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Thinking about Waterwheel Falls

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Thinking about Waterwheel Falls

Postby mauhler31 » Wed May 15, 2013 10:23 pm

Hi everyone,

Considering that it's another low snow year and Tioga Pass is already open, I am thinking about doing a low milage, 2-3 day trip from TM out to Waterwheel Falls and back around the first half of June. I would consider myself a beginning backpacker. I have not done any stream crossings so I was wondering if there are any on this route that I should be concerned about due to the snow melt. Or anything else I should worry about due to the early season. Thanks!



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Re: Thinking about Waterwheel Falls

Postby Vaca Russ » Thu May 16, 2013 4:27 am

Mauler31,

Welcome to HST. I have done that hike before. Although, it was years ago. This is a beautiful hike.

You want to go early season so you get the full effect of the snowmelt runoff. W. Daisy was just up in Yosemite about 2 weeks ago. I think I remember her posting that peak stream height was over for the area she observed. I was out in northern Desolation at the same time and concur with this observation.

Giving yourself 2-3 days is a good idea. Take your time and enjoy the hike! :) Remember to post a TR!

Thanks,

-Russ
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Re: Thinking about Waterwheel Falls

Postby Jason » Thu May 16, 2013 9:01 am

Welcome to HST! I did that trip a few years ago, I don't remember it being a particularly wet year, so maybe my experience applies to this year.

Lets see if this works..........

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4269&p=25627#p25627

For what it's worth, I'm a pretty big guy (read fat) and I didn't have any trouble with the trip. Was I tired? Sure. But it was a great trip. By the way, I never made it to Waterwheel. We stopped at Le Conte, thinking it was Waterwheel. I need to go back one of these days.

Lastly, be prepared for mosquitoes. Have fun!
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Re: Thinking about Waterwheel Falls

Postby maverick » Thu May 16, 2013 9:05 am

Hi Mauler31,

Welcome to HST!
You should be fine, the area above California Falls will probably still be flodded but
lower than usual, if the water levels are higher you can put on Teva's and follow the trail
that will be under water (on and off) or you can skirt around the bottom of the cliffs
avoiding getting wet. Glen Aulin Falls bridge sometimes is partially under water but
is easliy crossed, the best campsites are off a spure trail to the west (your left as your
heading down) through some bushes and into a stand of trees that has a clearing with
some great campsites, these sites are located above and near Waterwheel Falls.
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Re: Thinking about Waterwheel Falls

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Thu May 16, 2013 10:45 am

Funny, I was just about to start a topic about: "The Tioga Road is open and this would be an ideal time to get down past Glen Aulen!" Everything Maverick said above is true. Be sure to bring wading shoes and yes, stay near the cliffs. Here are some examples below of what you are missing if you don't go.
Attachments
T-River2.jpg
Glen Aulen: down there at the end of the valley is where the trail is flooded knee high.
T-River1.jpg
LeConte Falls has the better Waterwheel.
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Thinking about Waterwheel Falls

Postby mauhler31 » Thu May 16, 2013 11:36 am

Thanks everyone for the comments and suggestions! I will definitely try to make it in the next few weeks and will post a TR with pictures.

It sounds like the best place to camp is pretty close to Waterwheel Falls. My National Geographic map doesn't have mileages on that part of the trail. Is it roughly 8 miles or so to the falls from TM?
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Re: Thinking about Waterwheel Falls

Postby maverick » Thu May 16, 2013 11:42 am

Approx 9 miles.
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Re: Thinking about Waterwheel Falls

Postby snusmumriken » Thu May 16, 2013 11:48 am

Just to make sure we mention the obvious, this hike has two creek crossings on your way to Glen Aulin, Delaney and Dingley. They are both pretty close to the beginning of your hike in Tuolomne Meadows, Delaney at mile 1.5 and Dingley at mile 3. About knee deep in early season, in this low snow year by June it will be lower, but you will still get your feet wet.

As you say you have never crossed a stream before I will dispense some general advice:
Don't cross the creek bare foot, the risk of stepping on something sharp and loosing your balance is too great. Use shoes, either ones you brought for this purpose or be comfortable crossing in your trail shoes and continuing your hike in wet shoes.
Don't try to cross by rock hopping. Rocks are wet, slippery and have a tendency to move. Walking through the water is much safer.
If it feels too dangerous don't hesitate to turn back.

Have fun. The hike to Glen Aulin and beyond is lovely in early season.
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Re: Thinking about Waterwheel Falls

Postby mauhler31 » Thu May 16, 2013 11:55 am

Thanks for the info about the crossings. That was what I was mostly wondering about because I knew there was at least one. I'll make everyone brings some shoes for the water.
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Re: Thinking about Waterwheel Falls

Postby maverick » Thu May 16, 2013 1:45 pm

Here is a TR that includes photo's of some of the crossings:
http://ww2.fedak.net:443/albums/WaterwheelFalls.html
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: Thinking about Waterwheel Falls

Postby rams » Mon May 20, 2013 3:46 pm

I went this past weekend (5/18/13) and the crossings at Delaney and Dingley weren't bad. Delaney was a foot or two deep but there was a short log crossing a short distance away from where the trail hit the water. Dingley was shallow as well but you could cross a very stable and dry tree trunk a short distance upstream to avoid water altogether. A bit below Glen Aulin, the trail was flooded for a few hundred yards. The deepest it ever got was knee deep but that didn't last long. Definitely bring an extra pair of shoes if you go now, though June should not present any problems. LeConte and Waterwheel are both doing well at this point but I'm not sure how they'll be in a few weeks given the dry winter. In the pictures below, I didn't show anyone crossing Delaney/Dingley (for a sense of water depth) because it was so easy to just find tree trunks spanning the water so we never bothered to cross. The trail between Glen Aulin and LeConte was another story.

first crossing.jpg
first crossing


escape.jpg
escape for the first crossing


second crossing.jpg
second crossing


escape2.jpg
escape for the second crossing


flooded trail.jpg
wet trail between Glen Aulin and LeConte Falls


flooded trail2.jpg
the deepest it got between Glen Aulin and LeConte Falls


leconte1.jpg
LeConte Falls


leconte2.jpg
LeConte Falls again


waterwheel.jpg
Waterwheel Fall with me for scale


tuolumne.jpg
Tuolumne Falls on the return trip
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Re: Thinking about Waterwheel Falls

Postby maverick » Mon May 20, 2013 3:49 pm

Thanks Rams for the update and wonderful photo's! :thumbsup:
By any chance did you take any photo's of Tuolumne Meadows looking
south towards Lyell Canyon for this member asking here: http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... f=1&t=9288
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