A trip to the high country on Memorial Day revealed conditions you’d normally find in late June. Lots of open, dry granite and timber, with lingering snow and ice a problem only on higher passes.
What a short off-season it was. In 2011-12, you could hike or backpack all the way into January. Now here we are four months later with summer-like conditions. Not the best scenario for California’s water supply, of course, but since I’m wearing my hiker’s hat at the moment (with a wide brim, thank you very much) I’m not complaining.
While another extended season seems likely for 2012, keep in mind that lots of creeks and streams will be drying up early this year, and if you want great wildflowers, best plan for a relatively early trip.
On Monday we took a quick day hike out of Kennedy Meadows, into the Emigrant Wilderness. Lots of backpackers were heading out after the holiday weekend. Some had been snowed on Friday night and Saturday, but once the storm passed they had a great time.
One hiker came all the way out from Emigrant Lake, about 14 miles into the wilderness. She said conditions were sketchy over Mosquito Pass, and as we came around a bend in the trail, I saw why.
But, she made it. Even those passes should be in great shape pretty soon.
Creek crossings may be an issue for a while, but based on the lack of snow, peak flows should be diminishing. Most everything should be passable in a few weeks’ time.
Looks to be a great year. So go find a nice sandy Sierra beach.
That’s what I did.