New Map Feature: CalTopo

Head over to the maps section to create your own custom topo maps thanks to CalTopo. Zoom in to the area, calculate distances, elevation loss/gain, and so much more. Need a simple topo map of the area with trail mileage? CalTopo can do that too. All for FREE! Another cool feature is to export the map as a JPEG or Geo-referenced PDF. Yes, you can print out beautiful hard copies too. Check it out!

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Video Time!

An over night family trip to Jennie Lake and back. Enjoy a families journey.

A Memorial Day weekend trip perhaps to the Jennie Lake? See this 20 second teaser video.

Want to see your video here? Just send us a link from your YouTube upload and, as long as it is family friendly, it will be shared with others. If you want a further definition, family friendly means no nudity, adult content, and foul language gestures. Think a “G” rating.

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Road to Big Meadows is Open!

news_announcement

Great news. I just called into the Hume Lake Ranger District office and can happily report the road to Big Meadows is now open! Just in time for Memorial Day weekend too! Enjoy the main access point to the Jennie Lakes Wilderness. I am sure most of you don’t need to worry, but it needs to be said; Remember to pick up your trash and leave no trace.

In the past, holiday weekends around Weaver and Jennie Lakes end with trash all around the lake. PLEASE pick up and tell others to pick up there trash. It cost tax payers money to clean up trash when it could be used for trail maintenance. Have a great holiday weekend and a fun time exploring the wilderness.

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National Trail Day – June 2

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Image from American Hiking Society

Mark your calendar for June 2 as it is National Trail Day! There are various way you can participate this year from simply just going on a hike to maintaining trails to special trail events and more. You can also donate financially to the cause and get some swag in return. To learn more, you can check out American Hiking Society website.

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Is The Road Open?

As the temperatures in the valley warm up, the idea of being outdoors also increases. We are ready to get outside and on the trail. Well not so fast. First the roads need to be open to get to many of the trail heads. Right now the main road, Big Meadows, is still closed.

Speaking with the front desk at the nearby Forest Service station, the road is closed. There is no estimated date of when the road will be open at this time. Looking back historically and on an “average” year regarding snow pack, Memorial Day weekend is when the road has opened.

Why does it take so long to open a road? The conditions of the road need to be safe enough for the public. There could still be ice/snow in places, rocks scattered about, down trees blocking the road, and maybe some road maintenance issues from the winter. Crews are needed and sometimes heavy machinery to make it safe. Allowing people in too early could create safety issues and even damage to natural resources. Some users would just turn back around while others may decide to “create their own way” which is not good. This is why the roads stay closed not only for protection of the natural resources but for your safety.

Please be patient as the weeks go on. Once official word has been made public about the roads opening up, you can expect to see an announcement on this site. Stay tuned!

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Last Snow Survey of 2018

kings_may_2018

The last snow survey results are in for 2018! May is the final survey for the area and sites within or near the Jennie Lakes Wilderness. Unfortunately the results are bad. The Kings River Basin is at 36% of normal for this time of year. If you are wanting to find sheets of snow, you’ll need to get high in elevation.

Anything less than 8,000 feet to be exact had no snow on the course. This does not mean people passing by won’t see a patch or two of snow at lower elevations. It is just not enough snow to record on the actual snow courses. If you did not know, these snow survey courses have been surveyed in the same spots for decades.

Going into the summer backpacking season, make sure to note your water sources. If you head out into the wilderness, please consider sharing a trip report or sending in info on where creeks were flowing. This will help others going out to plan accordingly. It is greatly appreciated.

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Free: Backpacker Magazines

Some may already know this, but here it is for those who do not. If you are interested in reading through older Backpacker Magazines, then you are in luck. Google has archived dozens, if not hundreds, of the publisher’s magazines. Best part? They are free for you to enjoy. Great way to “go back” to a time period to see the best gear for that season, how trails were being shown, trips that are still viable today, and more. Enjoy!

Google Books’ Archive of Backpacker Magazines (2009 and older)

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The April Snow Pack Report

kings april 2018

The important April 1 snow survey results are in…well most of the stations have reported their findings to the State of California’s CDEC. What are the results? For the Kings River watershed, the snow pack sits at 64% of normal. A nice jump up from last months report, but not enough to hit at or close to our average snow pack conditions.

What will this mean for the summer backpacking season? Potentially one could see dryer conditions, lower flows in perennial creeks, lower lake levels, and a higher risk of wildfire danger. Users will need to plan their water stops accordingly and share information (hopefully share it with JLW!). If the wildfire danger is elevated to certain levels, as we have seen in the past, this could eliminate camp fires for wilderness users. Stove use has been allowed even in fire restrictions. It is not certain when and if this will happen, but the past years of drought show a continual use of fire restrictions applied to the National Forests and Parks up and down the Sierra Nevada mountains.

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Snow Results: Is That All?

kings_river_march_2018

The snow results are in for the March 1 survey. Currently the Kings River Basin only has about 16% of the normal amount of snow for March. If the mountains do not receive anymore snow for the rest of the year, it will be at 14% for the year. This is looking to be another bad water year for the Sierra Nevada mountains as well as the valley below. However, do you noticed something in the image above?

What is not accounted for in the snow surveys is the recent storm. The snow survey dates are back in the early to mid 20’s of February. The most recent storm could potentially drop about 4 feet of snow for elevations over 7,000 feet! The results would not be included in the data above as the storm went from March 1 to March 3. We will have to wait to see what the results will be in the April 1 survey.

Do you have any photos from the past weekend? Want to share for others to see? Feel free to post and share!

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What to Do?

marvin-hiking

Marvin and Family by Tom Armstrong

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?

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