A few days have gone by and the snow survey has been partially updated for the Kern River Basin. It looks like most of the surveys were done before the “big storm” this last weekend. Assuming the rest of the basin was done prior to the storm, the snow pack is at 19% for March 1 and 17% for the April deadline. It is not looking so good. Even with one survey after the storm completed at Big Whitney Meadow, it only shows 15% of the April 1 norm.
What will this mean for the wilderness? As many users have experience, one can expect lower water levels later in the year. Lake levels will be lower too. Some may even dry up depending on climatic conditions. However, there is still one more month to go. Will it be a “miracle March” this time around? All we can do is wait and see.
Snow surveys have been completed up and down the State for the March 1 date. However, if one goes to the Kern River to see how the wilderness is fairing they would be left in suspense. Why? Well all the snow surveys have not been reported yet. Reasons are speculation, but one of them could simply be surveys were postponed till after weekend storm.
If the speculation is true, doing surveys after the storm would give a more accurate picture of what is there. The next larger drainage to the north, the Kings River, was surveyed anywhere from 1 to 7 days before the storm came through. Results of those surveys showed about 16% of normal for the month of March! As of this posting it is still unknown what the results are going to be for the Kern River. Stay tuned for updates!
The snow pack is not doing so great as of the February 1 survey. However, we still have this month and March to go. They are both typically the wetter months. If the snow pack does not improve significantly, what will you do? Will you plan an earlier trip into the wilderness or go at your usual time?
February 1 Snow Results for Kern River Watershed
The snow survey results are in for the state of California. As far as the Golden Trout Wilderness is concerned, the Kern River is the main watershed. How much snow is up there? Well if you have already been tuned into the news, we do not have much.
The average snow pack for the month of February is 14% of normal. If there is no more snow for the rest of the year, then the April 1 average is 9%. Remember that the April 1 date is important for the State regarding water allocations and planning for the summer months. Quite the contrast from last year! However, we do have two more months to get some snow on the ground. Let’s hope for a wet snow as that means more water!
As 2017 comes to a close, it is a reminder of one backpacking season finished and another one coming soon. Here is a playlist of all the videos submitted via YouTube regarding places in the Golden Trout Wilderness. As you look back on 2017, may some of these videos remind you of a journey into the GTW. Enjoy.
DISCLAIMER: Videos are intended to be family friendly. No nudity, vulgar language, and/or inappropriate behavior are contained within the videos. However, if you find something that violates this ideal, please let me know. Each video has been reviewed, but human error is always a factor. Thanks!
In the beginning of the late spring/summer backpacking season, 4 adventurers head out into the Golden Trout Wilderness. Due to the large snow pack, a detour was needed to arrive at their destination. Their trip went from 10 to 40 miles as a result! Curious as to how it all worked out? Check out this 28 minute video documenting their journey.
Posted in Trips
Tagged Inyo National Forest, Jerkey Meadow Trailhead, Jordan Hot Springs, Kern Flat, Kern River, Little Kern River, Sequoia National Forest, Soda Flat, Trout Meadow, video, YouTube
Roads accessing the Golden Trout Wilderness have been closed for the season. Users can still access the wilderness, but it will just take longer. Several road closures signs mean adding up to 14 miles of hiking just to a trail head. If you do plan to still head out into the winter wonderland, make sure you have the skills and experience to do so. Otherwise, consider another destination until the roads re-open in the spring.
A visitor to the wilderness, Dan Hall, during the week of Thanksgiving started at Jerkey Meadow and went out to Lion Meadow. Here is what he reports:
Thanksgiving week I did a backpack trip from Jerky Trailhead to Grey Meadow, then hiked up toward Lion Meadow and looped back through Burnt Corral Meadow, in the Golden Trout Wilderness. Regarding trail conditions, there was only one place with a problem. There is a blowdown across trail 32E12, about a quarter mile after the Jordon Trail Junction, on the way north down to Fish Creek and Grey Meadow. It is 16 inches in diameter, stretching 20 plus feet uphill and downhill. Getting past it is already a little hard for hikers and it will be very hard for stock to get around it. More importantly, if stock goes around it, they will cause erosion onto or below the trail because the hillside is steep there.
Regarding the Lion Fire burn area that I hiked through, and other details, they are best described in the captioned photos and videos at http://tinyurl.com/yaz88zub
Thanks Dan for the info and a link to your photos and videos. I am sure other users of the site and wilderness will enjoy them.
Back in June a large group of young women headed out to the Golden Trout Wilderness and what looks like up to Cottonwood Lakes area. User Lindsey Raymond published a video last year summarizing the adventure in 2016. Looks like they have returned for another adventure. Enjoy the smiles, laughter, and experience!