Water conditions 13 July 2018

This report is a compilation of several hikes in the last three days. Today we hiked from Devil’s Slide Trail to San Jacinto Peak via Wellman’s Cienega, repeating the same route we hiked on 11th. Yesterday (12th July) I hiked to my fire lookout shift at Tahquitz Peak checking all the meadows to the east of Saddle Junction, descending via South Ridge Trail. On 9th July, Anne and I hiked up Marion Mountain Trail to San Jacinto Peak via the PCT and Deer Springs Trail, repeating the route I hiked with Deb Nelson on 6th July. Also included are observations from Anne’s run on the Maxwell Trail yesterday, and from Florian Boyd’s hike to Round Valley today.

Weather At San Jacinto Peak at 0810 this morning the air temperature was 52°F (11°C), with a high 80% relative humidity and a very light SSE breeze. On Wednesday 11th July, temperature at the Peak at 0745 was 51°F (10.6°C), with a pleasantly cool windchill temperature of 43°F (6°C), very high relative humidity of 87%, and a stiff ENE wind gusting to 13mph.

We finally got some rain! Combined rainfall at 5550′ elevation in Idyllwild for Tuesday-Thursday was 0.44″. It rained all over the mountain, including parts of all three days at both San Jacinto and Tahquitz peaks. As is typical with thunderstorms, rainfall was highly variable depending on location. For example, on Wednesday evening (11th July), our home in Idyllwild received 0.25″, parts of the nearby Maxwell Trail remained completely dry, while Palm Springs got 1.0″ from the same storm.

Hikers should always be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions in the high country in summer. Thunderstorms with lightning can occur at or near the high peaks even when such storms are not forecast for lower elevations.

Trail overview Flow rates at all water sources increased significantly in the last couple of days following the rains, but this improvement is temporary, and overall flow rates remain far below seasonal norms. There is no snow anywhere on the mountain (all trails have been completely clear since early May).

Bear sightings No new ones to report, see previous post for recent observations.

EASTERN SLOPE WATER FEATURES

The Round Valley faucet flow rate tripled in the last couple of days, to 0.35 gallons per minute today. [UPDATE 17 July: flow rate has already fallen to 0.2 gallons per minute.] Flow rate on 6th July was 0.10 gallons per minute (down from 0.28 gallons per minute on 15th June). [Many thanks to Florian Boyd for these data from Round Valley.]

Both the northern and southern springs at Wellman’s Cienega are flowing well. At the northern Cienega, flow rate today was roughly double that of last week. These springs are the sources for Willow Creek, which continues to flow fairly well where it crosses the Willow Creek Trail.

Wellman’s Cienega North spring, 13 July 2018
Wellman’s Cienega South spring, 13 July 2018

Tahquitz Valley is completely dry.

Tahquitz Creek continues to flow well at the northern (lower) end of Little Tahquitz Meadow.

Tahquitz Creek at the north end of Little Tahquitz Meadow, 12 July 2018

Despite some rain, it is only flowing weakly further upstream at its source (known locally as Grethe Spring) where it crosses the PCT at the northern end of the fire closure (approx. PCT Mile 177). Just after crossing the PCT, the creek dries up and disappears subsurface.

Tahquitz Creek crossing the PCT immediately below Grethe Spring (visible in the background), 12 July 2018

Skunk Cabbage Creek where it flows through Skunk Cabbage Meadow has now dried up, at least where the trail crosses the meadow. There are a few wet patches, but nothing that can be filtered.

Skunk Cabbage Creek at the trail crossing in Skunk Cabbage Meadow, 12 July 2018

WESTERN SLOPE WATER FEATURES

The North Fork of the San Jacinto River continues to flow reliably both where it crosses the Deer Springs Trail above Fuller Ridge, and where it crosses the Fuller Ridge Trail on the PCT (approx. PCT Mile 186.2).

North Fork of the San Jacinto River at Deer Springs Trail, 8th July 2018

O’Sullivan Creek (PCT Mile 186.4) on Fuller Ridge Trail is completely dry.

The spring in the creek in Little Round Valley has been completely dry since early June.

Shooting Star Spring – 0.28 trail miles below Little Round Valley – is currently flowing weakly but reliably. For hikers it is possible to filter water from the source at the base of the obvious huge rock. Otherwise the spring is largely just muddy across a short section of trail.

