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It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer

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It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer
January 20, 2015 09:35PM
The long MLK weekend has become one of our newer traditions: a snow-shoeing escape in Sequoia. Only for the last few years, one thing has been missing: snow. Despite some early storms, this year seems to be unfortunately continuing this trend.

Not too long ago we gave up trying to "climb" Moro Rock in winter due to the snow being deeper than the protective railings. This year, no snow or even ice--in fact the road to Crescent Meadow was open.



Bonus, unlike summer, no valley smog as well, resulting in clear views of Paradise Ridge and the Great Western Divide.



After parking at Crescent Meadow, we hiked out to Eagle View for another peek at the Great Western Divide, then returned to the Trail of the Sequoias.



There was a bit of snow at the high point between Log Meadow and the Congress Group, where a particularly old tree we have nicknamed "Treebeard" dominates the hilltop. In the shade the temperature was a bit cool, but in the sun it was pleasantly warm.



The Congress Group was mostly snow-free.



After hitting the House and Senate groups, we continued past McKinley Junction on the Alta Trail, looping back to Crescent Meadow via the steep-ish Huckleberry Trail. Since we were making good time on the mostly bare ground, we looped back past Tharp's Log, which we had circled above earlier.



After we returned to our cars, we drove back to the Beetle Rock parking area for a sunset stroll to Sunset Rock.



The sunset didn't disappoint.







Last January we had been able to hike to Alta Meadow with only traction devices. This year there was a bit more snow--almost 100% coverage from Wolverton to Panther Gap, with enough ice in the morning to make the micro-spikes quite welcome. The snow was quite consolidated due to previous hikers; snowshoes were not needed.



While it was winter-ish north of Panther Gap, on the north side it was a nice summer day. JKW's new boots were giving her some trouble so she rested here while the rest of us continued towards Alta Meadow. Unfortunately, the snow was just deep enough at Mehrten Meadow that making Alta Meadow and back by sunset would have been a challenge. Since Panther Gap had been so inviting we returned there and enjoyed lunch and the excellent views.



The snow had melted enough that the morning's ice was softer, allowing a quick return to Wolverton. Unfortunately, the scant snow was not enough to avoid dangerous exposed rocks in the "official" sledding area at Wolverton, so those wishing to sled had to resort to other, milder hills.



The clear day became an equally clear, moonless night, with Orion high above the Alta Peak area. Not far from the Pleiades, Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) was passing by.





For our final day, we decided to check out the Redwood Mountain Grove since the dirt road to the parking lot was passable. This grove is the largest remaining Sequoia grove, yet due to its remote location and lack of signature trees a short walk from the car, it gets few visitors. It also doesn't have the huge named trees*--nor the extensive fencing or paved paths--that the Grant Grove and Giant Forest have.



From the trailhead we headed to the Hart Tree. Like the Converse Basin, Atwell, and Grant Groves, there was some logging in the Redwood Mountain Grove--fortunately, it was limited.



Of course, it's one thing to fell a big tree; hauling it out of the grove is a different challenge.



Most of the grove is heavily forested; however, there are a few places where flat expanses of granite remind you that you are in the Sierra.



Our progress was slow due to the numerous big trees along the way...



...and over the way.



The one (living) named and signed tree of the grove is the Hart Tree**, whose uphill fire scar is impressively large. The tree itself is still perfectly healthy, and the scar is slowly healing. These things take time...



The terrain of Redwood Creek is not unlike that generally associated with coastal redwoods; a small waterfall near the trail would not be out of place in Big Basin.



The Fallen Goliath was a bit of a let-down, and it's not clear why that particular log was called out. We found other fallen trees more interesting.



After reaching Redwood Creek, we returned to the trailhead via the Redwood Creek trail. We had encountered little snow higher up on the Hart Tree trail, but the trail near the creek held a fair amount of snow--fortunately (or unfortunately), not too deep.



Unfortunately there were a few deadfalls across the trail that temporarily slowed our progress.



Back at the car some hikers we had seen at the parking lot that morning had just returned after finishing the Sugarbowl Loop. The Redwood Mountain Grove contains 15,800 Sequoias; we "shared" it with three other people.



More Pictures



* The Redwood Mountain Grove's Hart and Roosevelt trees, however, are both larger than the Mariposa Grove's Grizzly Giant, and the tallest Sequoia is an unnamed tree in this grove.

** The Roosevelt Tree is the only other named tree in the Redwood Mountain Grove, but it is not marked on the map nor signed.
Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer
January 21, 2015 05:10AM
Nice pix and report. One of the items you talk about
here has the same last name as I do, and I'd never
even heard of it before. Small galaxy.
avatar Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer
January 21, 2015 08:14AM
Noice! Looks like a fun time. Kinda scary how little snow there is right now. I drove up to Bear Valley last Saturday and it was depressing how little snow there is.
Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer
January 21, 2015 10:05AM
Very nice thumbs up
avatar Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer
January 21, 2015 09:53AM
Here is the view last Sunday looking up Tenaya Canyon from the Diving Board. Yes, we do need snow!

avatar Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer
January 21, 2015 12:22PM
There's some hope:

Yosemite Valley next Tuesday: A 30 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 61. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south southwest in the morning.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/2015 12:22PM by eeek.
Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer
January 21, 2015 12:59PM
Quote
eeek
There's some hope:

Yosemite Valley next Tuesday: A 30 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 61. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south southwest in the morning.

Any precp is good, but there won't be much snow:

THE MOISTURE WITH THIS SYSTEM WILL BE TROPICAL IN ORIGIN AND SNOW
LEVELS WILL BE VERY HIGH WITH THIS SYSTEM...GENERALLY BETWEEN 9000
AND 10000 FEET.

Though they did describe the systems as MOIST.


Otherwise, Basilbop, great post. Looks like it was a great weekend.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/2015 01:01PM by buster.
avatar Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer
January 21, 2015 01:59PM
Awesum. Tanks for Sharon.

Wow. That Redwood Mountain Grove looks like it's worth going to... more than once... wink



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer
January 21, 2015 07:46PM
Quote
chick-on
Wow. That Redwood Mountain Grove looks like it's worth going to... more than once... wink

I think it's definitely worth a second trip...
Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer
January 21, 2015 04:46PM
Love the report and the pictures, especially the tree hugging one.
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