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Evolution Basin to Davis Lakes to Goddard Canyon

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Evolution Basin to Davis Lakes to Goddard Canyon

Postby tim » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:18 pm

I'm planning our longish summer trip (mid August) as a 6 day semi-loop out of Florence: up the JMT to Evolution Basin then over from Wanda Lake to Davis Lakes Basin and down to Goddard Canyon. As background, I've been backpacking with my twins (now 12 yrs old) for the last 5 years, we've only done a bit of off trail (e.g. Miter Basin in 2011), but fairly decent hikes on trail (e.g. Onion Valley to Whitney in 2012) and I did a fair amount of off trail stuff (in various parts of Europe) before kids. We would like to do a little bit more off trail this year and the Evolution Basin area looked amazing, so this trip seemed like a reasonable place to start (just two half days off trail, no big climbs/difficult passes), unless anyone thinks that is a really bad choice from the terrain point of view (I realize the route finding is the crux here but I'm comfortable with that).

There doesn't seem to be a lot of information (or many photos) out there about Davis Lakes/Goddard Canyon (I was frustrated to find that Phil Arnot's book describes a completely different Davis Lakes Basin!) though I did figure out the route through the basin - crossing the lake, not following the lakeshore to the outlet, etc.

So I'm wondering if there are any pointers from people who've passed through or camped in Davis Lakes Basin? Is the peninsula (in the middle of the lake) where you cross from the south side to the north side a good camping spot, or is is better to camp higher up the basin? Descending North Goddard Creek how soon would you cut down to the South Fork San Joaquin, or is it better to follow the creek down to nearer the junction? We're not planning to head up to Martha Lake so I'm primarily interested in where the easier slopes and stream crossings will be, rather than saving altitude. Any recommendations about where to camp as you descend Goddard Canyon?
Last edited by tim on Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Evolution Basin to Davis Lakes to Goddard Canyon

Postby John Dittli » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:42 pm

077_473_D1L.jpg


I've only been there from Wanda and Martha, so I'm of no help with the descent into Goddard Canyon. There is talus dropping down into the lake from Wanda. Great low impact camping just above the upper lake (photo is from below the camp).

I seem to recall the crossing area as being rocky and vegetated, but I may be wrong.
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Re: Evolution Basin to Davis Lakes to Goddard Canyon

Postby LMBSGV » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:34 pm

I went from Evolution Basin via Davis Lake down to Goddard Canyon in 2008.

The route over the ridge from Wanda can involve a bit of boulder hopping. I found a nice diagonal chute down to avoid it. But once at the bottom, though it's level, there's still a lot of boulder hopping. Yes, the peninsula is where you cross over to the other side of the lake. There is a campsite on the peninsula itself, but it's not 100 feet from water. There's another right on the other side, but the views are not very good. I camped on the point opposite the peninsula on the other side. You get a wonderful view of the little waterfall from the little creek between the lakes as well as the surrounding peaks.

To get to Goddard Canyon, follow the trail along the right shore after the peninsula. When the next peninsula at the end of the lake begins with the high cliffs above, go overland to the right across the basically level part to bisect the peninsula. There is a fun short descent down to the creek. This is a lovely area. After a bit of wandering around in the area above the creek trying to find a good way to Martha Lake (see the attached trip report if interested in the details), I followed the creek down to Goddard Canyon and camped in the canyon. However, there are a couple of places along the way that would be good campsites, the best being near the big waterfall above the canyon. The waterfall is spectacular, one of those off-trail backcountry sites that would be a tourist attraction if it was near a road.

There are a couple of short sections where the descent along the creek gets a little gnarly, but it's also kind of fun. Also, the wildflowers in a couple of sections were incredibly gorgeous. The descent down Goddard Canyon on the trail is a great, memorable hike. I didn't see anyone until I came across a trail crew. Have a great trip.