The minor creek crossing on Deer Springs Trail midway between the North Fork of the San Jacinto River crossing and Shooting Star Spring (sometimes known as Rock Spring) is close to drying completely, and is now dry across and below the trail.

The Deer Springs stream crossing at the PCT (approx. PCT mile 185.6) is dry, and the pools just upstream (and downstream) of the trail are also dry. The Deer Springs camp just downslope has been occupied by a crew from the California Conservation Corps (CCC) since late May.

Switchback Spring – the small spring just below the eight switchbacks on Deer Springs Trail about 0.4 miles north of Strawberry Junction – continues to flow well. There is a tiny pool on the upslope side of the trail where water can be filtered.

The little spring in the rock crack at Strawberry Cienega (PCT mile 183.0) continues to flow quite well. For filtering, there is a tiny pool among the rocks, and a carefully placed tent stake makes a clean accessible trickle out of the mud.

On Devil’s Slide Trail, Middle Spring is now just a trickle in the morning (just about enough for a dog to get a little water), but by afternoon it is often dry. Even after the recent rain, insufficient flow for a hiker to get any water at all.

On the Ernie Maxwell Trail, Chinquapin Creek just below Humber Park has now been diverted again by Fern Valley Water District to their tanks, drying the creek where it crosses the trail. However, even when the creek flow is diverted, good pools remain just upstream from the trail. This is an important water source for the many dogs walked on this trail.

Water conditions 9 July 2018

Yesterday Anne and I hiked up Marion Mountain Trail to San Jacinto Peak via the PCT and Deer Springs Trail, repeating the route I hiked with Deb Nelson on 6th July. Also included are observations from a run on the Maxwell Trail on 7th July, a hike up the east side trails to San Jacinto Peak on Sunday 1st July, and to Tahquitz Peak on 4th July.

Weather At San Jacinto Peak at 0845 yesterday morning the air temperature was a mild 61°F (16°C), with a high 53% relative humidity and a very light south-east breeze, under clear skies. By late morning, there was heavy cloud cover and the occasional rumble of thunder from the high country. No recorded rain in Idyllwild yet in July.

The chance of thunderstorms is forecast for the next few days at least. Any precipitation would be very welcome, but hikers should be aware of rapidly changing weather conditions in the high country, and the probability of lightning at/near the high peaks.

Trail overview Following a couple of questions I have had in recent days, I should reiterate that there is no snow anywhere on the mountain (all trails have been completely clear since early May). Flow rates at all water sources continue to drop every week, and are far below seasonal norms.

Bear sightings I spoke to local homeowners on 4th July who saw two bears together in their upper Fern Valley yard at night in late June. One of these was videoed by an automatic camera at another residence in upper Fern Valley just before midnight on Sunday 24th June. This individual appears to be one of the bears seen all over the mountain in 2017, different from the one we videoed on our property in Idyllwild on 15th May this year, linked to in the San Jacinto Trail Report for 31 May.

EASTERN SLOPE WATER FEATURES

The Round Valley faucet is now flowing very weakly. Flow rate on 6th July was 0.10 gallons per minute (down from 0.28 gallons per minute on 15th June). [Many thanks to Florian Boyd for this update from Round Valley.]

Both the northern and southern springs at Wellman’s Cienega are flowing. Flow rates continue to decline rapidly, and the northern spring continues to be weaker every time I pass by. Without fresh precipitation soon, this spring will be dry by August, which would be unprecedented in the known human history of Wellman’s Cienega. (The northern cienega dried for the first time in recorded history in 2015, and then again in 2016, but not until September-October.)

These springs are the sources for Willow Creek, which is still flowing fairly well where it crosses the Willow Creek Trail.

Tahquitz Valley is completely dry.

Tahquitz Creek continues to flow fairly well at the northern (lower) end of Little Tahquitz Meadow. It is now flowing weakly further upstream at its source (known locally as Grethe Spring) where it crosses the PCT at the northern end of the fire closure (approx. PCT Mile 177). Just after crossing the PCT, the creek dries up and disappears subsurface.

Tahquitz Creek crossing the PCT immediately below Grethe Spring, 29 June 2018

Skunk Cabbage Creek where it flows through Skunk Cabbage Meadow is currently flowing weakly. The water level has not changed markedly in the last couple of weeks.

