a pack. Tie some line to your pack and toss the line up to the top of the small cliff, go up the ledge and haul up your pack. There are other ways too, but that is up to you. Go up the gully or thread your way upward to the top of the wall. It's fairly easy.
E. Once at the top of the wall thread your way through easy terrain till you get to the open granite next to Kibbie Creek (Starting at the "Creek" on the map). Follow Kibbie Creek on the open clean granite to Many Island Lake. Turn the lake on the east side. West side is bushy.
F. This route may be a way too, but I never checked it out, and may be difficult during high water.
Things may have changes since I have done this, so be prepared.

Disclaimer: Use this route entirely at your own risk. You are on your own. I guarantee or promise nothing. This is a route I have done. I am not saying or implying that you should do it.
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My Cross-Country Route from Kibbie Lake to Many Island Lake
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Re: Kibbie Lake/Spotted Fawn July 2011 Questions

Postby richapple » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:38 am

Thanks, DWD, for the very specific description of your route between Kibbie and Many Island. Wow. We'll have that in our back pocket, along with the ton of other good advice from all. And down the trail (well, when back in "civilization") I'll let ya all know where all we ended up wandering!
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