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Is June the new August?

Discussion related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.
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Is June the new August?

Postby kpeter » Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:30 am

In planning my summer backpacking outings, I am left wondering if I should assume that June is becoming the prime backpacking month for me. I used to try for a June trip as early as possible to avoid Mosquitoes and then stayed away until late July and August to keep clear of mosquito season. But I imagine that all of that is up in the air this year, what with a 1200 year drought.

One of the things I love most about backpacking is being around running water--even small streams. The sounds and sights are cheerful, and they support flowers. When I have gone too late in the season (in a normal year) I am disappointed in the paucity of running water. The "sweet spot" for me has always been after mosquitoes die down and before the running water disappears. That has often been the first week of August in the 9-10k zones.

But when the heck will it be this year? last year I was at Ediza the last week of July and it was glorious--while probably half of the rivulets in the meadows above Ediza had dried up, the main streams still flowed well and there were plenty of flowers. Mosquitoes were present but not a significant problem. But this year will be drier yet. How much earlier than last year would I need to travel for the same experience? Guesses?



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Re: Is June the new August?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:19 am

Mosquitoes follow snowmelt and the first warming temperatures. Snowmelt is pushed sooner, so I suspect so will be the "first bloom" of mosquitoes. June could be buggy; July could be mostly bug-free. As for drying of streams, if it is a seasonal stream (as shown on the topo), it may be dry by July, but if a year-round stream, depends on the water source. When water drops below outlet levels of lakes, downstream flow decreases. Lots of streams in Emigrant (more volcanic rocks) are spring fed so not as likely to dry up. In Yosemite, a lot of the "year round" streams fall to levels where water is inaccessible (way under rocks) in late season. Also depends on temperatures in May-June and if the summer will be another "monsoon" summer. In general, I would guess that about everything is at least a month ahead of the usual timing. Check out CDEC web site to watch the snowmelt. Snowpack is low, but varies quite a bit throughout the Sierra.

I read that Glacier Point road opens this weekend.

I would be more worried about late season trips and forest fires. I also think we can count on a ban on all open fires the entire year. Low water will also impact fishing. I envision a lot of late-season dead fish as water gets too warm or too low and trap fish in small pools.

My summer plans include the Sierra up to mid-August, then I am going to the Wind Rivers. Rockies have normal snowpack this year.
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Re: Is June the new August?

Postby gary c. » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:57 pm

WD, Glacier Point opened last weekend. There was hardly any snow within sight of the road driving up.
Taken March 29, 2015
Image
Last edited by gary c. on Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is June the new August?

Postby schmalz » Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:00 pm

June seems to be the peak of the mosquito season these days. July is the new August.
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Re: Is June the new August?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:05 pm

I would hesitate to say that June is the new August, forevermore. We are in a drought cycle which could last more years, but it likely will swing back to winter floods eventually. Progressively slightly warmer temperatures will mean less snow lingering at low and mid- altitudes regardless of precipitation, but in a high precipitation year, there will be plenty of snow above 10,000 feet. For the long term, I am more inclined to say June is becoming the new July, on the average, but individual years would still show quite a bit of variation.

The picture of Yosemite makes me want to go there right now! Unfortunately, we are in the middle of a large remodeling project so I am stuck in town until that is finished.
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