I did the reverse of moovyoaz's loop with my girlfriend the weekend of April 2-3, 2011. We camped at the trail head, which was easy to find and offered about 5 sites with fire pits, picnic tables, etc. There was a Honda civic there, if that gives any road quality indication. I'm sure he had a bumpy drive, but it seemed the car was still in one piece.
Anyway, Civic guy (Jay?) came out of the woods around 11 pm totally dehydrated after setting up camp at the peak and deciding to come back due to lack of water. He had taken the Nelson Trail to Willow Springs trail to the peak, set up camp, and come back.
The next morning we decided to reverse moovyoaz's loop, hoping that we would find water at the springs noted on the western slopes of the map, and especially near the camp site. If we didn't find any, we could easily return to the trail head that same day.
So, the report: there was running water all along Sycamore Creek, downstream of Black Alder Spring, noted on the map. Some parts were better than others but I'd say it was at least 20 gpm. On the Western slopes, Beehouse Canyon and Beehouse Spring were bone dry. I can't report on West Prong Sycamore Creek's lower reaches, since we took the shortcut trail. There were pools at Bishop Spring, in Bishop Creek, and at the campsite (also Bishop Creek). None of them appeared to be moving. They had bugs but were clear (no green). Bishop Spring had a cow pie at the water's edge. We used the water from Bishop Creek, in conjunction with a steripen treatment and boiling, and did just fine with that combination. Along the rest of the trail, we didn't really see any water. There were a couple very green and nasty looking pools higher up Sycamore Creek on the Eastern slopes, but nothing very drinkable.
The reverse route was a good way to go. I think we would have been mighty thirsty by the time we hit camp, had we gone clockwise. It was nice to bang out half of the elevation before refilling water.
||Wildflowers Observation Isolated
|The spring itself, where it's noted on the map, was pretty dry. Bishop creek, at the trail crossing, had pools of water. One had a cow pie in it. All had mosquitoes. Bishop creek at the camp site was the same, minus the cow pie. Decent pools of water. We used Steripen as a pre-treatment, and boiled the rest before drinking. No ill effects.|
||Black Alder Spring
||Gallon per minute
|Pools of water, flowing underground. Some above water pools were green, others seemed fresh.|
||Nelson Place Spring
||Gallon + per minute
|My estimate at 20 gpm. Running nicely in the lower reaches, with small waterfalls, etc. Photos to come.|