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I'm 59 and my hiking partner was 69. We carried 50 and 40 pounds, respectively. The trail was clear and dusty until Crown Valley. All the water sources shown on the USGS TOPO map had water until Cabin Creek, as of Sept. 11th, 2012. From Cabin Creek until Crown Valley, all the water shown on the map was not available. I suggest any hikers carry 1-2 liters depending on hiking speed. There was water available from the spring at Crown Valley, as well as a little as the trail crossed Crown Creek. Water and trout were available at Rogers Creek. Many streams provided water from Rogers until Hay Meadow. Several of the streams running into Hay Meadow were dry as of Sept. 10th, 2012, but 2 of them were running at about 5 liters per minutes. After Hay meadow until Tehipite Valley, there was no water available. I suggest 2-3 liters per person for this 3.5 mile stretch. The trail down is good as most of the overhanging branches have been cleared. It is not an easy hike, but it is passable and easy to follow. At about 6000 feet, the black oaks start replacing the firs and pines, so the trail is littered with small oak leaves which make the footing more treacherous. At about 5000 feet, the poison oak appears and the trail steepens with some sections with loose stones. Just a little more fun. There is water as soon as you get to the valley. The trail in the valley is littered with huge trees, and is full of gnats. The campsite was great and bug-free for the most part, and it is about 3/4 of a mile after you get to the valley, just after you cross Crown Creek. I lost the trail twice at places where other hikers had tramped through the tall grasses hoping to find water, once just above the ridge, and once in the valley. My partner described it as "A lot of hell for a little bit of heaven", but I enjoyed the hike and the valley. I only wish that I had stayed in the valley for several more days, or weeks. There is lots of evidence of bears, and we saw one, but it wondered off and did not bother us or our food, which we hung in a tree.
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