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TR: Deadman Canyon Trek July 27 to Aug 2

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TR: Deadman Canyon Trek July 27 to Aug 2

Postby Ikan Mas » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:20 pm

I have to apologize for not getting this on the board sooner. Messing around with the photos is time consuming and frustrating.
I chose this trip because of photos I had seen of Deadman Canyon. The canyon was indeed spectacular, but also isolated. We only saw one person a day from Comanche Meadow till well over Elizabeth Pass.
DAY 1: LODGEPOLE TH TO TWIN LAKES
So we left the Lodgepole TH Saturday, July 27. We had some rain, which made us in no hurry to get on the trail. Here’s a shot of the rather wet parking lot:
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This had been the first significant rain in the mountains for a while and the trail had a small streamlet carved in the duff.
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We headed north toward Twin Lakes, passing Cahoon Meadow and Gap on the way:
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Saw a number of Grouse along the way:
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There were a number of people at Twin Lakes, but that is to be expected so close to the TH. Image
The lakes were pretty and the Brooks were small, but voracious. We were pretty hungry, so these stunted fish were quickly fried up and ate. Stunted Brooks were all too common on this trip.
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A look up toward Silliman Pass:
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That evening, we climbed up the slabs to the west of Twin Lakes and looked out toward Mt. Silliman:
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DAY 2: TWIN LAKES TO COMANCHE MEADOW
Up and out early, we jetted up to Silliman Pass, enjoying the view of area:
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Ranger Lake was just spectacular that morning, but I didn’t see any fish rising or lurking. Does it have fish?
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We camped at the bear box in Comanche Meadow. After setting up camp, I ventured down Sugarloaf Creek to a canyon with some nice pools. In addition to Brooks, I also found these little guys:
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Looked like rainbows, with some golden mixed in. Tiny though. Was able to find one spot with a view near our camp:
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My brother and hiking partner, not burdened with the fishing bug (though he sure likes to eat them) managed to find a small grove of Sequoias a short distance up Crowley Canyon. As we settled down that night to sleep, we heard some trail runners go by. Strange so late and so far away from anything.
DAY 3: COMANCHE MEADOW TO LOWER RANGER MEADOW
Although the going through the Sugarloaf Valley was easy, it wasn’t terribly interesting. We were glad to stride into Roaring River just after lunch. The ranch cabin there was cool:
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However, since we were eager to get into Deadman Canyon, we plowed on up the trail, finally getting to lower Ranger Meadow, just down the trail from the Deadman’s grave.
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Ample evidence of bear around, and the Brooks were tiny. We skipped fish that night as well.
DAY 4: LOWER RANGER MEADOW TO UPPER RANGER MEADOW
After a quick mile or two, we were in the part of the Canyon that we wanted to be. Needless to say, it was awesome!
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I really like this place! Since our day’s hike was rather short, we set up camp at Upper Ranger Meadow, near where the stream from Big Bird Lake comes down, and hiked up to Big Bird Lake for the afternoon.
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The Brookies here were bigger, and worth the effort:
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After going back to camp, I still had some energy, so I continued up Deadman’s Canyon, looking for the pass:
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I ran into this immature Accipiter. I think it’s a Coopers Hawk, but not entirely sure. It was very interested in the red camera case I had on my chest and I wondered it had been kept at some point.
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DAY 5: UPPER RANGER MEADOW TO HAMILTON LAKE
We were up early, making for the pass and looking over our shoulders at Deadman:
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Here’s a shot at Elizabeth Pass:
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Looking back at the pass from the Lone Pine Creek side:
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And down toward the Kaweah and the High Sierra Trail:
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Coming down off of Elizabeth was tiring, though not as bad as going up the opposite direction. We briefly considered hiking up to Tamarack Lake, but after looking at the climb:
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…decided that Hamilton Lake looked better. It turned out to be just fine, though with lots of people.
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Alpenglow on our last night on the trail.
DAY 6: HAMILTON LAKE TO WOLVERTON TH
The next morning we rolled down the HST, not sure if we would go out today or stay another night. Peeking over the bridge over Lone Pine Creek, I noticed something interesting:
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Consider the forces that knocked that bridge off its foundations!
On down a trail that had required more than its share of TNT:
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Last look from Panther Gap to the south:
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We decided to go out, so down to the Wolverton Parking lot and what passes for civilization. 60 miles in 6 days.



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Re: TR: Deadman Canyon Trek July 27 to Aug 2

Postby austex » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:09 pm

Thx for the TR. No matter how recent. It's always cool to see areas I've never been to and would perhaps consider in the near future! Cheers!
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Re: TR: Deadman Canyon Trek July 27 to Aug 2

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:13 pm

Nice report and photos, and a very pleasant loop. Regarding the question about Ranger L., I'm pretty sure it's fishless. I'm surprised about the reasonable size of the brookies in Big Bird. That has held rather stunted ones for awhile (visited in 1979 and 2002). Perhaps the longer growing seasons the past two years have contributed to nicer fish this year in that lake. It is a very pretty lake, to be sure.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: TR: Deadman Canyon Trek July 27 to Aug 2

Postby jessegooddog » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:04 pm

Really gorgeous photos! Could you have gotten any closer to the grouse?? Stunning area.
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Re: TR: Deadman Canyon Trek July 27 to Aug 2

Postby lambertiana » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:23 pm

Nice report, I went through Deadman last year and it is very nice.

I've never been to Ranger Lake, and your pictures make me want to change that.

The little trout you caught in Sugarloaf Creek look like Little Kern goldens.
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Re: TR: Deadman Canyon Trek July 27 to Aug 2

Postby balzaccom » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:09 pm

Great report---and one that brought back memories of a trip I took more than forty years ago into Deadman and CLoud Canyons. Lovely photos---thanks for sharing them
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: TR: Deadman Canyon Trek July 27 to Aug 2

Postby maverick » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:10 am

Beautiful TR and pictures! Never tire of that view up the canyon from Ranger Meadow, but
it does look quite dry compared to other years at the same time.
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Re: TR: Deadman Canyon Trek July 27 to Aug 2

Postby Cheetahwoka » Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:11 pm

Thanks for the TR, nice.

The bridge down in Lone Pine creek is not the first to be destroyed. I know the packer who packed it in, he's a Three Rivers rancher and horse breeder. Many of the steel bridges in that part of the park were packed in by mule by Earl McKee in the mid 1950's. Including the bridge down in the Middle Fork Kaweah with that huge dent in it (below Little Bearpaw Meadow and Redwood Meadow), and a slew of others. Quite a mule-packing feat I understand, 2 steel beams hitched on the sides of 2 or 3 mules strung out together. How they managed switchbacks I don't know.

Anyways, after Earl packed in that bridge to Lone Pine Creek (the previous one had been washed away), it was rebuilt, and that very winter was completely destroyed again, if I recall his story correctly. Boy does he have stories! Says he's writing a book, with the help of a writer.

So then, the Park Service trail crew bosses finally gave up and decided to build a concrete ford. The ford, I think, had to be rebuilt a time or two, too, because the original culverts were too small and kept getting logs jammed in them. I remember trying to pull them out when I was on trail crew in the 80's. The ford is basically some big culverts with a concrete crossing over it. When the water is high, the creek flows over the whole thing and you have to wade, but in summer the water is low enough to go through the culverts and hikers can cross with dry feet.

If that creek has some kind of water spirit, it said, "No." to a bridge.

Hope y'all enjoyed that tidbit of backcountry history. Now, really, back to packing..
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