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An unorthodox suggestion....

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An unorthodox suggestion....

Postby mokelumnekid » Fri May 18, 2012 9:33 pm

Writing up some input in the Fishing section on hiking the Mokelumne led me to realize that this very dry year may allow for some unique opportunities. Some of you may recall my rant from a couple of years ago about hiking (down) Sierra canyons as a way to get some new adventure and perspective, a palette cleanser of sorts from our usual Sierra high country patterns.

This exceptionally low water year in the Central Sierra is approaching the landmark dry '76-'77 season in (lack of) water content. Point being that this may open up possibilities to travel in water courses and canyons that wouldn't go under normal conditions. This year may be a rare opportunity to access places (bring your rappelling gear and lots of webbing) unavailable otherwise. Think outside the box folks!

My wife and I had already planned to be on the high west side of Glacier Divide in Aug. But maybe I should come back in mid-Sept. to do some canyoneering as well... \:D/



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Re: An unorthodox suggestion....

Postby gary c. » Fri May 18, 2012 9:58 pm

mokelumnekid, I know this isn't exactly what you were talking about but when you wrote about useing reppelling gear I thought about Dry Meadow Creek. When I did a quick search for some reference and saw them in the kayaks I new I needed to post the link for you. ;)
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=sev ... 2D&first=0

http://www.awetstate.com/DryMeadowCreek.html
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Re: An unorthodox suggestion....

Postby RoguePhotonic » Fri May 18, 2012 10:42 pm

One of you needs to take a visit to the Muir Gorge and take a good camera with you!

I'm hoping that if I make it back down Goddard Creek this year that I will be able to avoid the brush by rock hoping down the creek itself. This isn't possible normally.

It's almost comical to go from a massive snow year to a super low year.
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Re: An unorthodox suggestion....

Postby Hobbes » Sat May 19, 2012 6:48 am

RoguePhotonic wrote:It's almost comical to go from a massive snow year to a super low year.


Pardon me while I don my lecturer's hat. What's interesting is that the last few years have been entirely consistent with California's historical rainfall patterns:

Image

As the chart above indicates, California's so-called "average rainfall" is actually nothing more than 6-7 drought years punctuated by 1-2 deluge years.

If you really start nosing around, you'll discover a lot of state history has been driven by these factors. First, the big Mexican ranchos expanded (ie went into debt lending money from Yankees in order to finance expansion) during a period of heavy rainfall. When the inevitable drought(s) hit, the herds were decimated and mortgages foreclosed ... by the ancestors of some leading families to this day.

Keep going, and you'll see the impetus behind the great dam/canal building phase after the turn of the 19th century, including Hetch Hetchy, Owens Valley, CWP,, etc. Prado dam in Riverside was built after a 100 year food hit in 1938 and wiped out all of north OC.

Anyway, as to this year, I agree it opens up all sorts of possibilities. Not only extending the season, but expanding possible areas. You should have fun exploring the range during your summer trek.
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Re: An unorthodox suggestion....

Postby mokelumnekid » Sat May 19, 2012 8:20 am

Thanks Gary. Hobbes, that is very interesting. Below is a simpler graph that compares this water year with a few other notable ones and last year. It is a small gif file so you will have to click on it to actually read the axes easily.
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PLOT_SWC.2012.gif
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Re: An unorthodox suggestion....

Postby Jimr » Sat May 19, 2012 10:40 am

Hobbes, I made that very points in a speech class in college many years ago (1989), including NOAA statistics going back as far as recorded.
What?!
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Re: An unorthodox suggestion....

Postby maverick » Sat May 19, 2012 11:24 am

Good point MK.
Certain areas will become much more easier to access during drought years. Those folks
who have done the Muro Blanco for example know that once you start down/up the river
your stuck on either side of the river and as on gets closer to the junction with Woods
Creek the bush becomes one of the worst in Sierra. The whole experience is totally
different when one can boulder hop down the river channel thus avoiding the bush.
Goddard Canyon, Muir Gorge, and Little Tehipite Valley are also places that become
more accessible.
Backpackers should also keep in mind that this year when planning trips that many
areas will have no water sources available by mid to late season and that one needs
plan accordingly for this.
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Re: An unorthodox suggestion....

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat May 19, 2012 11:51 am

The last weather issue will be how much rain will fall during the summer. Maybe I can break my personal record of 26 days without rain.
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Re: An unorthodox suggestion....

Postby tim » Sat May 19, 2012 12:16 pm

Well there are hints in the current forecast of a change to much cooler weather later this week. Possibly snow down to 6000ft. Brings back not terribly pleasant memories of camping last Memorial Day weekend when we came home early.

Of course that might be good for the rest of the summer if it freezes the skeeters while they are hatching.
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Re: An unorthodox suggestion....

Postby Hobbes » Sun May 20, 2012 7:42 am

tim wrote:Brings back not terribly pleasant memories of camping last Memorial Day weekend (2011) when we came home early.


LOL. I had almost talked my wife into an early season jaunt, but we ended up doing something local. I do, however, remember constantly pointing out the various caravans of campers coming home early (Sat) from all directions. Everyone looked wiped out - cars/
RVs all muddy, guys haggard @ the wheel, stuff haphazardly jammed together, the whole 9 yards.

We went up a few weeks later, and while it looked threatening, the weather backed off and we got some great days.
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Re: An unorthodox suggestion....

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun May 20, 2012 12:13 pm

Probably better then this Memorial Day in 2008: This was at 9100 feet.

Image
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Re: An unorthodox suggestion....

Postby tim » Sun May 20, 2012 10:38 pm

We tried to get to Glacier Pt on the Sunday of last Memorial Day weekend but there were several inches of snow and chain control at the Hwy 41 turnoff (6000ft) and the Glacier Pt road was closed. On the way back down we came across a BMW hanging half over the edge with the driver still in there. It was snowing down to 4000ft in places.
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