Reply To: Water, July 4th?

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#4223
Hikin Jim
Participant

Oh, that Hikin’ Jim guy.  What does he know?

However, that said, I do have some individual maps for some of the camps if they’re of any help:

Limber Pine:  https://caltopo.com/m/RM8R

High Meadow Springs:
https://caltopo.com/m/21AE

Halfway:
https://caltopo.com/m/EF89

Limber Pine is a cinch if you haven’t been before.  Continue on the trail as though you were climbing toward San Bernardino Peak.  At the “elbow” of the first switchback, there will be a little drainage just ahead of you.  The spring is in the drainage, maybe 10 to 15 feet, something like that, upstream of the closest point of the trail to the drainage.

Water at High Meadow Springs is pretty easy to find; it’s just that it’s low flow.  Always.  You have to just look around in the meadow below the camp area and find a spot in hummocks that’s collecting enough water that you can extract from.  There used to be a board or a log that water was flowing along that you could get water from easily, but I’m not sure that is there anymore.  As for the camp itself, be on the lookout for a trail sign.   I think the sign faces west, but it used to be that if coming from the east, you could miss it.  Just keep an eye on your map and start looking for the spur trail down to the camp when you get into the area.  The trail is steep but WAY more followable than it was 10 to 15 years ago.  There’s now even a sign at the camp area and I think there might be a newer, more visible sign at the start of the spur trail.  Do realize that you are spoiled rotten by the SGWA volunteer trail crews.  I don’t know of anywhere in Southern California where the trails, overall, are better maintained or marked.  Some of the trails (upper section of Momyer Creek, Big Tree, lower section of Fish Creek from the SART to Aspen Grove need a little TLC), but overall, the SGW is the best.

Halfway can be a bit of a trick, particularly in late season.  The spot where the trail crosses Vivian Creek, in the drainage a bit west of the junction with the spur trail down to Halfway Camp, is almost always dry unless it’s raining or there’s active snow melt.  You just have to bushwhack upstream and be persistent.  If I’ve gone far enough, I’ve always found water if I really made the effort.  Sometimes it is just a trickle though.

Alternatively, and this is an act of desperation as I’ll explain in a minute, you can head ESE out of the camp area toward High Creek.  High Creek is in a chasm, and you’d be crazy to go directly, but if you follow the little dotted line on my map, you can drop into high creek above the drop off.  Warning, there is heavy brush at the head of the drainage that Halfway Camp is in.  This is NOT an easy way to get water.  As I say, try it if you’re desperate.  Maybe you’ll find a way to avoid the brush, I couldn’t.  It was Buckthorn.  Not fun.  But doable if you persist.

Incidentally, for those who like a bit of adventure, you can go straight up High Creek from Halfway if you want an alternate route to High Creek Camp.  Note that I said “alternative” not “easier.”  It’s anything but easy with multiple falls and cataracts to climb.  A slip on one of these could be, um, “unpleasant,” if you get my drift.  All class three, so no equipment required, but proceed with caution.

HJ

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