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    Ronn Berrol reviewed Rush Creek to Clark Lakes to Thousand Island Lake

    3 months ago

    The Hike up to Gem Lake is a constant uphill, but well maintained trail. Lots of day hikers and people entering the high country. Agnew lake and Gem Lake are impressive, but unfortunately, they just have a reservoir feel. However, getting a glimpse of the entire hydroelectric works with old buildings, railtracks and old style reservoir buttress style dam is a throw back to a bygone era and fascinating when all taken together. At Agnew Lake we got a glimpse of the way down from the Spooky Meadows trail and it was impressive to get an idea of what we were instore for.

    Our goal was to keep our camp two nights at Clark Lakes and day hike a loop up to thousand Island Lake. Clark Lakes are very picturesque, multiple places to set up camp, but most are close to the trail. Due to the late date in the season we encountered absolutely no mosquitoes, I am sure that in July there must have been alot, as the lakes are shallow with still water in many places.

    The hike to Thousand Island lake from Clark Lakes is fantastic, each vista and view is better then the next with Banner Peak and Mt Ritter as the backdrop. At the junction with the JMT you encounter lots of people, up until then, from Gem lake to Clark Lakes to Thousand Island we had seen just about no one. However this section of the JMT is really stunning. we went south from Thousand Island to Garnet Lake and the trail was well maintained and just a joy to take in and hike.

    At Garnet lake across the bridge ( once again a congregation spots for many hikers) we went east and down the trail next to the outlet falls to hook up with the river trail along the San Joaquin River. This little tail is poorly marked and poorly maintained, a fun pleasant scramble, but we left scratching our heads wondering if we were on the correct trail. However once on the river trail going north we were amazed. The river trail is really just a very sweet trail with great canyon wall views to the left as you ascend back up to the PCT.

    Back at Clark lake we were able to find a great spot to enjoy the sierra sunset and get tremendous views just a 5 minute walk from our camp. we could see the orange glow off the mountains in Yosemite towards Mono Pass or east towards Banner peak.

    The next day was the trip down, going through Spooky Meadows. Any place called Spooky Meadows just can't be passed up. The trail towards Spooky Meadows is a gentle upward climb with views and scenery that just keeps getting better and better. Mono lake occasionally comes into view, you hike through bristle cone forests go along the delightful Sullivan Lake. Then starts the climb down, down, down. The trail is very steep,but if you take your time quite is manageable with stunning views. We loved every minute of the hike back down to Agnew Lake, but were happy to make the decision to hike down this trail and not up it. The hike up would have been brutal with a full pack. Spooky Meadow trail has become one of my favorites and I already wish I had spent more time hanging out and explore Spooky Meadows. One of the pleasant things about this trail is to have a typical Eastern Sierra stream running along the trail with wildflowers and the scents of wild oregano and sage waif up through the air. We did not encounter any other people on the Spooky Meadow trail. It is hard to get to, but should be on your list of trails to hike.

    We encountered light rains in the afternoon, and clear star filled nights with very little wind. We probably had the clearest air of the summer and the smoke from the recent fires had all cleared out.

    Ronn Berrol reviewed nahal barak

    5 months ago

    Nahal Barak is a classic desert hike that has great desert scenery, some class 4 scrambling and then climbs down into a canyon that depending on the time of the year could be dry or have some nice pools to swim across. There are ladders permanently in place from the Israel National Parks Authority. The trail head is off Route 90, you will see a small brown sign telling you where to turn off, but it comes up on your quickly. You turn onto a dirt road that in most times is fine for the average vehicle. However, depending on the rainy season and any recent flash floods the trail could be damaged and require a 4x4 vehicle. Most of the year you can drive about 7 km down the road to a barely marked, but pretty obvious parking area. After this point there is a jeep road, but it is not in great condition. Most hikers will need to hike from here. If you can make it to the parking lot then the hike itself is a 7km hike in and out.
    This is a great area for spotting wild Gazelles in the parking lot area. As you progress on along the wadi river bed/jeep road the canyon walls will slowly begin to come closer together. This area is well marked. About 2.5 km in you should see the canyon walls really starting to come together ahead of you and a green and white marker telling you to go up. Turn left and begin the ascent, easy scramble up on top of the canyon walls. The trail is easy to follow. You wind around on top of the canyon, until you see the blue and white markers.
    This starts the descent into the canyon. Much of the year it is a dry canyon, but water stays in many of the pools for months out of the year. Ladders are in place to take you down into the pools. Be prepared to swim across the pools, so have a dry bag for your phones and such. The canyon itself is not long, but it has three or four sections with ladders, metal hand holds and rope in place to help you descend. The biggest drop is about 40 feet. The pools are not deep enough to jump down to, you must use the ladders and assist devices in place. However, there are times of the year the only way to cross the pools is to swim across.
    Eventually the canyon flattens out and the encroaching walls widen. You will come back to the green and white sign that took you up. This signals the end of the canyon and walk back out the way you came in. The trails is always beautiful with great desert landscapes. You must hike in with all of your water. In the summer you need to go early enough to have some shade of the northern canyon walls providing respites of shade.
    The hike itself took us about 2 and 38 minutes, we were able to drive to the end of the car friendlyish road, so our total hike was 7 KM. We had only two people so that speeds up waiting at ladders. Larger parties will need to take more time to descend. we wadded through the pools, if there is more water, the swimming will take longer as well. We went in early July started at 6:30 am and used about 1-1.5 liters of water each, but had canyon wall shade to cool things off. Recommend a minimum of 2 liters of water each person, but would go higher as there is absolutely no potable water along the trail and the hike in and out could be longer if road conditions are not friendly. This is a great hike, mostly easy flat trail for the first 2.5km and the last 2.5km out.

