Woodchuck Country, 18-21 July 2005
by Bill Finch

Ridge SSW of Crown Lake, el.10,400

It looks like a few weeks of hot weather have taken care of most of the above normal snowpack. At least that's the case in Woodchuck Country east of Wishon Reservoir in the John Muir Wilderness. The day I picked up my wilderness permit, the Dinkey Creek Ranger told me to expect snow above 9000 feet. The picture above shows a 10,400 foot ridge SSW of Crown Lake. Snow is barely visible at the very top of the ridge

Penstemon at el 10,400 ridge west of Crown Lake

There may have been very little snow, but wildflowers were making a spectacular show. These Penstemon above were growing at 10,400 feet on the ridge west of Crown Lake.

Beans on backpack

Mosquitos and biting flies were making a spectacular show as well, so I finally broke out the DEET, something I haven't done in several years. My hiking companion, Beans, didn't complain about the bugs. She ate them.

Storm at Lacy Camp swamp, oops, meadow.

The last day of the trip, we enjoyed three separate thunder storms. Beans sat the first one out under our umbrella. The most spectacular was near Finger Rock where marble-sized hail pelted us. It was hard to believe how much trail erosion occurs during a hard storm. But the rain really cleared the air. All puddles were coated in yellow pollen.

Click here for a map (PDF) of the trip.