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5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

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5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby canyonexplorer76 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:17 pm

Hello to all members of the forum!!!

I've been lurking here for a while and all the information and experiences that I've read about have been a huge help.

EDIT: Some additional info that may be helpful........

-Trip would be in Yosemite National Park in late August or early to mid September 2014.
-I'd classify us as Level 2 Hikers
-Our interests for this trip would be lakes, forests, and mountains.
-Trip length would be 5 nights (not including the first night at the trailhead).
-After some initial advice it looks like we should now start in Tuolumne Meadows and end in the Valley and utilize the bus system to get back to our vehicle at Tuolumne Meadows.
-We'd like to include Half Dome and Cloud's Rest in the hike.

(Below is the previous information I provided).......

A cousin of mine and myself are in the process of planning a 6 night backpacking trip through Yosemite National Park either in late August or September. We'd like to do a loop starting and ending at the Tuolumne Meadows area. We'd spend the first night camping at Tuolumne Meadows to help in acclimating us to the elevation so after that we'd have 5 nights to backpack and explore. Some of the things we'd like to do are: Half Dome Hike, camping on or near Cloud's Rest, camping along the Merced River, and exploring some of the lakes. I'd like to see if anyone can suggest some possible itineraries for the trip including beginning and ending trailheads, where to camp, and other tips for things to see along the way. This will all hinge on getting the appropriate permits so if there are any tips on obtaining permits that would be appreciated as well.

About us: Mid to late 30's, both in fairly good shape. Experienced hikers with some backpacking experience. Have hiked all over New England as well as several hikes in Arizona and Utah. In April we're hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon for 3 nights.

Any questions please let me know. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!!!
Last edited by canyonexplorer76 on Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby rlown » Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:51 pm

have you worked on a proposed route yet? would be nice to see what you've planned so far.

EDIT: It sounds like your trip should be one way down river to encompass all the things you want to do in the timeframe. You don't have to enter and exit out of TM. you could go in at TM and then head down towards your mentioned targets. just an idea. YARTS can get you back up to your car.

Welcome to the HST!
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby canyonexplorer76 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:22 pm

Hello and thanks,

So here's what I have so far. Its just a general idea but should give an idea of what we'd like to do.

Trip will start and end from Tuolumne Meadows. We're open to suggestions on starting trailheads but are mainly looking at Sunrise Lakes, Cathedral Lakes, Rafferty Creek, and Lyell Canyon as options for trailheads to start/end the trip. We don't have a preference over which trail to start at or which to end at. We want to hike up to and camp on Cloud's Rest. After that we'd continue on to camp somewhere near Half Dome which we'd hike the next day. We'd like to camp by some of the lakes, or the river, possibly the Cathedral Lakes or Bearnice Lake as well along the way. Maybe follow the River back towards Tuolomne Meadows camping at Vogelsang Lake and exploring Lyell Canyon along the way before ending the trip.

So that's what I've pieced together so far. It could very well be too much for 5 nights so I'm open to suggestions on how to maximize the time and get the best out of the trip.

EDIT: If we decided to use the YART system to get back to the car instead of circling back to Tuolomne Meadows what would be the best way to go about that???

Thanks in advance for the suggestions.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby rlown » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:42 pm

YARTs schedule page: http://www.yarts.com/schedules.html

It's not the approach and the downhill parts you outlined in your proposal that caused pause. It's the back uphill and over Vogelsang and then the exploring part. What is your proposed pack weight (bear cans included)?

I appreciate you hike alot, and even in arizona and utah, but the elevation might hurt for a few days if you're not used to it, regardless of your proposed acclimatization at TM.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby canyonexplorer76 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:07 pm

Our bear cans weigh about 2.5 lbs. (we're borrowing from friends that already have them).

Backpack itself weighs around 3.5 lbs. The plan is to try and keep the total weight of our backpacks at about 35 lbs. each. We'll split up all the common gear among both our packs (tent, cooking supplies, etc.)

