Water source near Chinquapin Zone?

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Water source near Chinquapin Zone?

Postby Gooda » Tue May 17, 2016 2:25 am

I have permits to camp at site 4b in the Chinquapin Zone in the National Forest. From what I can tell the camping area we were assigned to is real close to the junction of the Little Tahquitz Valley trail (3E41) and the Pacific Crest Trail. I've seen on Hiking Jim's water map (http://caltopo.com/m/6V2F) there is a source near this designated camping area named: Taqhitz Cr. (PCT) - II on the map. I kinda assumed the forest service located the designated camping areas relatively close to water sources but haven't been in that area of the forest before to do any reconnaissance. Also Hiking Jim designates the upper Tahquitz creek as not a terribly reliable source so I'm just checking to see if anyone has been in the area what my options are short of carrying a bunch of water up Devils slide. At least its looking cool this weekend so we wont need to carry as much water if we do. Also I've never camped up in that area any tip for good sites are they close to this water source?
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Re: Water source near Chinquapin Zone?

Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue May 17, 2016 8:41 am

Gooda wrote:I have permits to camp at site 4b in the Chinquapin Zone in the National Forest. From what I can tell the camping area we were assigned to is real close to the junction of the Little Tahquitz Valley trail (3E41) and the Pacific Crest Trail. I've seen on Hiking Jim's water map (http://caltopo.com/m/6V2F) there is a source near this designated camping area named: Taqhitz Cr. (PCT) - II on the map. I kinda assumed the forest service located the designated camping areas relatively close to water sources but haven't been in that area of the forest before to do any reconnaissance. Also Hiking Jim designates the upper Tahquitz creek as not a terribly reliable source so I'm just checking to see if anyone has been in the area what my options are short of carrying a bunch of water up Devils slide. At least its looking cool this weekend so we wont need to carry as much water if we do. Also I've never camped up in that area any tip for good sites are they close to this water source?

Don't assume that the Forest Service sited their designated camps near good water sources. Sometimes yes; sometimes no.

Tahquitz Creek would *probably* be pretty reliable this time of year, at least it has in the past. The last two times I've been there in May, there has been water. There's nothing over there that's super reliable, and a lot of things are off limits because of the Mountain Fire Closure.

What you might do is as you go up the Devils Slide Trail is to take note of what springs are flowing. I'm betting that at least one spring on the DST is flowing, probably Powderbox Spring, but check all three. Worst come to worst and you can't find any water up top, you could go part way back down the DST to get water. Not an attractive option by any means, but better than bailing on a trip.

There is another water source near the 4 way junction east of Saddle Junction. It's in the SE quadrant if you use the four trails emanating from the 4 way junction as the definers of said quadrant. However, with the drought, that source has been unreliable as of late.

You might, emphasis on might, be able to find snow on north facing slopes. Might be pretty dirty snow though. If you melt it with your stove and filter it through a bandana, it should be pretty drinkable. I'm just not sure how much there will be in the Little Tahquitz area. The summit plateau around Marion, Shirley, Jean, and San Jacinto Peaks has plenty, but that's 2,000+ feet higher.

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Re: Water source near Chinquapin Zone?

Postby pkirkham » Wed May 18, 2016 11:57 am

I've camped in that area a lot over the years. A group of us are camping 2 nights in that area next week,. I ran up there to do a quick recon a couple of weeks ago and was very dismayed to find the primo spring by the PCT BONE DRY!!?? Pack all the water in you think you'll need AND SOME MORE!!!
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Re: Water source near Chinquapin Zone?

Postby Hikin_Jim » Wed May 18, 2016 12:40 pm

pkirkham wrote: I ran up there to do a quick recon a couple of weeks ago and was very dismayed to find the primo spring by the PCT BONE DRY!!??
Which spring is that? Is it plotted on this map: http://caltopo.com/m/6V2F?

I know that map has some water sources missing.

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Re: Water source near Chinquapin Zone?

Postby pkirkham » Wed May 18, 2016 1:51 pm

It's the one you've labelled four-way spring....it used to be super-dependable but has been dry the last few years, even with this years substantial snowfall up there!?
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Re: Water source near Chinquapin Zone?

Postby Hikin_Jim » Wed May 18, 2016 2:42 pm

Yeah, Four Way Spring used to be super reliable, but the last couple of years? Dry as a bone.

pkirkham wrote:this years substantial snowfall up there!?
Well, maybe. Southern California has had a below average year. Northern California had a roughly average year. I don't know about the San Jacintos specifically though.

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Re: Water source near Chinquapin Zone?

Postby pkirkham » Thu May 19, 2016 8:35 am

HJ Most people don't believe me but I've been up on the mountain a lot this past winter and there was at least 3-4 feet of snow up there from the storm in January. Most has gone now but one would have thought there would be some seepage to regenerate the springs up there, which has not been the case from my observations, unfortunately!
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Re: Water source near Chinquapin Zone?

Postby pietro257 » Thu May 19, 2016 12:45 pm

I was in Tahquitz Meadow and Little Tahquitz Valley on May 13 and 14 (wrote a trip report about it). All creeks are dry. We were able to get water from a snow patch. There were still small patches of snow in the area.
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Re: Water source near Chinquapin Zone?

Postby pkirkham » Fri May 20, 2016 9:14 am

Ran up Devils slide to saddle junction yesterday pm.....a little seep up high on the trail and that's about it for natural water....take everything your gonna need with you and some!!!
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Re: Water source near Chinquapin Zone?

Postby pkirkham » Fri May 20, 2016 10:55 am

Also, here's a quote from someones trip report from last week FYI:

"We returned to Wellman Divide, got our packs, and proceeded downwards through Wellman Cienega to Saddle Junction and Tahquitz Meadow. A trickle of water was flowing from a spring in Wellman Cienega. We filled our water bottles. I have fond memories of Wellman Cienega, a lush enchanting sloping meadow in the middle of a hot zone, and it saddened me to see the place reduced to that state of dryness. The creek in Tahquitz Meadow was dead – dead in May. Unbelievable. Again we got water from a snow patch. Two weeks from now it will melt and there will be no water for campers at Tahquitz Meadow."
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