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Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:34 pm

Heading to Hetch Hetchy on June 6 and wondering if you think Tueeulala and Wapama will be passable. Is it worth checking out Rancheria Creek above the footbridge; Is it even accessible? Is Le Conte Point worth bagging? Is the trail toward/next to Rancheria Mountain scenic or so-so? Looking to avoid Tiltill because we were there a few years back and it'll probably be sodden anyway. Any ideas for day hikes from a Rancheria Falls base camp would be much appreciated. For your troubles, here's an East Lake trip report from 2017 that I finally just completed: http://yellowbelliedmarmot.tumblr.com. I have two young boys, so it takes a while to post!
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:15 am

I doubt Wapama will be passable that early. There is another five feet of snow about to drop this week, after the many feet of previous weeks. We're currently above average for snowpack. You could always go up Beehive and wander up to Vernon or Laurel. Eventually you run into the same problems tho, high creeks, and there will still be feet of snow up higher.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:43 pm

Thanks. Any suggestions for other early season hikes in Yosemite or surrounding areas? I know the Happy Isles trailhead's quotas are filled, so that's out. Was thinking of the Crabtree trail, but it's not listed as an early season candidate in the Sierra North guide by Wilderness Press. Any ideas would be much appreciated.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:01 pm

Anywhere in the Sierra will have high water in any creek you cross. That will be true in Emigrant, in Yosemite, everywhere.

Jennie Lakes Wilderness, Kaiser Wilderness, the southeastern portion of Yosemite, all tend to have less troublesome creeks to cross, but caution should always be used while the snow is melting, particularly if the water is more than knee deep and very fast.

Happy Isles will always be full, because people are very hopeful of doing the JMT, but I would bet you there will be enough snow in the high country in early June that the reserved permits will be abandoned in epic numbers, and unclaimed permits are free and available for walk ins. You could go up the Merced River for a couple of days and come back for a beautiful trip, if you don't want to go higher in elevation into the solid snow.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:23 pm

Thanks a lot, I really appreciate your feedback. I have two young boys, thus I'm only afforded four days to go backpacking each year so I really want to dial it in! I posted some questions in the "Outside Yosemite" section of this forum if you're still willing to offer free advice. Thanks!
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:38 pm

Do you think this Jennie/Weaver Lakes trail is a candidate for early June?
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:41 pm

It depends on whether the road is open -- if the melt progresses enough that the road opens, you may be able to get to trailheads okay. If it progresses well enough there might be clear trails to hike on. A lot of the trailheads in the Sierra are on roads that close due to snow, unfortunately for those who would be happy to walk on the snow.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:22 pm

Just secured a Glacier Point->Illilouette permit for early June, so let's see if conditions cooperate. Required to pass Buena Vista Trail junction before camping, so do you know of any good basecamps from that point on? Any dayhike suggestions in that area? Thanks!
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby balzaccom » Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:32 pm

That junction is not far from the trailhead. Maybe four miles and all downhill. There are tons of campsites around there. It's almost too developed for my taste...

Do your kids like fishing? Illilouette Creek is jammed pack with small and very hungry rainbows. Bear in mind that the creek may well be very high in early June, and there is no bridge, so you may not want to try fording it there. But if you do, there's a nice hike/climb up Mt. Starr King. Or you can hike up along the creek for a few miles. When you get sick of the place, you can hike downstream and catch the bridge across to go down to Happy isles, or hike back up and out Glacier Point.

You don't mention how old your kids are...so I am not suggesting anything too ambitious...
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:15 pm

No kids on this trip. Just my college buddy and me on a nice, tranquil trip. Your description sounds perfect: fishing and peaks. I'll pay the fees now and secure my permit. Thanks!
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:23 pm

I was planning to use a small rod and reel that I already have. Do you think that will suffice, along with some spinners, in Illilouette Creek? Or do I need flies there? Hoping to not have to invest in a tenkara rod just yet. Haven't fished regularly since high school, never in the Sierra and never with a tenkara, so I want to ramp us slowly and make do with what I already have.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby balzaccom » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:09 pm

Take a small bubble float and a few #12 Caddis flies and use that with your spinning rig. It will work fine
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:56 am

Thanks! How do you prefer to set up your line? Swivel snap? If so, do you put anything btwn the bubble and swivel to keep them from running into each other? How long is the line from the fly to the swivel? Should I bring an extra bubble or two? Thanks for bearing with the basic questions.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:36 am

Most people use swivels. I usually tie lures/flies on using a palomar knot. I use adjusta-bubbles that slide up the line and twist on.

Creeks are too small for spinners generally. Remember that this is going to be really early, snow will be melting, you will be lucky if the fish even see your lure in the churning waters of a creek. I generally don't bother with rivers or creeks until the melt slows down; lakes are a safer bet, you lose fewer lures.
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Re: Hetch Hetchy June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:55 pm

Thanks for the palomar tip. I like it. Brings back memories of watching my dad tie knots for his fishing rig. Unfortunately the only Yosemite permit I have is for Glacier to Illilouette, which probably won't involve a lake. So I guess, AT, you're saying we're hosed if we're just planning to fish Illilouette in early June. My only plan is to, when picking up our permit, ask if there happen to be any available permits for anywhere with lakes and change our plan right there. Unless you have any other suggestions (already have Twin Lakes in Kaiser and Jennie Lakes in my back pocket).
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