    Ronn Berrol updated nahal barak

    5 months ago

    Ronn Berrol reviewed Masada Loop Trail

    5 months ago

    Just completed this loop last week. Trail is not well marked to start from either Roman Ramp or snake path, but once you are on the trail it is well marked. Starting from the snake path you start like you are going up the snake path like everyone else, as the mountain's plain begins to get give way to the rocky sides of the moutain you see a wide path to the right, it is just inside the borders of the ancient roman wall. This is where you turn. There are no markers here, but as long as you are going along parallel to ancient roman wall you know you are on the right trail. Soon you will see a marker identifying with the red and white markings. Keeping going until you see the turn to the green and white marked stones, this is where you ascend around the northern side of Masada and see Herod's winter palace above you. The turn is just at the roman camp "D". This is a well marked trail, climbing upward, with hand holds on ocasion, constatnly climbing up. Eventually you level off just east and below the modern concert seating used for outdoor concerts under the stars. You should end up right at the base of the roman ramp, but you need to go opposite of the flow of people going up the roman ramp, back towards the parking lot for several meters and look for the red and white marked train. It is just west of the water storage shed and can take a few minutes to find, once again this area is not well marked. Walk along and then Climb up the red and white trail which takes you up the back side of Ma'ale Eleazar. There is a little bit of loose rock and scree, but fairly manageable. As you ascend you will crest at the junction with the black and white trail. Turn left here and walk along the crest of Mt Eleazar with views of Masada to your left and the Dead Sea and Jordan in front of you. As you walk along the black and white trail you will come to a sign that warns of a dangerous descent. This is the hardest park of the trail. However if take your time and are deliberate with your footing this will be no problem. The trail is obvious, but it is steep with jagged rocks and some scree. Just don't rush this part of the trail and you will be fine. At the bottom you will be at the bus ramp for the visitors center. Walk in and reward yourself with a cold drink.

    I did this trail in July, but we started at 5:00 and were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise on the trail. I am 56 and my wife is 51 and we did the trail in 3 hours and 10 minutes. There is water in the roman ramp parking lot and visitors center at snake path, otherwise there is absolutely no water. We brought 3 liters each and it was plenty for the entire trail, didn't need to fill up. Unless you have hiked in the desert before and are comfortable with the environment don't hike this in the summer. Temperatures can get 100-110 degrees Farenheit.

    The hike is really amazing and gives you a different perspective of Masada. The canyons that trail off the sides around them are very beautiful. The lighting and views are spectacular. This is an "A+" hike.

    Ronn Berrol completed Masada Loop Trail

    5 months ago

    Ronn Berrol reviewed Bloody Canyon Trail

    over 1 year ago

    The Trailhead is from Walker Lake, you need to drive to the Walker Lake campground along Forrest Road 1S23. This road is a dirt road in reasonable condition, although when we went there was some residual storm damage from the winter, but our Toyota mini-van did manage the drive and by the time we left they had filled in the worst divets.

    There is a nice campground at the end of the road, it will be obvious when you get there. A pit toilet is there and nice small campground if you want to spend the night before you set off. You start walking through the campground and within 50 feet on your right the trailhead takes you up immediately a small hill from which you can look down to Walker lake. You immediately start down a steep incline until you reach the bottom along the shore of Walker Lake. The trail is well marked and easy to follow.

