Question: Lord Meadow to Huckleberry on south side?

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kpeter
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Question: Lord Meadow to Huckleberry on south side?

Post by kpeter » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:49 pm

I'm trying to pick my early season trip and considering returning Lord Meadow, perhaps in the first week of June or a little later. I love the water show there--depending on the snowmelt of course.

A couple of questions. How difficult would it be to hike on the south side of East Fork Cherry Creek all the way from Lord Meadow to Huckleberry Lake, especially during high water?

If this is doable, I would like to return by approaching Inferno lakes from the NE. I was considering coming up on my return from Huckleberry, heading between Wheeler Peak and point 8151. How doable is that?

Then I should ask how difficult crossing the outlet stream from Inferno lakes would be, or whether it is possible to get around the northern end of the lakes and thus miss a crossing? The goal is, after visiting Inferno, to return via Little Bear or Boundary but I don't want to get hung up on at a raging torrent.

I short, I'm looking to take in a couple of new places without crossing any significant streams at that time of year. I get that it might depend upon how much snow is left in June on the north facing slopes of the EFCC canyon, which is why I am asking for people's experience.

So long as I am at it, does anyone know whether the road from Eleanor to Shingle Springs was ever repaired? Last time I had to hike from the Eleanor parking lot.








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Re: Question: Lord Meadow to Huckleberry on south side?

Post by wildhiker » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:37 pm

I don't know anything about the backcountry conditions you request, but I did hike in from the Eleanor trailhead area on June 28, 2019 to Kibbie Lake and the road from Eleanor trailhead to Shingle Springs was most definitely not repaired and looked like it was abandoned with concrete barriers blocking vehicle access. Everyone was hiking the road up to Shingle Springs.
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Re: Question: Lord Meadow to Huckleberry on south side?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:59 am

I did that exact route a few years ago, when it was almost all snow covered. Except that I went the other way, came down from Inferno lakes and then hiked back downstream from Huckleberry Lake. You do not follow the trail exactly but you cannot really see it anyway. I did not remember any trouble crossing at Inferno Lakes. I do remember that I did a LOT of post-holing so travel was slow. You will get your feet soaked! I will try to find my trip report and bump it up.

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Re: Question: Lord Meadow to Huckleberry on south side?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:28 pm

I may have done this before I joined HST; I could not find any trip reports, but here is my best guess of my route. I did not cross the outlet of Inferno Lakes (did that on another trip). I am not exactly sure where I dropped off the ridge, maybe dashed line, more likely the solid blue line. I also cannot remember how far I went up towards Huckleberry Lake. I never got to the lake because I ran out of time. It was pretty slow going. There was some steep snow. I did carry an ice axe- at that time I was not using trekking poles.
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Re: Question: Lord Meadow to Huckleberry on south side?

Post by kpeter » Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:19 pm

Thanks WD! I just knew you would have this information. When you say it was slow going on the way to Huckleberry Lake, was that because of the snow, or some other factor like brush or talus?

And thanks Phil for the intel on the trailhead. It sounds identical to when I was there Memorial Day of 2018. I wonder if they never did reopen it, and plan to permanently close the road to Shingle Springs. It adds 2 miles to the hike to Kibbie and beyond.

I took the trail, not the road, and it was a fairly nice trail. I was shocked that it went through so much forest prior to making Shingle Springs--when I had anticipated that the fires would have completely obliterated it.

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Re: Question: Lord Meadow to Huckleberry on south side?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:21 am

It was slow because of the snow. The snow was about 1-2 feet deep, and melting out from the ground and I would post-hole into about 6 inches of water on a regular basis. I did this section in the afternoon and the snow was in terrible condition. I am not sure I would want to do it with a loaded pack; I did a day-hike. I doubt there will be that much snow up there this year in late June. The ridge run was on dry rock and scree. Since the route on the south side goes off-trail as the trail crosses the river, and there was snow, I am not sure how brushy the continuing off-trail part would be when the snow has melted.

