Trail Report near Manter Meadow

User Everett headed out into the Domeland Wilderness this past weekend. Sounds like he and his party had a great time. They even found plenty of water for filtering! Here is the report:

We started on Saturday (9/15) at the southern trail head that leads to manter meadow (34E37) to manter creek trail (35E12) and set up camp near manter creek. The trails were easily followed and it appears someone has come and cut through trees that were across the trail. Manter Creek had plenty of water for filtering!

Also, 34E37 is a much easier climb out of manter meadow than it’s northern brother (34E14). That should be considered if you’re hiking the northern trails such as the Domeland Trail.

Thanks Everett!

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Sherman Pass Temporarily Closed

Now that the date is only 10 days away, here is an important news update regarding Sherman Pass. If you plan to do some fall backpacking in the Domeland Wilderness, please make adjustments as necessary due to the road closure in a section of the Sherman Pass Road.

The Kern River Ranger District plans to temporarily close a section of the Sherman Pass Road No. 22S05, this fall to through traffic. The planned closure is due to contracted road, culvert, and bridge work near Fish Creek Campground on the Kern Plateau.

The Sherman Pass Road stretches west from the Upper Kern River and east to Highway 395. The closure and bridge installation is planned for September 10 through December 15, 2018. The project site is just east of the Fish Creek campground.  Contractors will be removing an undersized pipe (culvert) and replacing it with a bridge requiring the closure of both lanes.

The following is a list of frequently asked questions:

Where will the Sherman Pass Road be closed and signed?

On the west side, a sign is posted at the intersection of Mountain Road 99 and Sherman Pass (below Johnsondale Bridge), reading “WARNING – Road Closed 36 miles ahead at Fish Creek Campground – September 10 – December 15, 2018.”

On the east side, a sign is posted near the South Fork Bridge/Forest Service boundary, reading “WARNING – Road Closed 9 miles ahead at Jackass Road No. 21S01, September 10 – December 15, 2018,”

The actual road closure is located just east of Fish Creek Campground to the intersection of the Sherman Pass Road and Jackass Road.

Will there be other closures in the area?

The entrance to Jackass Road No. 21S01 will be closed to all traffic during contractor work hours (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday).  The Jackass Road will be open to all traffic outside of contractor work hours.

Are deer hunting zones being affected?

All hunting zones will remain accessible. However, hunters may need to familiarize themselves with the road closure area before their trip.  Depending on the area, some destinations may require additional driving time.

Will there still be access to the Inyo National Forest?

The public will be able to access the Inyo National Forest. Monache and Powell Meadow will remain accessible through the west side of Sherman Pass Road and its junction with Mountain Road 99.

How will Smith Mountain area be accessed?

Access to the north area of Smith Mountain is through the west side of Sherman Pass Road (Kernville) using Smith Road No. 21S36 and Smith Meadow Road No. 20S39.  Access will be from the top down to Smith Meadow Road and exits will require using the same route.

Access to the south area of Smith Mountain is from the southeast using the Jackass Road No. 21S01 (with the contractor work hour’s closure described above) and the Smith Mountain Road No. 21S37.  Access will be from the bottom up to Smith Mountain Road and exits will require using the same routes.

How will we provide Medical or Fire Emergency Response? 

All emergency traffic will respond as normal.

Will Fish Creek Campground remain open to the public?

Fish Creek Campground will remain open to the public. The closure is located just east of Fish Creek Campground.  Access to Fish Creek Campground will be from the west side of Sherman Pass (Kernville).

To lessen the impacts, all forest visitors/users are encouraged to plan ahead and call the Kernville Ranger Station for assistance in getting to your destinations. This temporary closure may add several hours to your trip, depending on your chosen route.  Plan accordingly and have a safe trip.

For more information, please call the Kernville Ranger Station, open 7 days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., (760) 376-3781. Closed on weekends commencing Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018

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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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Trail Report: South Manter to Manter Meadow, Woodpecker, and Manter Trails

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Photo provided by Dan Hall

User Dan Hall reports in on trail conditions from his trip into the Domeland Wilderness. The trip was on May 18, 2018. Here is what he has to report. A link to his photos follows the report.

