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Snow Mountain Wilderness Trail Report

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Snow Mountain Wilderness Trail Report

Postby Ikan Mas » Mon May 11, 2015 9:57 pm

With the storms in the Sierras, I decided to head up to the Snow Mountain Wilderness for a quick overnight trip. After picking up my fire permit in Willows, and with a warning that the springs were quickly drying up in the wilderness, I headed up the Summit Springs TH on M-10, a winding dirt road up through the chaparral into the high country. I hit the trail around 10:00 and soon saw this:

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One of the waterholes shown on the map was at Cedar Camp. The small pond had shrunk down to an even smaller weedy pool. Fortunately, I carry plenty of water:
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After a while, I left the high altitude Red Fir forest and entered a burn where I could begin to see the two Snow Mountain summits:

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Here is the east summit:
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Some strange flowers I found near the summit. Does anyone know what they are?
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A view out over the Central Valley:
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Here is the west summit:
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After completing the summits, I continued on to the meadows at Milk Ranch, where I spent the night. Total hike for the day was about 6.7 miles.
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There was a spring here in the meadow that became a small creek. As I walked down the meadow, the creek disappeared into the alluvium. The aquifer was sucking up the surface flow. As the summer goes on, I'm sure the flow will completely disappear.

Next morning I hiked back to the TH on a trail through some exceptionally spiny ceanothus. I hope the trail crew gets out there soon, as the ceanothus will soon engulf the trail. 4.7 miles back to the car. A great small trip. I probably won't go back, but it was certainly a different sort of wilderness. Subtle beauty.



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Re: Snow Mountain Wilderness Trail Report

Postby balzaccom » Tue May 12, 2015 7:53 am

Thanks for posting this. We've done some small explorations of this area, and I've always wondered about backpacking.

This summer looks like a bad time to do that in this area. the water situation is really desperate.
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: Snow Mountain Wilderness Trail Report

Postby Ikan Mas » Tue May 12, 2015 12:23 pm

If you are interested in backpacking Snow Mountain this year, I would get it done before Memorial Day. I believe this summer will be very dry.
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Re: Snow Mountain Wilderness Trail Report

Postby maverick » Tue May 12, 2015 1:59 pm

Thanks for the great TR and pictures IM. Does it look like all the wild flowers are dried out or they just
did not happening this year?
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Re: Snow Mountain Wilderness Trail Report

Postby Ikan Mas » Tue May 12, 2015 8:57 pm

The flowers were a bit thin, but here are some I saw:

Lupine
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Phlox
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Some type of high altitude composite
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Iris, probably innomonata
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Re: Snow Mountain Wilderness Trail Report

Postby giantbrookie » Mon May 18, 2015 2:01 pm

Great report and photos. I really should get up there. That's a classic geologic locality yet it is one I haven't been to during my time as a geologist. My one and only time there was very memorable. It was in 1967 and I climbed to the top with my dad as a part of a Sierra Club hike. At that age (just before my 8th birthday), it marked my personal best in elevation gain in a day (>4000 feet).
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: Snow Mountain Wilderness Trail Report

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon May 18, 2015 5:46 pm

Nice to see your photos with flowers and grass! Great off-season hike. These photos are from 2003. Photo data says February but I am really not sure if we did it that early. Photo 1 is where we camped. Photo 2 is the same place you took a photo. Photo 3 is on the snowy side of the mountain. Snow Mountain is a county high point and I am still in the process of completing all California county high points.

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Re: Snow Mountain Wilderness Trail Report

Postby TehipiteTom » Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:14 pm

Ikan Mas wrote:
Some strange flowers I found near the summit. Does anyone know what they are?
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I think that might be Claytonia saxosa.
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