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Re: One for Chick-on

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One for Chick-on
March 18, 2013 02:55PM
I've mostly lurked on this forum so far (don't have much time for posting these days) and have gotten lots of useful info and trip planning resources, especially from Chick-on. So here's some pix from this weekend as a thank-you. A friend and I did the Lake Vernon loop starting at Cherry dam this weekend. About 47 miles total according to the gps. We did 17 to Vernon on the first day, planning originally to get to Tiltill, but the snow conditions at Beehive were pretty bad. We got up early next day and hammered out the 30 miles back to the car via Hetch Hetchy. There was patchy snow above about 5500' and mostly continuous snow coverage on north-facing aspects above 6000'. South facing stuff was mostly melted out around 6500'. The warm temps over the weekend (high of 71 on Saturday and it only got down to 31 on Saturday night) meant that we did lots of postholing. At Beehive the snow most closely resembled a Slurpee and I had the pleasure of regularly post-holing up to my crotch with snowshoes on, usually breaking through into the standing water underneath the snowpack. But that only lasted for a few miles and after passing the Moraine Ridge turnoff conditions improved dramatically and we had a nice dry hike back to the car along HH and through Miguel Meadows.

Cherry Spillway


Trail to Beehive below Frog Creek


Frog Creek crossing


Beehive


We camped out on the bare granite above Vernon.


Didn't even have to get our feet wet to cross the Vernon bridge.


Falls Creek was going pretty good.


We followed the tracks of the Snow Survey team until the Moraine Ridge turnoff, but they disappeared after that. Had some trouble following the trail around Rancheria Mtn and was glad to have the GPS. At least the snow was hard since we did this part first thing in the morning.


Tiltill was flooded but only about ankle deep.


Then it was a nice dry cruise back to the car. Didn't see any human footprints until we got past Wapama. There were plenty of coyote, fox, bobcat and bear prints tho. The coyote had just as many problems post-holing as we did.


Overall a fun trip in somewhat challenging conditions. We didn't see a single person the entire weekend.
Re: One for Chick-on
March 18, 2013 04:31PM
Nice pictures and an impressive hike! I've seen Beehive with more snow than that in June... Thanks for sharing!
avatar Re: One for Chick-on
March 18, 2013 05:19PM
Well now that's purty kewl. Awesome.

Dunno you saw these little fore-rays:
Christmas at Lake Vernon

Jack Main Canyon in Early May

Been a goofy year. Been to Laurel in mid May and Beehive looked about the same.
Also been thru to Miguel early... and it's been a quagmire... from what you are saying it sounds like
Miguel to Eleanor is pretty dry. That's just crazy for this time of year.
(it's still WINTER by golly!)

Sounds like you had some same conditions I had going to Smith Peak area... nothing like postholing up the
wazooo with snowshoes on! One thing I get a kick out of is when a ranger says "there's 10 ft. of snow" to
which I respond... "well... 10 ft or 5 ft... it doesn't make much difference... 1-2ft... that's a different story...
and a major pain in the rump-a-roono usually". smiling smiley

Anywho.
Tanks for Sharon



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: One for Chick-on
March 18, 2013 06:58PM
Yep. Your Vernon Xmas album gave me the idea for this trip. It was dry all the way from Eleanor to nearly Frog Creek (a little water from seasonal creeks in a few places.) It didn't feel at all like winter out there... Hot during the day and never got cold at night.

I sure confused the rangers when I called Groveland to get a permit... I guess they don't usually give out Lake Vernon permits there. I got transferred around a bunch of times until somebody finally said "Well I don't think we have to worry about the quota, I'll write you one and sort it out with the park later."
avatar Re: One for Chick-on
March 18, 2013 09:05PM
Very cool. If you ever do it again... you can consider hiking all the way to the Frog Creek
cabin and then hiking the old trail right up Frog Creek instead of going thru Miguel.
It was fairly simple to find last time was on it... but of course an unmaintained trail ....
That many miles in those conditions... kudos man.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: One for Chick-on
March 18, 2013 09:59PM
What's the story with the cabin? I didn't know there was an old trail or a cabin around there. Last time I was at Frog Creek before this trip it was too high to cross ... We looked downstream about 1/4 mile trying to find a way over ... Didn't see a trail of any kind but there is a drop dead gorgeous view of the lake.
avatar Re: One for Chick-on
March 19, 2013 07:38AM
The trail junction is actually about a 1/4 mile south of the crossing.
Can post a gps track/map if you really want it. The cabin was a snow
survey cabin built in 1936 and then used for a bit for egg collection.
Remnants of the dam across Frog by the cabin can still be seen.
The cabin is in good shape. Never been in it. Only camped by it once..
and if I did again... I'd sleep on the porch so if some clowns come
along in their boat at midnight they don't try to camp there and
start playing their guitar at 1am while I'm trying to sleep.
I'm not bitter tho.

Anywho. Great trip. I would have avoided the 2 crossings u did over Frog
to get to Vernon. Have been stymied there before like you... and have gotten
lucky once too. Water is flowing pretty decent right now.
At this rate this year looks to me a whole lot less than last year. Not good
after such a great start.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: One for Chick-on
March 19, 2013 09:23AM
Huh... interesting. I had no idea of the history in that area (dam across Frog Creek??) I'll have to go that way and poke around next time I head past Eleanor.

About the Frog Creek crossing... we were actually trying to get a little bit more creek crossing experience for a trip to Montana in May. Last time when the water was too high I just backtracked a little on the trail and followed the 5600' contour south of Point 6687 to the trail up to Beehive, so I knew that we had options if we couldn't make it across.

A few more pix for fun:

Beehive


Dinner Saturday night was chicken sausage with apple


Nice fire to dry everything out


Little bit of 'shwackin on the switchbacks above Tiltill
avatar Re: One for Chick-on
March 19, 2013 11:20AM
Kewl. Makes sense now. Thanks

The 1920 Princeton Map shows the old trail
By 1958 it is off the maps. Don't remember the year... but probably sometime around 1998 there was a large fire
around Moraine Ridge, Beehive, etc... and they cleaned up the old trail. That's mainly why it should be in decent shape now.
Haven't hiked it in years tho... so ...

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: One for Chick-on
July 17, 2013 04:33PM
That old map is very cool! I'd like to try that Frog Creek trail.

I also notice there's an old trail to Flora Lake. Is this visible at all? I imaine it's largely forested. I know there's a cross-country route, but I've never tried it.

I also notice that all of the lakes north of Kibbie (Boundary, Spotted Fawn, Many Island) are not displayed (or at least named) on the map. Same with many of the lakes in Emigrant.
avatar Re: One for Chick-on
March 19, 2013 08:01AM
What a trip! 30 miles on the last day is crazy, to me a least! Thanks for the report.
avatar Re: One for Chick-on
March 19, 2013 03:19PM
Andrew, thanks so much for the info about the Frog Creek Crossing. I'm going to try for Edith in the next 2 weeks so that info was invaluable. And thanks for all the pictures. Also, I can attest to the viability of the Frog Creek Trail. Its unmaintained, but in decent shape. It does get a lot of use from the Rangers that stay at Eleanor.
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