Skunk Cabbage Creek in Skunk Cabbage Meadow, 29 June 2018

WESTERN SLOPE WATER FEATURES

The North Fork of the San Jacinto River continues to flow gently but reliably both where it crosses the Deer Springs Trail above Fuller Ridge, and where it crosses the Fuller Ridge Trail on the PCT (approx. PCT Mile 186.2).

North Fork of the San Jacinto River at Deer Springs Trail, 8th July 2018

O’Sullivan Creek (PCT Mile 186.4) on Fuller Ridge Trail is completely dry.

The spring in the creek in Little Round Valley has been completely dry since early June.

Shooting Star Spring – 0.28 trail miles below Little Round Valley – is currently flowing weakly but reliably. For hikers it is possible to filter water from the source at the base of the obvious huge rock. Otherwise the spring is largely just muddy across a short section of trail.

The minor creek crossing on Deer Springs Trail midway between the North Fork of the San Jacinto River crossing and Shooting Star Spring (sometimes known as Rock Spring) may be close to drying completely, and is now dry across and below the trail.

Rock Spring just above Deer Springs Trail, 8th July 2018

The Deer Springs stream crossing at the PCT (approx. PCT mile 185.6) is dry, and the pools just upstream (and downstream) of the trail are also dry. The Deer Springs camp just downslope has been occupied by a crew from the California Conservation Corps (CCC) since late May.

Switchback Spring – the small spring just below the eight switchbacks on Deer Springs Trail about 0.4 miles north of Strawberry Junction – continues to flow well. There is a tiny pool on the upslope side of the trail where water can be filtered.

Switchback Spring crossing Deer Springs Trail, 29 June 2018

The little spring in the rock crack at Strawberry Cienega (PCT mile 183.0) continues to flow quite well. For filtering, there is a tiny pool among the rocks, and a carefully placed tent stake makes a clean accessible trickle out of the mud.

The spring at Strawberry Cienega, 29 June 2018

On Devil’s Slide Trail, Middle Spring is now just a useless trickle in the early morning (barely even enough for a small dog to get a little water), but by afternoon it is dry. This is now the typical daily pattern. Insufficient flow for a hiker to get any water at all.

On the Ernie Maxwell Trail, the crossing of Chinquapin Creek just below Humber Park is now flowing again across the trail. Fern Valley Water District had briefly – between about 1st and 6th July – diverted water to their tanks, drying the creek where it crosses the trail. Usually the FVWD diversion is in place for several weeks or months every summer, and it is likely it will happen again soon. However, even when the creek flow is diverted, good pools remain just upstream from the trail. This is a very important water source for the many dogs walked on this trail.

Water conditions 6 July 2018

Yesterday I surveyed several water sources during a botanical hike with my friend Deb Nelson up Marion Mountain Trail to San Jacinto Peak via the PCT and Deer Springs Trail. Also included are observations from a hike up the east side trails to San Jacinto Peak on Sunday 1st July, and in the Tahquitz Peak area on 4th July.

At San Jacinto Peak at 1130 yesterday morning the air temperature was a very warm 67°F (19.4°C), with only 16% relative humidity and virtually no breeze.

Overview Following a couple of questions I have had in recent days, I should reiterate that there is no snow anywhere on the mountain (all trails have been completely clear since early May). Flow rates at all water sources continue to drop every week.

The chance of thunderstorms is forecast almost daily for the next week or so. Any precipitation would be very welcome, but beware of rapidly changing weather conditions in the high country, and the possibility of lightning at/near the high peaks.

Bear sightings I spoke to local homeowners on 4th July who saw two bears together in their upper Fern Valley yard at night in late June. One of these was videoed by an automatic camera at another residence in upper Fern Valley just before midnight on Sunday 24th June. This individual appears to be one of the bears seen all over the mountain in 2017, different from the one we videoed on our property in Idyllwild on 15th May this year, linked to in the San Jacinto Trail Report for 31 May.

EASTERN SLOPE WATER FEATURES

The Round Valley faucet is now flowing very weakly. Flow rate today, 6th July, was 0.10 gallons per minute (down from 0.28 gallons per minute on 15th June). Many thanks to Florian Boyd for this update from Round Valley.

