[pct-l] Whisky Creek - getting ALL the data in advance

David Hough reading PCT-L pctl at oakapple.net
Wed Aug 22 19:29:37 CDT 2018

I recently cleaned up a TRT section I'd missed and redid part of the PCT
after many years.     Both TRT and PCT were pretty much immaculate, as
one might expect in late August.     The Granite Chief Trail back to
Squaw, not so much.    I'll be glad never to go down that trail again.

The route was Tahoe City to Ward Creek (camp) to Twin Peaks on the TRT,
then Twin Peaks to Whisky Creek (camp) on the PCT, then continuing
to the Granite Chief Trail.    It was a luxury to be able to call a 
cab, Anytime Taxi, to get from Squaw to Tahoe City to start.    In contrast,
I was never been able to get the taxi in Mammoth to respond when I tried
a few years ago.

The campsites at the Ward Creek bridge was OK, a minor exertion to get down
to the water from the south side of the bridge.   Leaving, I noticed 
another campsite a little further south that was better situated and might have
had easier water access.

Whisky Creek was an interesting exercise.    I had the clues but failed to
connect the dots.   I thought perhaps I would have been better clued in if
I had read Yogi or the PCT Water Report, but when I got home I found neither
mentioned it.

Halfmile says:

 1137.5 Trailside creek WA 1137
 1137.6 Campsite CS 1138
 1137.9 Campsite CS 1138B

He does not say WACS anywhere.

Schaffer says:

 you soon start a 1/2 mile traverse across steep, brushy slopes, which
 ends just before your trail reaches the floor of a hanging valley.
 Here you can walk a few paces over to Whiskey Creek and get water before
 the creek plunges over the valley's brink.   Anywhere over the next 1/3
 mile you can leave the PCT and make a camp near this creek, which usually
 flows through midsummer.

Schaffer's text and map correct the topo's spelling Whisky which Halfmile
leaves unaltered.

I hadn't read Schaffer in advance - I usually read it after dinner and
breakfast for background - if I had, I might not have planned on Whisky
Creek or Whiskey Creek in late August, which is past midsummer as far as
I am concerned.     All the rustling dry Mule's Ears sounded more like
early fall.

The upshot is:

At around 1137.7, the trail actually comes close to Whisky Creek, but
not at a campsite.    There is no brush impeding you, but there is a 5'
vertical dirt cliff between you and the water.

There are three other places where I noticed smashed-grass routes to the
water, at each of the places mentioned by Halfmile.    The one at 1137.5
led, in more than a few paces, to two choices, one down a 5' smooth rock
and the other through comparable dense brush.    The one at 1137.6 led
to a dry channel - here Whisky Creek was underground perhaps.
The one at 1137.9 led to a lesser descent through more pliable brush,
to water flowing OK but looking to be tending toward funky.    I treated it
with no ill effect yet.

No particular moral here - through hikers would have dealt with much worse
by the time they got here, and it was just an annoyance to elderly section
hikers.     But southbound through hikers should not rely on Whisky/Whiskey
Creek.   Fortunately Five Lakes Creek is not much further and might last
longer.    In the other direction, Squaw Creek and Middle Fork American River
were still running, but like Five Lakes Creek and unlike Whisky, they arise
beneath the ski areas and definitely warrant treatment.

On that note, I recently switched from using an MSR pump and elemental
iodine solution to a USB-rechargeable Steri Pen with their Fitsall prefilter.
The prefilter is for keeping visible floaties out.   I found I needed 
a cup to fill it from shallow water.    It claims to fit all common
containers one way or another, but I found that the funnel was a bit too
wide to fit into the mouth of a Sawyer Squeeze bag.    On the first 
couple of trips, I found that, as advertised, it snapped onto the top
of a Gatorade bottle, very handy with flowing or deeper streams and avoiding
the need for a dipping cup.    But on this third outing, it no longer
snapped onto a Gatorade bottle.    I don't know if running it through
the dishwasher caused the filter to shrink, or Gatorade subtly changed the
size of its opening.     It's what we'd call an undocumented, unsupported
interface in my line of work.


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