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Hiking in March

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
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Hiking in March

Postby coff20 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:52 pm

Hi there, this is my first post. I am a somewhat new backpacker. I've done a handful of trips over the last two years, but all in the later summer months. My spring break is in March and I am hoping to get out somewhere. Is there anywhere in the southern Sierras that is accessible in late march or is everything snowed in at that time? Thanks.
"Let no man be ashamed to kneel here in the great out-of-doors. Remember the woods were God's first temples." Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

"There's nothin' better than a boy and his dog just out travelin' 'round the backcountry" -Some Old Hippie



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Re: Hiking in March

Postby rlown » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:13 pm

Hi coff20, welcome to the HST!

You'll be asked of this anyway, so take a read and then respond: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4205

You'll have to watch the weather. It looks dry now, but we all hope that changes. When you say Southern Sierra, what are your proposed target areas?
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Re: Hiking in March

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:42 pm

Probably Domeland Wilderness for around then. This year maybe some Golden Trout stuff also.
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Re: Hiking in March

Postby ndwoods » Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:05 am

And if the southern Sierra is not available, there are lots of other opportunities like the Ventana....
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Re: Hiking in March

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:16 am

I'm in Henry Coe or the Ventana or Point Reyes in winter. This weekend I will be in the Bay Area hiking the Ohlone Wilderness over three days before it dries up... I hear the flowers are going already. I was in Sespe Wilderness last weekend - the weather was perfect and the hot springs were too. Winter is perfect to go there; any later and that area is horrible - in summer the creeks dry up and it's in the 100s during the day, and there's very little shade.

Unless, of course, you want a winter trip, and are prepared for winter conditions. Ice and very cold nights are going to be there even if the snow is just a few inches deep and patchy. We can have snow storms any time this time of year - we've seen them as late as April/May in the past couple years, even in the middle of the drought.
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Re: Hiking in March

Postby coff20 » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:36 pm

rlown, thanks for the heads up. I guess to expand on my initial post, I am looking for either an overnight trip or a two night trip. As far as mileage goes I probably wouldn't be looking to do more than 12 miles in one day for this trip. Among the handful of trips I've taken, I've done trips over Pine Creek Pass and Sawmill Pass, so I'm good with doing somewhat strenuous hikes Cold temperatures aren't an issue for me, but I don't really want to be extensively hiking through snowy terrain. I am comfortable x-country hiking. I don't right now have any target areas so to speak. I was just hoping to see if there might be anything available around there at that time of year.

AlmostThere, The bay area is a little too far of a trip for me, but I have been meaning to make a trip to Sespe, so that was going to be my fall back option.

Thanks for the replies guys!
"Let no man be ashamed to kneel here in the great out-of-doors. Remember the woods were God's first temples." Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

"There's nothin' better than a boy and his dog just out travelin' 'round the backcountry" -Some Old Hippie
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Re: Hiking in March

Postby SSSdave » Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:36 pm

We regularly get inquiries during the winter about Sierra backpacking and the general response is NO. Would help if you provide more information. From your response you must live in Southern California? If so you ought to learn about the DESERT. There are endless short backpacking destinations there during the winter if one thinks out of the box. Anza Borrego, Joshua Tree, Anza Borrego, are vast places and some places even have running water.
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Re: Hiking in March

Postby coff20 » Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:16 pm

Hey SSSdave, sorry about not providing more information. I guess it was more of just an in general question as to whether or not it was even a possibility. If the general response is no than I guess that answers my question. Yeah, I do live in southern California. I actually know a decent amount about the desert and it happens to be one of my favorite places. I grew up hunting quail/chukar and camping in the desert every fall and winter. However, unfortunately my backpacking partner doesn't have the same view of the desert as me so I was looking for an alternative. He likes places where we can be by river/streams and lakes. If I had to be more specific about where in the southern sierras I guess maybe like somewhere on the Kern or Kaweah river. I really don't know very much about either of those drainages.
"Let no man be ashamed to kneel here in the great out-of-doors. Remember the woods were God's first temples." Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

"There's nothin' better than a boy and his dog just out travelin' 'round the backcountry" -Some Old Hippie
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Re: Hiking in March

Postby rlown » Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:37 pm

wait until a week before you go... watch the weather sites... pick a place then. It's a weird weather situation again.

My friends and I would always (in the 90's) plan a Memorial day trip, but we were super flexible in what that meant.

As you pointed out you don't know much about the Kern. I'd read up on that.

Russ
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Re: Hiking in March

Postby gary c. » Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:00 pm

There are plenty of places to go as long as you know your personal limits as far snow and cold go. I don't like super cold nights and days and that is what normally keeps me at home. With temperatures staying as high as they are and no threat of a storm some friends and I are headed out this weekend. We are hiking the Jordan Trail north from the Sherman Pass road to Jordan camp. I have a friend that lives in the SFV and he has been going almost every other week to a few different hike to campgrounds on the south side of the Angeles Crest and Sab Gabriel mountains. There are several options in the Dome Land Wilderness and the Kennedy Meadows area. By March a think that the Manter Meadow trail should be accessible. Most everything that I've mentioned are pretty short and easy to do hikes but that is what I want in the off season. Something that is easy to bail on if the weather does happen to change for the worse.
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Re: Hiking in March

Postby SSSdave » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:00 pm

Reads like your friend has usual visions of idealic higher elevations of the Sierra with rivers and lakes. Yes there are places below the usual snow line that is about 5k to 6k feet, but those places are likely to disappoint those who have that other vision. For instance one can hike up the main Kern from here at 3.8k.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=35.97426,-118.48094&z=15&t=T:

Looks interesting on the topo heh? Now select the satellite tab at browser upper right. Oops the 150k McNally fire started by that inconsiderate homeless woman. And there are other low elevation river trails along some other west slope Sierra rivers but all have issues that make them nothing like what people think in terms of the high country. Most certainly will not be in wilderness. For instance hiking downstream along the lower Merced from end of the dirt road over the Briceberg Bridge. Or up the South Fork to Hite Cove. Instead one is likely to do some bush whacking and if not careful will bring back a good dose of poison oak.

Desert in March is much better. I'd bet your friend has never been out in desert areas in late winter after decent winter rains? Instead he probably has only seen it when it is hot, dusty, dead, and miserable. Or maybe he has and is a narrowly focused fishing enthusiast. If so no where in our southern mountains is going to be worthwhile even along lower elevation rivers.
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Hiking in March

Postby joshuacourter » Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:15 pm

Main roads into Golden Trout Wilderness and Domelands are closed for the winter. They typically don't open till May. You still could get into those areas, but it means more miles to hike where you could have driven.

As others have mentioned desert trips are great in winter. I enjoyed Anza Borrego a few years back in March as well as Death Valley NP. Those are some cool places.

Whatever you choose, definitely watch the weather reports before going out so you can be prepared as much as possible. We have had those Miracle Marches come through and dump a lot of rain and snow.

Joshua

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