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Re: Question: Lord Meadow to Huckleberry on south side?

Post by phoenix2000 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:22 am

I have not been to Lord's Meadow or Huckleberry Lake but I have been to Inferno Lakes.

Here is a picture of the north shore of Upper Inferno Lake. Both the eastern and western sections of the northern shore have vertical rock walls down to the water so you would need to either go up and over the peak or maybe around the northern side of it.
North Shore of Upper Inferno Lake.jpg

Here is a close up shot of the northeast corner of Upper Inferno Lake.
Northeast Shore of Upper Inferno Lake.jpg

Here is a close up shot of the northwest corner of Upper Inferno Lake.
Northwest Shore of Upper Inferno Lake.jpg


When I went to Inferno Lakes I was coming from Little Bear Lake and arrived on the granite over looking the middle of Upper Inferno Lake. Since I needed trees to hang my hammock from I headed to the southern section of the lake. The granite leading down to the lake became steep and hard to navigate. I ended up having to drop my pack 4-5 feet at the bottom and jump down after it. From what I could see the granite leading down to the northern section looks much easier to navigate.

The outlet stream from Upper Inferno Lake is in a 5-6 foot deep channel. I crossed it 3 times in August of 2016. I remember it being a little steep on the western side, it had dead grass lining the western side so it was slippery and had just a trickle of water in the middle. The only place to cross it is up by the lake because down lower the eastern side becomes a granite cliff.

The granite to east of both the southern section of Boundary Lake and the northern section of Little Bear Lake forms a 7-10 foot tall vertical granite wall, punctured in only 2 places that I could see. Both places are where streams run down when the snow melts. Climbing down the northern most break in the wall you will have hike down a steep section of granite to get to a area where you will have to climb down into a narrow short canyon via a spot where there will be a waterfall if the water if flowing thru it. Then you will have to hop across boulders until you are out of the little canyon. The southern most break has long section of bushes at the top. Then you will descend thru steep rock, more bushes and lose dirt/sand. I think this section gets more water running down it than the northern section.

If it were me I'd prefer to take Wandering Daisy's route down to northern end of Boundary Lake than head to Little Bear Lake.
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Re: Question: Lord Meadow to Huckleberry on south side?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Jan 31, 2020 5:58 pm

Yes, Inferno Lake are quite cliffy.

On another trip I day hiked (5/31/16) from Little Bear Lake and remember that I was on snow most of the way up while in trees, but the Inferno Lakes had much less snow, evidently due to the south-facing rock. I wrote a trip report on this trip so you could look it up. The trail up to Boundary Lake was solid snow. But overall, on this trip verses my earlier trip where I tried to walk up towards Huckleberry Lake, swampy conditions and high water crossings were more trouble than the snow. 2016 was a low snow year. Perhaps your June trip this year would be similar. One way to avoid snow is to walk the ridges instead of down in the valleys.

Lord Meadow was fantastic. Schedule plenty of time there.
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4606_LongInfernoLk.jpg
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Re: Question: Lord Meadow to Huckleberry on south side?

Post by balzaccom » Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:23 pm

Another Lake we loved in this area is Latora Lake---just uphill to the West of Huckleberry. The hike up is magical--a steady climb, but every so often you come to a ledge in the granite, and it's like a little garden, each one unique because of its ecosystem.

And Latora is gorgeous. No photos because I lost my camera in an accident in Huckleberry Lake. I'll have go back just to get those photos...
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Re: Question: Lord Meadow to Huckleberry on south side?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:40 pm

I camped at Latora Lake, off the trail on the east side. Here is my favorite photo of Latora Lake. By the way, there is a very over-used horse camp at the inlet to Huckleberry Lake. I was going to camp there but was grossed out. One problem with Latora early season is that you have to cross the inlet. But the branch of Cherry Creek from Huckleberry Lake is not as big as the one from Cow Meadow Lake. Also, Latora is prime mosquito breeding habitat; I think late season would be better.
EM08_084_LatoraLk_2678.JPG
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