Both the northern and southern springs at Wellman’s Cienega are flowing. Flow rates continue to decline rapidly, and the northern spring continues to be weaker every time I pass by. Without fresh precipitation soon, this spring will be dry by August, which would be unprecedented in the known human history of Wellman’s Cienega. (The northern cienega dried for the first time in recorded history in 2015, and then again in 2016, but not until September-October.)

These springs are the sources for Willow Creek, which is still flowing fairly well where it crosses the Willow Creek Trail.

Tahquitz Valley is completely dry.

Tahquitz Creek continues to flow fairly well at the northern (lower) end of Little Tahquitz Meadow. It is now flowing rather weakly further upstream at its source (known locally as Grethe Spring) where it crosses the PCT at the northern end of the fire closure (approx. PCT Mile 177). Just after crossing the PCT, the creek dries up and disappears subsurface.

Tahquitz Creek crossing the PCT immediately below Grethe Spring, 29 June 2018

Skunk Cabbage Creek where it flows through Skunk Cabbage Meadow is currently flowing weakly. The water level has not changed markedly in the last couple of weeks.

Skunk Cabbage Creek in Skunk Cabbage Meadow, 29 June 2018

WESTERN SLOPE WATER FEATURES

The North Fork of the San Jacinto River continues to flow gently both where it crosses the Deer Springs Trail above Fuller Ridge, and where it crosses the Fuller Ridge Trail on the PCT (approx. PCT Mile 186.2).

North Fork of the San Jacinto River at Deer Springs Trail, 29 June 2018

O’Sullivan Creek (PCT Mile 186.4) on Fuller Ridge Trail is completely dry.

The spring in the creek in Little Round Valley has been completely dry since early June.

Shooting Star Spring – 0.28 trail miles below Little Round Valley – is currently flowing weakly but reliably.

The minor creek crossing on Deer Springs Trail midway between the North Fork of the San Jacinto River crossing and Shooting Star Spring (sometimes known as Rock Spring) may be close to drying completely, and is now dry across and below the trail.

Rock Spring just above Deer Springs Trail, 29 June 2018

The Deer Springs stream crossing at the PCT (approx. PCT mile 185.6) is dry, and the pools just upstream (and downstream) of the trail are also dry. The Deer Springs camp just downslope has been occupied by a crew from the California Conservation Corps (CCC) since late May.

Switchback Spring – the small spring just below the eight switchbacks on Deer Springs Trail about 0.4 miles north of Strawberry Junction – continues to flow well.

Switchback Spring crossing Deer Springs Trail, 29 June 2018

The little spring in the rock crack at Strawberry Cienega (PCT mile 183.0) continues to flow quite well.

The spring at Strawberry Cienega, 29 June 2018

On Devil’s Slide Trail, Middle Spring is nothing more than a pathetic trickle in the early morning (barely enough for a dog to get a little water), but by afternoon it is dry. This is now the typical daily pattern. Either way, insufficient flow for a hiker to get any water at all.

On the Ernie Maxwell Trail, the crossing of Chinquapin Creek just below Humber Park is now dry across and below the trail (this is an important water source especially for dogs being walked on this trail). On or about 2nd July, Fern Valley Water District started their annual diversion of this creek to their water tanks. However, there is good flowing water just a few yards upstream from the trail, with several small pools for filtering or for dogs to drink. [UPDATE 7 July: on our run up the Maxwell Trail early this morning we were very surprised to find the creek flowing again across the trail. Apparently FVWD have suspended their diversion, so for the time being water is again available right on the trail.]

Mountain Footwear supports the San Jacinto Trail Report

Many thanks indeed to Mountain Footwear in Idyllwild, who this week became the first business sponsor of the San Jacinto Trail Report. Special thanks to Tony Vernon (owner) and Phyllis Lancaster (manager) for making this arrangement happen. Suppliers of great hiking boots such as Keen and Merrell, among many other things, Mountain Footwear is located on the ground floor of “The Fort” in the center of Idyllwild. Their support for the concept of the Trail Report is greatly appreciated.

The latest trail report, from yesterday 29th June, is posted at this link.

