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Hetch Hetchy Loop report (6/10-14)

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Hetch Hetchy Loop report (6/10-14)

Postby DonHobbs » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:14 pm

Just finished the Hetchy Hetchy Loop over five days (6/10 - 14) and I wanted to leave a quick report.

Route:
O'shaughnessy dam > Laurel lake > Vernon lake > Rancheria falls > O'shaughnessy dam

Our weather last weekend was much cooler than it seems to be getting up there now. But I'll give a quick report anyway.

We saw our first bear two hours into the trip on our way to Laurel lake. Very close to the 5400' mark on our map. He was running down the hill at a quick clip. We paused and let him know we were there. He watched us but did not come any closer. So we cautiously moved up the trail.

The mosquitoes at all the lakes were biting, but manageable. I highly recommend a bug net though. I wore mine every night. I decided not to wear any bug repellent, but probably should have worn some. I did get a bunch of bites through my long sleeve shirt. It's a merino wool shirt and isn't that thick.

There is water high enough at Frog Creek before Laurel lake to warrant crossing carefully. There are logs that can be used on both paths to the lake. Crossing without the logs was possible, but didn't seem necessary when the logs were so close.

We ate next to three or four deer at Laurel lake. Very pleasant dinner companions.

At Vernon lake we were visited by a mother bear and her cub. We stood our ground and respectfully asked her to move along. She did after getting within six feet of our camp. Be diligent in your food safety. We left our bear cans 100 feet away from camp and cooked equally far away. We dug holes for our small amount of waste and buried it. We weren't the only ones who saw her. Be aware of your surroundings.

Crossing over to Rancheria falls was beautiful and we only saw enough snow to get excited that we saw it. It had rained the night before, so everything on the edge of Mt Gibson was as green as you could possibly imagine. We did see snakes along the trail crossing through Tiltill. It's slightly swampy, and we switched into water shoes. My brother went barefoot. I was happy to have the shoes even though it wasn't a lot of mud. It would have covered my boots and socks if I hadn't switched out of them. That's your call. The small stream you cross over before heading to Tiltill after coming down off Mt. Gibson is the last place to get water without trying to filter through the muddy water. Stop and fill up here, because you've still got some miles ahead of you before Rancheria falls and it's hot and dry on the trail.

Once we got to Rancheria we got into the water as a cleansing (makeshift polar-bear moment). It really was amazing. The water is running pretty strongly out of the mountains.

The hike back to the dam was the best ending to an incredible trip. It's so green out right now, that if you're a photographer or painter, your imagination will be running wild.

One tip: Take this route as opposed to the reverse. Each to their own, but this route was slightly easier (still a legit elevation climb either way), and taking a dip into the cold water at Rancheria before heading back along the reservoir makes for the best ending.

Have fun.
Don
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DonHobbs
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Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop report (6/10-14)

Postby maverick » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:30 pm

Hi Don,

Thanks for coming back and writing up a TR, great to read that you all had a great time. Any bear photo's? :)
Are the flowers out at Beehive yet?
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: Hetch Hetchy Loop report (6/10-14)

Postby DonHobbs » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:39 pm

The flowers were beautiful. I'd imagine they will be even more-so soon.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy Loop report (6/10-14)

Postby maverick » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:49 pm

Sweeeeet, thanks for adding that Don. :nod:
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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