    The hike up to Lower Sardine Lake takes you every upwards with nice switchbacks, but this trail is not heavily used and parts are not well maintained. Small areas are washed out, fallen trees along trail and areas of significant overgrowth of brush. You will have 4 stream crossings and this year with the historical rains a few will challenge your balance with a heavy pack. Lots of wild flowers along the trail and the pleasant scents of wild oregano liven the senses. We did not scout any significant campsites at lower Sardine lake and went on to Upper Sardine. This is the most difficult part of the trail. Ice and Snow cover some of the most steep sections of trail and there is lots of scree and loose rocks to navigate to get up to Upper Sardine lake. This small section after already going up 2000 feet taxed us greatly.
    At Upper Sardine Lake there are actually two lakes, plenty of quality campsites can be found, but the best are at the second of the two lakes which is actually Upper Sardine Lake. Great views of Mono Lake are a treat from the ridges on the east side of Upper Sardine lake (which is where the good campsites are). Upper Sardine has great quality fresh water that is constantly being fed from streams above.

    We dropped our packs on day two and made the easy hike to Mono Pass and into Yosemite. This part of the trail is easy and beautiful. We then hiked to Parker Pass at 11,000 feet.

    The hike out of Bloody Canyon was a real grind due to the areas of iced trail and attempting to find safe routes down the steepest, rockiest parts of the trail. As others have indicated the hike back up to the Walker Lake Campground from Walker Lake is a real work-out. It is a nice trail, but very few switchbacks and just straight back up to the campsite, it is a great cardiac stress test with a full pack.

    Ronn Berrol completed Bloody Canyon Trail

    over 1 year ago

    Ronn Berrol updated Bloody Canyon Trail

    over 1 year ago

    Ronn Berrol reviewed Methuselah National Recreation Loop Trail

    over 1 year ago

    The drive up to the trail head through the White Mountains is a great outing in itself. One small section of the drive is single lane, but that is very short. Excellent visitors center at Trail Head, very helpful and a nice shop. Clean outhouses at trailhead.

    The trail is well marked. Most people do the Discovery Trail which is only about a mile. The Methuselah Trail is just over 4 miles and is really a pleasant and peaceful loop. We encounter just two other people on the loop. Trail is well maintained, but very narrow with steep slopes due to the terrain the Bristlecone trees thrive in. The interpretative booklet costs two dollars at the visitors center and is well worth it to learn about the Bristlecones. The trail is not difficult, but nor is it easy due to the 10,000 elevation and there is about 600 foot elevation gain on this narrow trail. The trail is so peaceful and serene and feels like you are on another planet. I have wanted to hike the Bristelcone forrest for years and finally got around to it and was not disappointed.

    There are campgrounds on the drive up and I would imagine watching the sunset over the Sierra Nevadas from the White Mountains would be majestic.

    Ronn Berrol reviewed Poopenaut Valley Trail

    over 1 year ago

    The trail is easy to miss on the drive down to Hetch Hetchy reservoir. Not much parking, but you pull out to the right side of the road. There are bear boxes there to store your food while you hike. The pull-out has only enough room for 3-4 cars to park, but this is not a popular trail. This trail is short, but steep, infact the steepest official trail in Yosemite National Park. You immediately lose big elevation descending. The trail is not well maintained, a good amount of overgrowth and smatterings of poison oak along the trail. The bottom, in the Poopenaut Valley is lovely, but when we went there was still so much water from this years historic rains that much of the valley was marshy, so couldn't really find a place by the river to sit and enjoy. The hike up makes you pay all the way up. It is a constant grind, and there were plenty of mosquito's at the botton third of the trail that were loving our sweat.

    I like the trail, but Yosemite has many more and better to offer, but after you have explored other places around the Hetch Hetchy entrance to the park you might want to check this out. This is a down and back trail, not good for launching a backpacking trip, as no access up or down the Tuolumne river. No camping allowed in this valley.

    Ronn Berrol completed Poopenaut Valley Trail

    over 1 year ago

    Ronn Berrol reviewed North Lake to the Lamarck Lakes

    over 2 years ago

    Great trail, parking can be a bit of a problem, you can't park at the campground, and there is only room for 4 cars at the closest day use spot. However, the larger day use parking spot has a bathroom and plenty of parking, but have to walk half-mile to trail head.

    The hike starts climbing fairly quickly, lots of water in the streams. I have read that some people have trouble picking up the trail again from Lower Lamarck to Upper Lamarck and it can be tricky. The key is to cross over the stream soon right by where the stream flows out of lower Lamarck. The first 200 meters or so the trail is not great, but then the rest of the way up to Upper Lamarck is very well maintained. If you are indoubt you are on the right tail, then you aren't on it.

    Great abundant colorful wildflowers on the way up to upper Lamarck. Better swimming and many entry points in Lower Lamarck and that is where you can scramble over to the Wonder Lakes if you want.

    We found this trail definitely moderate, lots of elevation gain in 2 miles (1600ft)

    Ronn Berrol completed North Lake to the Lamarck Lakes

    over 2 years ago