Lodgepole - Silliman Pass - Deadman Canyon - Crescent Mdw loop: Water availability?

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ClaireT
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Lodgepole - Silliman Pass - Deadman Canyon - Crescent Mdw loop: Water availability?

Post by ClaireT » Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:30 pm

Hello,

On Aug 25-31, a friend and I are hiking the Deadman Canyon loop in SEKI, staying on trails the entire time. We will start in Lodgepole and end in Crescent Meadow. We will do a car shuttle, since the Sequoia NP shuttle isn't running this year.

With the dry conditions this year, I'm a little concerned about water availability. Does anyone have any recent information on whether the following streams are flowing?

West Fork Clover Creek
Sugarloaf Creek
Ferguson Creek
Roaring River
Stream running through Deadman Canyon
Lone Pine Creek
Buck Creek
tributaries of Buck Creek between Buck Creek and Mehrton Creek
Mehrton Creek

I figure there is a good chance that Sugarloaf Ck and Roaring River are flowing, as they have big drainage areas and a lot of tributaries. And maybe Ferguson Creek. The stream through Deadman drains a huge canyon, but has few tributaries. On the plus side, the north side of Elizabeth Pass feeds it, but I'm not sure if any snow remains there. The main stem of Buck Creek seems like a good possibility to have water, draining the Tablelands. However, West Fork Clover, Lone Pine, tributaries of Buck Creek, and Mehrton all appear to be small streams, perhaps they are dry now.

Any information would be most appreciated!
clairet








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grampy
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Re: Lodgepole - Silliman Pass - Deadman Canyon - Crescent Mdw loop: Water availability?

Post by grampy » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:43 am

I did this loop last August. While I have NOT been in that area this year, I will answer the parts that I can.
For Clover Creek (don’t you mean “east” fork, btw ?), you can probably expect it to be dry. Just proceed on to Twin Lakes to get water. From the lakes, you will have a long dry stretch over Silliman Pass, until you get to Ranger (or Beville) Lake(s). Not sure about Sugarloaf or Ferguson Creeks in this dry year; @oldranger could certainly provide some historical “dry year” data on these (and for creek in Deadman Canyon) if he reads this. Roaring River shouldn’t be a problem.
Once you’re over Elizabeth Pass, not sure about water in the “outlet” stream from Lonely Lake, but Lone Pine Creek should be okay; just be sure to get water when you’re near the cutoff trail junction to Tamarack Lake; L.P. Creek gets harder to access as it drops into the “gorge” heading toward the HST bridge.
Anyone please correct me if I’ve misstated anything.
Last edited by grampy on Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ClaireT
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Re: Lodgepole - Silliman Pass - Deadman Canyon - Crescent Mdw loop: Water availability?

Post by ClaireT » Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:36 pm

grampy - thanks for that very helpful info. Indeed I meant E Fork Clover Creek. Sorry for the confusion. Also, your trip report from last year helped me plan this trip - thank you! I loved your photos and can only hope that I have some water in places where it was so beautifully flowing for your trip.

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Re: Lodgepole - Silliman Pass - Deadman Canyon - Crescent Mdw loop: Water availability?

Post by zacjust32 » Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:12 pm

It's the Sierra, you won't have any trouble finding water.

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Re: Lodgepole - Silliman Pass - Deadman Canyon - Crescent Mdw loop: Water availability?

Post by torpified » Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:04 pm

This will probably be only incrementally more helpful than the (monumentally unhelpful) previous answer.

I walked a similar loop, in the other direction, mid-August 2018, so a similar snowpack year. What I remember (don't take this as gospel: even if my memory were perfect, conditions then may not accurately predict conditions now):

[. . . ]
Roaring River was roaring
the stream flowing through Deadman was flowing (and there's some great sites just before the headwall up to Elizabeth Pass)
Lone Pine Creek had lots of water in it (and the best place to collect it is indeed where the trail brushes up against it just south of the Tamarack junction)
Mehrten and Buck were flowing, tributaries were not

I really loved the loop, and you're definitely doing it in the more aesthetic direction! Did you consider skipping the shuttle and taking the old service road (now trail) from Lodgepole to Wolverton, and then to the HST?

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Re: Lodgepole - Silliman Pass - Deadman Canyon - Crescent Mdw loop: Water availability?

Post by grampy » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:18 pm

torpified wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:04 pm
... Did you consider skipping the shuttle and taking the old service road (now trail) from Lodgepole to Wolverton, and then to the HST?
@torpified - as she is doing it in the CW direction, maybe reverse your suggestion ?
i.e. from the HST, take the “cutout” trail to Panther Gap, on to Wolverton and then back to Lodgepole. But they may be driving separately anyway (??), making the car shuttle not a big deal.
I suggest you make the (very short) detour to Lost Lake, after heading N from Ranger Lake ... as others suggested to me last year. Note that the main trail in this stretch has been re-routed about 1/2 mile to the west from where it is shown on maps (even CalTopo), bringing it closer to Lost Lake. In my map image, the dashed route north of Ranger Lake indicates the old trail; the “purple” trace is where the trail is located now.
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Re: Lodgepole - Silliman Pass - Deadman Canyon - Crescent Mdw loop: Water availability?

Post by ClaireT » Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:57 pm

torpified - thanks for your information - very helpful, especially that "Deadman Creek" was flowing in August of another dry year. Also good to hear there are some campsites near the headwall; that's where I'm hoping to camp on night 4.

After finding out the Sequoia shuttle wasn't running, we planned to hike back to Lodgepole by the route you mentioned. Then my friend decided to drive to CA instead of flying, given covid, and meet me at the trailhead rather than my house. So with 2 cars, we decided hiking out at Crescent Meadow was preferable.

grampy - thanks for that info about the trail change, and the recommendation about Lost Lake. It looks like it's in a nice setting.

I hiked this same loop many many many many years ago, and have always wanted to get back to Deadman Canyon and Elizabeth Pass. The last time, being in Deadman Canyon felt like one of the remotest places I'd ever been (I never hiked in from the east side in those years). Looking forward to seeing it again. As of now, still planning to go despite the smoke. I viewed some smoke simulations today, and SEKI wasn't getting hit as horribly as some areas of the Sierra further north.

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Re: Lodgepole - Silliman Pass - Deadman Canyon - Crescent Mdw loop: Water availability?

Post by slamm » Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:37 pm

Deadman Canyon had plenty of water on 8/19/2020. The stream wiggling through was flowing well (though the meadow grass was pretty dry). The photo is just north of the "Ranger Meadow" label on the 7.5' map — looking southwest.
The trail is on the opposite side of the canyon.
deadman_water_20200819.jpg
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ClaireT
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Re: Lodgepole - Silliman Pass - Deadman Canyon - Crescent Mdw loop: Water availability?

Post by ClaireT » Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:29 pm

slamm - thanks for that info and the lovely photo. Nice to see the water!

I have decided to cancel this trip due to smoke concerns. Heading to oregon instead for a hike in the less smoky Cascades.

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Re: Lodgepole - Silliman Pass - Deadman Canyon - Crescent Mdw loop: Water availability?

Post by oldranger » Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:38 am

Whoa about Oregon. Pretty smokey right now and for the next few days. Best bet would be west side. Also there should be water in even some of the tiny creeks in Sugarloaf as they flow out of meadows which are great sponges that drip water out even in dry years. Main streams will have water as well but not much.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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