Water conditions 29 June 2018

A minor milestone on my hike this morning was my 50th ascent of San Jacinto Peak so far this year. I surveyed many water sources today, starting from Devils Slide Trail and hiking the PCT northbound from Saddle Junction to Fuller Ridge, then up to San Jacinto Peak and down via Wellman Divide back to the Tahquitz area meadows, before doing my shift at Tahquitz Peak Fire Lookout. Also included are observations from a hike to San Jacinto Peak on Monday 25th June.

At San Jacinto Peak early this morning the air temperature was a cool 50°F (10°C), and with a stiff south-west wind the windchill temperature was 44°F (6.7°C).

Overview I say it every week, but yet again flow rates at all water sources are visibly lower than just a week ago. Those very familiar with the Deer Springs Trail/PCT will be interested to find a short new section has just opened immediately before the Deer Springs crossing, where the CCC crew has been working for several years to take the PCT upslope and away from the streamside vegetation.

Bear sightings One was videoed by an automatic camera at a residence in upper Fern Valley (Idyllwild) just before midnight on Sunday 24th June. This individual appears to be one of the bears seen all over the mountain in 2017, different from the one we videoed on our property in Idyllwild on 15th May, linked to in the San Jacinto Trail Report for 31 May.

EASTERN SLOPE WATER FEATURES

The Round Valley faucet is flowing weakly but steadily. Flow rate on 15th June was about 0.28 gallons per minute.

Both the northern and southern springs at Wellman’s Cienega are flowing. Flow rates continue to decline rapidly, and the northern spring was much weaker today even than last week. Without fresh precipitation soon, this spring will be dry by August, which would be unprecedented in the known human history of Wellman’s Cienega. (The northern cienega dried for the first time in recorded history in 2015, and then again in 2016, but not until September-October.)

These springs are the sources for Willow Creek, which is still flowing fairly well where it crosses the Willow Creek Trail.

Tahquitz Valley is completely dry.

Tahquitz Creek continues to flow fairly well at the northern (lower) end of Little Tahquitz Meadow. It is now flowing rather weakly further upstream at its source (known locally as Grethe Spring) where it crosses the PCT at the northern end of the fire closure (approx. PCT Mile 177). Just after crossing the PCT, the creek dries up and disappears subsurface.

Tahquitz Creek crossing the PCT immediately below Grethe Spring, 29 June 2018

Skunk Cabbage Creek where it flows through Skunk Cabbage Meadow is currently flowing weakly. The water level today appeared to be similar to last week.

Skunk Cabbage Creek in Skunk Cabbage Meadow, 29 June 2018

WESTERN SLOPE WATER FEATURES

The North Fork of the San Jacinto River continues to flow gently both where it crosses the Deer Springs Trail above Fuller Ridge, and where it crosses the Fuller Ridge Trail on the PCT (approx. PCT Mile 186.2).

North Fork of the San Jacinto River at Deer Springs Trail, 29 June 2018

O’Sullivan Creek (PCT Mile 186.4) on Fuller Ridge Trail is completely dry.

The spring in the creek in Little Round Valley has been completely dry since early June.

Shooting Star Spring – 0.28 trail miles below Little Round Valley – is currently flowing weakly but reliably.

The minor creek crossing on Deer Springs Trail midway between the North Fork of the San Jacinto River crossing and Shooting Star Spring (sometimes known as Rock Spring) is flowing very poorly, and is now dry across and below the trail.

Rock Spring just above Deer Springs Trail, 29 June 2018

The Deer Springs stream crossing at the PCT (approx. PCT mile 185.6) is dry, and the pools just upstream (and downstream) of the trail are also dry. The Deer Springs camp just downslope has been occupied by a crew from the California Conservation Corps (CCC) for about a month.

Switchback Spring – the small spring just below the eight switchbacks on Deer Springs Trail about 0.4 miles north of Strawberry Junction – continues to flow remarkably well.

Switchback Spring crossing Deer Springs Trail, 29 June 2018

The little spring in the rock crack at Strawberry Cienega (PCT mile 183.0) continues to flow surprisingly well.

The spring at Strawberry Cienega, 29 June 2018

On Devil’s Slide Trail, Middle Spring was a pathetic trickle very early this morning(barely enough for a dog to get a little water), but by late afternoon it was dry. This is now the typical daily pattern. Either way, not enough water for a hiker to get any water at all.

