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HST Trailhead

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HST Trailhead

Postby JakeWI » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:20 am

Hi all,
For anyone that has done the High Sierra Trail before, which trailhead do you prefer? Wolverton or Crescent Meadow and why do you prefer that over the other?

Thanks



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Re: HST Trailhead

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:15 pm

Well technically Wolverton is not the HST. I haven't taken that route to the HST but I don't think I would want to. It would be more gain and loss then you need and starting at Crescent Meadow is pleasant from the start as you work your way out of the Giant Forest surrounded by ferns and then enjoy hopefully smog free Eagle Point as you twist your way out to Mehrten Creek. I have gone in from Wolverton to Alta Peak and I don't remember there be anything special about that stretch of trail.
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Re: HST Trailhead

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:20 am

Surprisingly, the elevation gain either way is about the same. You just do not notice the gain as much from Crescent Meadow because of all the little ups and downs. From Wolverton, it is one big up, one big down. I think Wolverton is higher so going out, you would have a little more elevation gain, but your pack is light then. Crescent Meadow is the official route, so if you are a purist, go in from Crescent Meadow. Another issue is permits. Wolverton may be easier to get a permit. The one reason I usually do Wolverton early season is to avoid all the creek crossings on the trail from Crescent Meadow. At peak runoff, there are a few crossings that are difficult for short people, like me! On the other hand, in late season, you have more water sources going in Crescent Meadow. There are some nice rock formations that you see from the trail from Crescent Meadow that you would miss going in Wolverton; there are some nice high views from Wolverton that you would miss going in from Crescent Meaodw. You may want to check, but I believe there is a shuttle bus now so you could actually go in one way and out the other. Other than peak runoff, I would choose Crescent Meadow.
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Re: HST Trailhead

Postby vhsvhs » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:08 am

Both trailheads have their unique advantages (and disadvantages). If you plan to start your trek later in the afternoon -- perhaps after driving all day -- then I vote for Wolverton because it provides easy options for camping on your first night. From Wolverton, it's five (mostly easy) miles hiking to Mehrten Meadow, which is a fine place to crash on day one. Further, if you start at Wolverton it's easy to bag Alta Peak as a quick side trip. On the other hand, if you start the HST at Crescent Meadow you'll immediately be rewarded with big views up the Middle Fork Kaweah River, but you'll need to walk about seven miles to reach obvious camping. Depending on your schedule and fitness, this last point may be trivial.
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Re: HST Trailhead

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:30 am

but you'll need to walk about seven miles to reach obvious camping.


Mehrten Creek is 5.5 miles from the trail head at Crescent Meadow.
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Re: HST Trailhead

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:00 am

I would go from Wolverton. I like the views from Panther Gap which is actually the first campsite. There's no water at the gap but 1/4 mile back down the hill there is a stream, so tanking up there makes for a short walk to camp.
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Re: HST Trailhead

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:49 am

There used to be some trail mileage discrepencies on the signs on the HST. I have not been there recently so this may have been fixed. The actual distance to Hamilton Lake is about 2 miles shorter than some of the signs may indicate. Nowadays, with GPS, I doubt many people even pay attention to the signs. I have gone both ways, from both trailheads, to Hamilton Lake in 8-hour hours. You have to keep steadily moving, but it never seemed to me to be as bad as I initially thought it would be. However, mid-summer, the last section before Hamilton Lake can be rediculously hot. In my opinion, Hamilton Lake is so beautiful to camp at, that I am willing to suffer to get there on the first day.
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Re: HST Trailhead

Postby sparky » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:01 pm

A start at lodgepole is an option too, if you were having permit troubles. With the exception of panther gap it is uneventful, but pretty easy. I only started from here because I didn't have a vehicle when I did a loop in the area. The bus stops at lodgepole :bear:
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