Water Conditions

Yellow Jacket Spring on the Pacific Crest Trail

By: Michael L.
May 29th, 2015

In 2014, we walked northbound along the Pacific Crest Trail until there was a sign that said ‘Yellow Jacket Spring’ and your only choice is left, which was down, down, down the trail. It’s this ragged trail (.7 miles) down and there is a clear path for about .5 miles and then it gets kind of lost. You just keep going down until you hit the valley floor. It gets difficult at this point and there is a rough path to the left and nothing really to the right. It’s obvious that your goal is left. However you keep searching but there is no true water. What you need to do is travel a bit left (south) and find the most damp ground. From there you can dig and seep water. We were able to spend our time and gather about four liters each (sucked) and be on our marry way. Remember though, .7 each way. The way back up I wanted to throw my life into the bushes.

Yellow Jacket Spring on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Yellow Jacket Spring on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Golden Oaks Spring repair

By: Jerry Stone
May 8th, 2015

May 28, 2015:

Check out our blog post about the repair: The glory of Golden Oaks Spring.

May 15, 2015: 

I think we have a reasonable flow for the hikers. The two sources of water (spring box and stream directly into the trough) come from different spots on the hillside so they are somewhat independent of each other.

On Friday, May 15, 2015 12:15 PM, John Shelton wrote:

Jerry, Pete –

Observations/measurements around 3PM on 5/14/15.

The trough had 4 ½” of clear water.  Flow from the slope into mid-trough was still good.  Hikers had built a causeway of large stones to get directly across to it without getting feet wet and left an open 1 gallon container beneath the drip for a minor reservoir for the next hiker – looked good.

Soil at the outside trough corners indicated leakage like what I saw last time – probably through the trough near the left corner; maybe around the trough at the right corner.  From last patching, looks like we were able to get about 2 more inches of trough water depth than before when it was about 2 ½”.  No apparent cause for the leakage, but they can be difficult to track down sometimes.  However, looked to me like enough depth for stock and the bear to be able to drink from easily.  Also, some hikers said that they filled directly from the trough, since it was clear and was faster.

No flow from the PVC into the trough at the right corner.  The syphon through the ¼” ID tubing had apparently outpaced the spring box replenishment and run dry; probably with about 4” of water in the spring box.

The water had returned to 19” deep at the spring box – it was ¼” lower than the outlet and likely stabilized at that level.

See table below for measured flows.  By inserting the smaller ¼” OD (0.156” ID) tubing into the ¼” ID tubing, the flow reduced from 19.6 GPM to 17.3 GPM with an estimated head of 27”.  Raising the tubing 6” at the PVC access coupling to reduce the head to 21” lowered the flow to 15 GPM.  Feeling that 15 GPM might also break the syphon, I removed a barb from a dead end of fencing and inserted it through the smaller tubing to further slow the flow.  Doing so outputted 11.7 GPM at the trough.  I left it at that.

Since head pressure is another major factor in flow, if the SB level does draw down (by output outpacing replenishment) the reduced head combined with the barb restriction in the tubing might just balance and produce a steady flow.

John

May 8, 2015: We made a return trip to the spring yesterday to complete needed repairs. John Shelton and myself hauled in equipment and supplies. We drained the concrete water trough and patched known cracks that leaked. It would only hold 4 inches of water before. We created a syphon for the spring box to drain to the trough. I’m not sure how successful this will be. John stayed over night last night and will adjust the flow today so that the level will stay the same in the spring box. Yesterday when we finished it was slowly going down. The existing flow that drains directly into the water trough continues from our last trip at a rate of about 1 Gal. every 15 minutes. What ever we end up with now is all we will get until Mother Nature gives us rain. We hiked a 2 mile section of the trail north of the spring to clear a know reported tree down on the trail and removed it.

April 30, 2015: I just returned Monday from Golden Oak Spring with my PCTA volunteer crew. The weekend went well as far as accomplishing what we planned. We brushed the whole hillside to see where we could grab any water flow. We dug 2 channels towards the spring box. I got in and cleaned out the box and brushed the sides to open any blocked wholes. We had some flow going into the box and thought if we drilled a few wholes we would get more. Bad idea!!! The water went in the box and as best I can figure went out the holes we drilled because the water never reached the height of the exit pipe. We also cleared a channel that drains directly into the watering trough. All these channels are lined and filled with rock. We replaced all the plumbing and modified the fence line to hopefully protect it from future damage.We tightened the complete fence line around the spring and repaired a corner H brace. The watering trough is cracked in one corner and leaks out as much as flows in. There is only about 4 inches of water in it.

We had extra time Sunday afternoon so we surveyed the trail in the burn area north of GOS. A total of about 3 miles. Found around 15 trees down on the trail. So Mon. morning set out and cleared these trees. I know there are more trees down north of the Green gate which is 6 miles north of GOS.

My plan is to return maybe next week and patch the trough and install a syphon which should create a small stream from 1/4 inch irrigation poly pipe out of the spring box through the plumbing to the trough. It should be a little clearer than the ground water seeping into the trough.

So in short it is a little bit better with potential for a little more. But it will still be taxed when the large volume of hikers go through in the next 3 to 4 weeks. Thanks to all my hard workers and Bill Carter’s fence expertise.

11-13 March 2015: Cottonwood Creek to Highway 58

By: Joe "Blue Feather" Waters
March 18th, 2015

On 11-13 March2015 I hiked from Cottonwood Creek to Highway 58. Trail in good condition. But a few places between Tylerhorse Canyon and Gamble Spring Canyon where one should be especially cautious with stock. Water: (1) Tylerhorse Canyon very small flow, (2) Tiger Tank dry, water shut off, (3) Oak Creek very small flow, with algae. I carried all my water (9 liters, consumed 8) for this stretch, and was glad I did.

Golden Oak Spring

By: Jerry Stone
August 12th, 2014

Unfortunately Golden Oak Spring is in very bad shape. The range cattle have destroyed the plumbing job we did to upgrade it 2 years ago. Do to the drought possibly, the water source has changed directions and there is no water in the spring box. The water just oozes out of the ground across the trail. There was about 3 inches of water in the concrete water trough from the surface flow above but I think it evaporates as fast as it goes in. When the water starts back in the spring box I’ll have to clean it out. Also will need new fencing to protect the plumbing and new plumbing.
The bad news is this is now not a source for water except in life and death situations. That means a 32 mile hike from Hwy 58 in Tehachapi to the next spring Robin Bird Spring.

– Jerry Stone (PCTA volunteer)

Washington Section K

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By: Eeyore
August 12th, 2014

A friend and I walked from Rainy Pass to Stevens Pass from August 2 through the 8th. The trail was generally easy to follow, and snow was not a problem with only a few patches in the high passes. The periodic brushy conditions between Stehekin and Red Pass were much more troublesome, sometimes being shoulder high on 6 foot men. There were also quite a few windfalls, up to 6 feet in diameter, with lots of water on, or crossing, the trail. All in all the wildflowers in full bloom and the amazing vistas made up for the trail conditions.