On the Ernie Maxwell Trail, the crossing of Chinquapin Creek just below Humber Park continues to flow well (an important water source especially for dogs being walked on this trail). [UPDATE 2nd July – Fern Valley Water District started it’s annual diversion of the creek to its water tanks, meaning the creek is now dry across the trail. However, there is good flowing water just a few yards upstream from the trail, with pools for filtering or for dogs to drink.]

Water conditions 20 June 2018

After two days of hiking around lava-strewn desert on a SAR mission in the Amboy area, I couldn’t wait to do a long cool forest hike back in the mountains. Today I surveyed many water sources, starting from Devils Slide Trail and hiking the PCT northbound from Saddle Junction to Fuller Ridge, then up to San Jacinto Peak and down via Wellman Divide back to Humber Park. Also included is information from a check of the Tahquitz area meadows on our botany hike on Saturday 16th. Many thanks to Florian Boyd for updating the status of the Round Valley faucet on 15th, and to Anne King for checking Chinquapin Creek on the Maxwell Trail while I was away.

At San Jacinto Peak at 0900 this morning the air temperature was a balmy 61°F (16°C), and with a light north breeze the windchill temperature was 59.5°F (15°C).

Overview Apologies for sounding like a broken record, but water resources everywhere are flowing poorly for the time of year, and yet again flow rates are visibly lower than just a week or two ago.

Bear sightings I had a reliable report of the small yearling Black Bear near the North Rim campsites on the Willow Creek Trail (i.e. only about 0.6 miles from Saddle Junction) on about 18th/19th June. This is likely the same individual we videoed at home in Idyllwild on 15th May that was linked to in the San Jacinto Trail Report for 31 May.

EASTERN SLOPE WATER FEATURES

The Round Valley faucet is currently flowing weakly but consistently, at a flow rate of about 0.28 gallons per minute. [Thanks to Florian Boyd for this update, from 15th June.]

Both the northern and southern springs at Wellman’s Cienega are flowing. Flow rates continue to decline rapidly, and the northern spring in particular is now much weaker than two weeks ago. At this rate, this spring may be dry by August, which would be unprecedented in the history of Wellman’s Cienega. (The northern cienega dried for the first time in recorded history in 2015, and then again in 2016, but not until September-October.)

These springs are the sources for Willow Creek, which is still flowing fairly well where it crosses the Willow Creek Trail.

Tahquitz Valley is completely dry.

Tahquitz Creek continues to flow fairly well at the northern (lower) end of Little Tahquitz Meadow. It is now flowing rather weakly further upstream at its source (known locally as Grethe Spring) where it crosses the PCT at the northern end of the fire closure (approx. PCT Mile 177). Just after crossing the PCT, the creek dries up and disappears subsurface.

Skunk Cabbage Creek where it flows through Skunk Cabbage Meadow is currently flowing weakly. The water level has dropped significantly compared to two weeks ago.

Skunk Cabbage Meadow, 16 June 2018

WESTERN SLOPE WATER FEATURES

The North Fork of the San Jacinto River is flowing relatively well both where it crosses the Deer Springs Trail above Fuller Ridge, and where it crosses the Fuller Ridge Trail on the PCT (approx. PCT Mile 186.2).

North Fork of the San Jacinto River on Deer Springs Trail, 20 June 2018

O’Sullivan Creek (PCT Mile 186.4) on Fuller Ridge Trail is completely dry.

The spring in the creek in Little Round Valley has been completely dry since early June.

Shooting Star Spring – 0.28 trail miles below Little Round Valley – is currently flowing weakly but reliably. Note that its namesake plants, Alpine Shooting Star Dodecatheon alpinum, are currently flowering spectacularly all around the spring.

The minor creek crossing on Deer Springs Trail midway between the North Fork of the San Jacinto River crossing and Shooting Star Spring (sometimes known as Rock Spring) is flowing very poorly, and is largely dry below the trail.

Rock Spring just above Deer Springs Trail, 20 June 2018

The Deer Springs stream crossing at the PCT (approx. PCT mile 185.6) is dry, and the pools just upstream (and downstream) of the trail are also dry. The Deer Springs camp just downslope is now occupied by a crew from the California Conservation Corps (CCC) for the season.