Trail 34E37 – South Manter Trailhead (at Big Meadow) to Junction with Woodpecker Trail

Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts. There are some brushy areas developing, but the trail is still easy to find and hike.
Regarding blowdowns across the trail, there are 4 in this section of trail, all in the Wilderness area and ranging in diameter from 8 to 18 inches. One is located on the downhill portion of the trail well before Manter Meadow and is pushing hikers and stock to cross through a small meadow to get around it; that routing is sure to cause environmental damage. The next one heading down toward the meadow is a problem for stock getting through and will be time consuming to saw out. See the photos for both of these blowdowns. Regarding the other two, hikers and stock can get around them without problems or environmental damage.

Trail 34E08 – Woodpecker Trail to Manter Creek & Trail
Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts, nor are there any brush problems or blowdowns across the trail.

Trail 34E12 – Manter Trail east to Little Manter Meadow
Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts, nor are there any brush problems or blowdowns across the trail.

Photos link -> HERE

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Wildfire: Wood Fire Contained

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Photo from InciWeb

The Wood Fire started near the end of May and is now 100% contained at 96 acres as of June 16. Here is the exact report from InciWeb.

Thursday, June 14, 2018: Woof Fire is 100% contained.

Photo (above) depicts the hazardous fuels (needle cast) “cleared” from the forest floor, after the Wood Fire passed through.

Fire “containment” is achieved by a complete line built around the fire perimeter, which can be a combination of roads, handline built by firefighters, dozer lines, etc. As line is built/completed on the fire, progress is reported in a percentage (%) figure. Thus, 100% containment equals the fire spread has been stopped and a line has been built completely around it.

Next, fire personnel work for “control”. Control comes after (sometimes weeks) containment. It is during this time smokes may show from the interior of the contained fire.

C.Thill

The wildfire is located near Woodpecker Meadow, south of the Sherman Pass Road. No closures are announced on the website. However, it is recommended to avoid the area until conditions get better. Plan accordingly.

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Wildfire: Wood Fire

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Photo from public webcams on Bald Mountain Lookout

Wood Fire May 31, 2018 Update

(The lighting caused Wood Fire was discovered May 22, at approximately 11:10 a.m. The fire is located in the Domeland Wilderness near Woodpecker Meadow, west of Bald Mountain and south of the Sherman Pass Road. The fire is burning in needle cast and some scattered timber story. Approximately 50 Forest Service firefighters are on the scene.)

Thursday, May 31 was a successful day patrolling and securing the edge of the fire, the fire is holding at 96.5 acres. Firefighters located a spot fire a 1/8th of a mile south of the main fires edge that was 1.5 acres. Hotshot crews were able to get it lined and secured and mopped up.

Fire behavior was active in unburned pockets of fuels, and single tree torching could be seen in the interior, dead and down fuels on the fire are consuming 80-100 percent and as the days go by there will be less and less smoke impact.

Due to its remote location in the Domeland Wilderness, fire crews are working to “confine and contain” the fire. The confine and contain strategy gives crews the opportunity to monitor the fire from a safe distance while allowing the fire to burn naturally within a designated area.

To reduce the impacts associated with fire suppression activities in wilderness areas, fire managers are using MIST (Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics) as much as possible. The steep, rugged terrain of the Domeland Wilderness is inherently treacherous to firefighters.

Closures are only on the Woodpecker Trail at that time for public safety. More information can be obtained on the InciWeb site.

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Sherman Pass Road is Open!

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Photo courtesy of panamintvalley.com

Ready to get into the Domelands while the weather isn’t so hot? You can do so on the west and northern access points. The Sherman Pass Road is now open!

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National Trail Day – June 2

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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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Last Survey of 2018

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The last snow survey results are in for 2018! May is the final survey for the area. Unfortunately the results are bad. The Kern River Basin is at 13% 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 10,000 feet to be exact had no snow on the course. About half the snow survey sites reported zeros or “no snow” for the month. 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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