Dome Land Wilderness
June 25-27, 2005
|A view looking west over the Dome Land Wilderness
from the Rockhouse Basin Trail
|Paul and John Doe at the wilderness Boundary sign
|The Dome Land Wilderness is one of the southernmost wilderness areas in the Sierra
Nevada. It encompasses 94,686 acres and its elevations range from 3,000' to 9,730'
Most of the Wilderness is between the North and South Fork Kern Rivers, both of which
afford one of the highest land protection designations available... Both are "Wild and
Scenic Rivers" Click here for more info on Wild and Scenic Rivers
The Dome Land Wilderness derives its name from the unique granitic domes found
throughout the area. Vegetation ranges from chaparral and pinyon pine woodlands in the
lower elevations to Jeffrey pine, white and red fir, and lodgepole pine in the upper
elevations. The area in which we hiked was mostly in the upper elevations and we saw
some of the biggest Jeffrey pine, white fir, and lodgepole pines that I have ever seen!
And, as I found out, there are many, many, many! species of wildflowers that grow
throughout the Dome Land Wilderness. In fact, I think it would be easier to name the
Sierra Nevada Wildflowers that we didn't see! And we even saw a few that one does not
typically associate with the Sierra, including prickly pear in bloom up at about 7,500'!
Here are some of the wildflowers I found...
2 kinds of Violets
2 kinds of Lupine
Pride of the Mountains
At least 6 different kinds of DYC's
Prickly Pear Cactus
We saw lots of wildlife and wildlife signs - birds galore, trout in the creek, the biggest
jack rabbit that I'd ever seen (the "Giant Man-eating Rabbit of Manter Meadow"), deer
tracks, mountain lion scat, and mtmnslady saw a couple of rattle snakes.
The plan was to meet mtmnslady, her friend Paul, John Doe, Hikerchic, and Naviguesser
at the South Manter Trailhead at 10:00 am on Saturday. I got there about 10 minutes
before 10 and waited... and waited. Around 10:30 I started getting nervous that no one
would show! So I drove up to the North Manter Trailhead just to see if anyone was
there. I drove back to the south TH and then a little further south just to check. Then
I returned to the South Trailhead and shortly afterwards John Doe arrived. He said
that Hikerchic and Naviguesser should be right behind him. So we waited. A few minutes
later mtmnslady and Paul showed up. Then we waited longer. We ended up finally leaving
the TH at 11:42, we signed on the register the time that we left and we hoped that
Hikerchic and Naviguesser would catch up. John Doe said that Naviguesser had said he'd
been to the Manter Meadow area before, so I wasn't worried that they wouldn't be able
to find us...
Well, turns out that Naviguesser and Hikerchic got a little lost and finally got to the
trailhead around noon and started hiking. But we never ran into each other :( Manter
Meadow is a big meadow and there are lots of campsites around it and we both were
looking and shouting across it at times, but we never heard them and they never heard
us. So I was sorry I never got to meet Naviguesser and Hikerchic but it sounds like they
had a nice time anyway, as did we.
Well, I already wrote a pretty good trip report in my hiking journal, so here goes...
"Camping at Manter Meadow in the Dome Land Wilderness. Drinking Tang from my mug
and eating trail mix. Hiked here yesterday with mtmnslady, her friend Paul, and John
Doe. Met up with rayestrella who got a late start and we were hoping to meet up with
Hikerchic and Naviguesser who also got late starts, but we never found them... It's a big
meadow, over a mile long!
We've got a great campsite at the eastern edge of the Meadow next to Manter Creek
and we even have our own granite dome. But we're not the only ones here. I'm watching
3 chickarees chase and chatter at each other. There's also a huge alligator lizard getting
a suntan over on a rock near our kitchen. And there are lots of birds calling now and then
to break the sound of the wind in the pines.
This is a cool place. Spectacular rock formations, quiet little creeks, and emerald green
meadows. Tons of flowers blooming and we saw deer tracks and mountain lion scat. We
even heard a tree fall earlier this morning! That was very cool...
Hiked today to the edge of Rockhouse Basin - a steep hike at the end to get up there and
did I ever feel small once I made it to the divide - there's nothing to be seen out there -
just mountains, rocks, and sky. An absolutely enormous expanse of nothing - no people, no
roads, and no trails (except for one or two really overgrown ones!)
Yes, it's not a very well maintained trail to get out there, it probably gets very little
use. But that's okay, it made for a little more exciting hike as we had to bushwack and
route find. Had a little trouble crossing Manter Creek a few times, got one of my boots
wet. There are trout in this creek but I can't tell if they're rainbows or goldens.
It smells good out here - the vanilla smell of the Jeffrey pines, the wild onions blooming
in the sandy soil along the creek, and the fragrant smell of pine needles and pine cones
Some of the area out here burned in the Manter Fire of 2000. But even in the burned
area it's beautiful as the wildflowers have taken over! There are expanses of mustang
clover interspersed with lupine, ceanothus, scarlet gilia, and others.
Well, before I get stiff, I'm going to stop writing and stand up and stretch..."
|One of the first domes we see hiking down to Manter Meadow
|Some of the area burned in the Manter Fire 5 years ago - not all the
trees are dead and the flowers are lovin it!
|Penstemon, scarlet gilia, and ceanothus above
Carpets of mustang clover below
|Mtmnslady held up this rock just long enough for me to pass
|We had our very own dome at our campsite
|John Doe and Paul at the north end of Manter Meadow
|And the very lively Manter Creek was full of trout and just steps away...
|My tent underneath the Lodgepole pines and my gear tree
|Mtmnslady wins the Comfiest Camper award!
Kicking back in her sling chair
|Or maybe John Doe does, lol
|Now you're wondering, what the heck??
These two tiny pigs are the "dice" in a game called "Pass the Pigs"
which we had fun playing that night. Aren't they cute? I have this
feeling that the pigs are going to be photographed more in the
future on more backpacking trips ;)
|I liked the way the late afternoon light was lighting up patches of the
ground that were covered in pine needles and little perfect cones
|A very photogenic pine at the eastern edge of Manter Meadow
|Shooting stars grew throughout Manter Meadow
|John Doe and Paul ahead of me on the Trail
east to Rockhouse Basin
|A geranium, I believe... A very photogenic
|I'm not sure about this one yet...
|John Doe sitting in a sea of little yellow
|While Mtmnslady rested, John Doe, Paul, and I pushed
on to the divide above Rockhouse Basin
The trail was steep, rocky, unshaded, and hard to
follow... but just look at all those flowers!
|Near the top looking south to Church Dome
|Prickly Pear and other flowers in bloom at ~7,500'
|Rockhouse Peak north of us
|Manter Creek flowing through Manter Meadow
Taylor Dome is on the left
|Pride of the Mountains with Manter Creek in the background
|John Doe made us a great campfire and brought
marshmellows to roast (or burn, the only way I'll
eat them is if they're black!)
|Paul won for "Heaviest Backpack" - he said it was a lot
lighter for the hike out because he'd eaten all his food
|I stopped to take a picture of Big Meadow on our drive out
|There were lots of wildflowers along the Cherry Hill Road,
this is a prickly poppy I believe
|What a gorgeous area of the Sierra Nevada!