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Andy's 2015 TYT Trip Report
Here's a trail report from Summit City Canyon to St. Mary's Pass. Short story is that we were occasionally a bit befuddled and had to backtrack, but in general the trail/route was not that difficult to follow.
FOURTH OF JULY JUNCTION TO CAMP IRENE: From the Fourth of July junction to the first stream crossing south of Horse Canyon junction, the trail is in great shape.
From the first stream crossing to the second crossing, trail was not too difficult to follow. The descent through the overgrown manzanita when you go around the back side of that knob about 3/4 mile beneath the first crossing was rough, but we saw a few ducks and followed our instinct and found the trail at the bottom. At the second stream crossing, no real trail across that small island, but we found the continuation of the trail on the opposite bank.
From the second stream crossing to Camp Irene, trail was difficult to follow across the initial slight ridge, then of course we saw no trail through the Enchanted Forest. But we stumbled upon the trail on the far side of the forest. From there, the trail wasn't too hard to follow until the last small clearing by the cliff about 100 yards before the Camp Irene beach - where it took us a while to find the trail again. Was able to cross the Mokelumne on some boulders about 40 yards upstream.
That sign post on the beach is confusing: we didn't see any apparent trail to Camp Cedar, and because I thought that waterbody was a pond, I didn't understand why the sign pointed to Lake Alpine directly across the pond -- although after a minute or two I realized the "pond" was the river, and it made sense.
FROM CAMP IRENE TO LAKE ALPINE: No trail for 50-100 yards down river. After we found the trail, was a little tricky to follow but not impossible -- a few more ducks wouldn't hurt. Once out of the forest, the trail was fine until Lake Valley, where there was a lot of erosion down those slopes with the volcanic soil, and the switchbacks were fairly crumbly. The mountain bike trail going down to Lake Alpine is a mess -- would be very easy to fall on the steep, loose gravel.
LAKE ALPINE TO WOODS GULCH: Trail good until about 3/4 mile before Rock Lake, when you enter the fire zone. That next 3/4 mile was difficult to follow because of all the blowdown and lack of trail maintenance and trail traffic for apparently several years. From Rock Lake to near Spicer Meadow Reservoir, still lots of blowdown, but no problem following the trail. Trail generally good after then.
ICEBERG MEADOW TO ST. MARY'S PASS: Trail was easy to follow past the Seven Pines Trail junction -- which was unmarked. Then it became a little more challenging, although again aside from a few moments of confusion before the ford and after the ford, we were able to find our way without much trouble. The trail seemed to end at the beginning of Clark Fork Meadow.
Can't comment on what I understand to be the standard route up and out of the meadow to the south, because we ended up going up one of the other tributaries to the northeast (the stream between the words "Fork" and "Meadow" on the National Geographic map). Once we got up on the bench, we were about 1 1/2 miles southsoutheast of Stanislaus Peak, so we just took the Stanislaus Peak trail over to the pass.
By the way, aside from some relatively steep climbing up crumbly volcanic gravel/soil, that route out of Clark Fork Meadow is not too bad, and there's a beautiful waterfall where the map shows the tributary forking.