My trip report us here:

http://www.sonic.net/~words/Images/TripReport-8-08.pdf

Photos here (scroll down to the bottom):

http://www.sonic.net/~words/ASITHSTripReports.html
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Re: Evolution Basin to Davis Lakes to Goddard Canyon

Postby Fishon » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:29 pm

I did the trip you are proposing in 2009. Get used to the idea of boulder hopping, take it slow and stay to the right. Here are a few photos of of the Davis Lakes area:
ImageAbout to drop into Davis Lakes

ImageSome perspective on the size of the boulders

ImageStay to the right...

Have fun.
It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming. -John Steinbeck
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Re: Evolution Basin to Davis Lakes to Goddard Canyon

Postby Electra » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:20 pm

I went the opposite direction from goddard canyon thru davis lakes in a very snowy year and camped on the west side of the basin on a peninsula. Very nice but considering the snow, hard to give many details. One thing we did the next day that was different and spectacular was to traverse the ridgeline above sapphire NW and ended up doing a short day and camping on that ridgeline with a superb view of evolution range/valley, muir pass/black giant area, mcgee canyon, etc...We then traversed towards the outlet of Evolution and eventually went over alpine col. Great area that you are sure to enjoy.
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Re: Evolution Basin to Davis Lakes to Goddard Canyon

Postby dapperdave » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:26 am

Hi Tim,

We did a similar trip in Sept 2012, only coming in and out via Lamarck Col; the west side of Davis Lakes Pass (between Wanda and Davis) is a lot of tedious micro-navigation and boulder hopping as people have said, but the view is great consolation. We went north of Davis lake 11196, then south of 11058, then you cross to the north side where the peninsulas join (actually a fast flowing narrow stream between 2 lakes. We cowboy camped on the peninsula on a well-used spot which we persuaded ourselves was 100 ft from water....( there is the "25ft where terrain dictates" getout anyway) Higher up in the basin is very rocky.

Sierra Sep 2012 201.jpg
View West from peninsula


Follow the north side of the lake until you go west through the saddle where there are some beautiful tarns -

Sierra Sep 2012 206.jpg


We headed down to North Goddard Creek and crossed to the south side (20ft wide and ankle deep - however this was September of a low snow year)

Sierra Sep 2012 207.jpg
View West down North Goddard Creek


There is a pretty decent use trail down the valley, often moving away from the creek, staying on the south side, passing a few campsites and a picturesque fall or two along the way.

Sierra Sep 2012 216.jpg


The south fork of the San Joaquin was a dry footed crossing for us pretty near to the confluence with North Goddard (again Sep. of low snow year!)

It's a lovely trip, and if you get time, there are lots of side trips to do.

Hope this helps,

Dave
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Re: Evolution Basin to Davis Lakes to Goddard Canyon

Postby maverick » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:23 am

Hi Dave,

Welcome to HST! Thanks for the great pictures and the info. Looking forward to your
future contributions, and TR's. Mav
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Evolution Basin to Davis Lakes to Goddard Canyon

Postby dapperdave » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:05 am

Thanks Mav,

It's a great site. I've lurked forever :wink:

Dave
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Re: Evolution Basin to Davis Lakes to Goddard Canyon

Postby tim » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:50 pm

Thanks for all the guidance and the photos. Looks like it should be a great trip through a pretty deserted area.
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Re: Evolution Basin to Davis Lakes to Goddard Canyon

Postby SierraMaclure » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:25 pm

I did the same trip but exited out over Hell for Sure Pass to Courtright Res. and made it a shuttle trip. We camped at Wanda and the next day camped just beyond the outlet of Davis Lake and laid propped up on a snow bank watching bombs of meteors streaking across the evening sky in Aug. 1991. My first cross country without my mentor or anyone more comfortable with it. Good choice. :nod:
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Re: Evolution Basin to Davis Lakes to Goddard Canyon

Postby wildhiker » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:26 pm

My wife and I did this trip in 2004. Here's my rather lengthy trip writeup with lots of photos and some maps:
http://www.wildhiker.com/evolutiongoddard04/
I don't recall any boulder hopping at all - some talus coming over from Wanda Lake, but not at all difficult. We camped on the north side of the Davis Lakes after crossing the peninsula. Very exposed. If weather is poor, try to push on lower down along North Goddard Creek.
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