It is no secret in the hiking community that it has been a high snow year in the Sierra. That fact has been known before winter ended. What wasn’t known was the rate of summer melt out. Due the high amount of snow the melt out is happening a bit later this year, which happens to be right now.
The warmer temperatures mean two things. One, variable snow conditions. Honestly, the snow travel does not bother me so much. Two, and of major concern to me, is the rise in the water level of creeks and streams due to melting snow. On an average person, the depth could be thigh to waist deep or higher. Add to that swift current and cold water and the whole situation is more risky than I’d like.
That said, my current hiking partner, Still Walking (AT 2005) and I have decided to flip up to Castella, CA and hike south back to the Sierra. After the Sierra, the plan is to head back to Castella and finish the trail north to the Canadian border. In the five or so weeks it will take us to get back, conditions will improve and will be much more fun. We will really be able to enjoy the Sierra rather than worry daily about water crossings.
Before we could flip, we completed the 40 or so miles between Kennedy Meadows and Horseshoe Meadows, our exit point when we hike back south. Both locations are on remote back country roads, but it is easier to get a ride to town from Horseshoe Meadows due to the large popular campground located there.
Next week: updates from NorCal southbound.
Horseshoe Meadows. We saw two marmots in the meadow.
A view out to the Owens Valley far below.
An afternoon thunderstorm to the north. This was an unusual sight after weeks of sunny skies with no clouds in the desert.
Snow. Not enough to even worry about, just a few pockets here and there.
Bridge over the Kern River. It was not flowing fast, but it was deep.
Another branch of the Kern River, this time flowing very fast. Thankfully there was a bridge at this crossing, too.