Switchback Spring – the small spring just below the eight switchbacks on Deer Springs Trail about 0.4 miles north of Strawberry Junction – continues to flow well.

Switchback Spring, 20 June 2018

The little spring in the rock crack at Strawberry Cienega (PCT mile 183.0) continues to flow surprisingly well.

Strawberry Cienega, 20 June 2018

On Devil’s Slide Trail, Middle Spring is a weak trickle in the mornings (barely enough for a dog to get a little water).

On the Ernie Maxwell Trail, the crossing of Chinquapin Creek just below Humber Park continued to flow well as of at least 19th June.

Water conditions 7 June 2018

This morning we hiked to San Jacinto Peak via Marion Mountain Trail, checking springs on the western side of the mountain. Yesterday following my fire lookout shift at Tahquitz Peak, I checked the Tahquitz area meadows, and on Tuesday 5th our hike to San Jacinto and Cienega peaks from Humber Park included a side trip to check the Round Valley faucet.

At San Jacinto Peak at 0750 this morning the air temperature was 48°F (9°C), and with a light south-west wind the windchill temperature was a pleasant 44°F (7°C).

Overview Water resources everywhere are flowing poorly for the time of year, and yet again flow rates were often visibly lower than just 10 days ago. Water conditions for the PCT south of Idyllwild (from Highway 74 to the Spitler area) were last updated on 21 May. No new reports on bear sightings at the time of writing.

EASTERN SLOPE WATER FEATURES

The Round Valley faucet is currently flowing weakly but consistently.

Faucet flowing at Round Valley trail junction, 5th June 2018

Both the northern and southern springs at Wellman’s Cienega are flowing fine, but flow rates continue to decline rapidly. These are the sources for Willow Creek, which is flowing fairly well where it crosses the Willow Creek Trail.

Tahquitz Valley is completely dry.

Tahquitz Creek continues to flow fairly well at the northern (lower) end of Little Tahquitz Meadow. It is now flowing rather weakly further upstream at its source (known locally as Grethe Spring) where it crosses the PCT at the northern end of the fire closure (approx. PCT Mile 177). Just after crossing the PCT, the creek dries up and disappears subsurface.

Tahquitz Creek at Grethe Spring, 6th June 2018

Skunk Cabbage Creek where it flows through Skunk Cabbage Meadow is currently flowing, but rather weakly for June.

Skunk Cabbage Meadow bridge, 6th June 2018

WESTERN SLOPE WATER FEATURES

The North Fork of the San Jacinto River is flowing relatively well both where it crosses the Deer Springs Trail above Fuller Ridge, and where it crosses the Fuller Ridge Trail on the PCT (approx. PCT Mile 186.2). [For northbound thru-hikers, the latter is the crucial refill point before a section of 22.5 miles with no water.]

O’Sullivan Creek (PCT Mile 186.4) on Fuller Ridge Trail is completely dry.

The spring in the creek in Little Round Valley is now completely dry.

Shooting Star Spring – 0.28 trail miles below Little Round Valley – is currently flowing weakly but reliably.

Alpine Shooting Star (Dodecatheon alpinum) at their namesake spring, 7th June 2018

The minor creek crossing on Deer Springs Trail midway between the North Fork of the San Jacinto River crossing and Shooting Star Spring is flowing very weakly, and is starting to dry up below the trail.

The Deer Springs stream crossing at the PCT (approx. PCT mile 185.6) is dry, and the pools just upstream (and downstream) of the trail are also dry. The Deer Springs camp just downslope is now occupied by a crew from the California Conservation Corps (CCC) for the season. [PCT thru hikers note: almost all PCT guides and apps confuse the Deer Springs crossing with the North Fork of the San Jacinto River. The latter is another 0.5 miles further north on the Fuller Ridge Trail, see above.]

The small spring at PCT Mile 183.5 (about 0.4 miles north of Strawberry Junction) continues to flow.

The little spring in the rock crack at Strawberry Cienega (PCT mile 183.0) continues to flow fairly well. [Thanks to Florian Boyd for this update from 1st June.]

On Devil’s Slide Trail, Middle Spring is barely a trickle (just about enough for a dog to get a little water).

On the Ernie Maxwell Trail, the crossing of Chinquapin Creek just below Humber Park continues to flow well.