I prefer not to go back uphill to end the trip. Would it make more sense to start off with Lyell Canyon/Vogelsang Lake area and then go from there???
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby rlown » Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:19 pm

so, you have a map and you looked at it. you know if you want to exit at TM, you have to go back uphill, right?
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby canyonexplorer76 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:30 pm

Looked at the map and the park website to get ideas. Starting and ending at Tuolumne Meadows was originally necessary because the car would be there. I didn't know about the bus that we could take from Yosemite Valley back to Tuolumne Meadows so that takes away the need to circle back to Tuolumne Meadows at the end of the trip if there's a better route for us to take.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby canyonexplorer76 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:21 pm

Based on the info I've gotten so far I think we'll scrap the original plan to start at Tuolumne and circle back and now start at Tuolumne and end in the valley and get the bus back to Tuolumne from there if that makes sense. Would still like to do Cloud's Rest and Half Dome and whatever else we can fit in reasonably.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby rlown » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:35 am

one of the finer points. Are you planning to fish? It didn't sound like you were.

And maybe secure your permits, unless you have wiggle room to spend an extra day or two to get up HD. Not saying it's a large issue but your schedule might be based on flight schedules. work your permits first, flights second.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby markskor » Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:52 pm

Having spent the occasional trip in Yosemite, feel that you are biting off a lot more than you can do comfortably in 4 - 5 days. Perhaps, tone it down some and have the time to enjoy yourself.
May I suggest a few options. (You say you have 5 nights?)
Leave car in Valley - Curry orchard lot for the duration of all trips if ending Valley. Stay in Yosemite's Valley backpacker lot first night - (behind stables) , but only after you have your permit in hand, and grab the 8:00 Am (Curry bus) or at 8:30 (Lodge) and head for Tuolumne. To add, you could also leave car in the Valley and grab the 5:00 PM Hiker bus at the Valley Wilderness center and get to TM by 7:00...From here you have choices. (Free hiker bus runs every 20 min out of TM.)

1) Take the fishermans trail (just past Tenaya Lake) or the Cathedral Lake trail (a bit longer) and head up to Lower Cathedral Lake - bus stops at either TH.....on the trail by 10:30. Hike up to Upper Cathedral for the second night.
Third day get to Lower Sunrise Lake - third night
Fourth day (easy day) bag water at the creek just before Clouds Rest (1 gal milk jug?) and stay atop Clouds Rest...IMHO, best campsite in all Yosemite.
Fifth day - Half Dome and down the Mist to your car. You could also stay LYV and/or Tuolumne before the trip, after bus and take free Hiker bus to Cathedral TH.

2) Same start and bus. Hike up to Rafferty Creek to Boothe/Voglesang - a long day - second night. Merced Lake third night though Washburn better. Fourth night LYV - HD next morning and down the Mist.

3) Park the car instead in Tuolumne - stay BP site behind store -- up Lyell - Ireland -Evelyn - Townsley - Bernice - Boothe? and back down Rafferty to Tuolumne. (or reverse?)
Nice Loop, good fishing, and plenty enough to see in five nights.

4) or...Grand Canyon Tuolumne?

5) or?
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby rlown » Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:07 pm

or there's this. 23.4 miles approx.

Capture.JPG


Night 1. burnt at TM.

Night 2 somewhere around Cathedral/Sunrise. (you could swing around to catch Bernice, but..

Night 3 getting in at cloud's rest.

Night 4 getting into HD camp.

Night 5 will probably be back at HD camp unless you change plan.

If you stretch this to 7 days, it would be better and much more pleasant. You can hit some of your side roads to the South. Mark and I are probably implying the same smell here.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby canyonexplorer76 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:57 pm

This is all very helpful so far. I definitely don't want to bit off more than I can chew, that's for sure. I know for sure that we can stretch the trip to 6 nights but not sure about 7 nights at this point. I do a lot of fishing back here at home in Massachusetts and as fun as it would be I think I'll have to skip the fishing on this Yosemite trip. I want to see as much as possible in the time we have and am trying to keep the backpack as light as possible so I think the fishing rod stays at home for this one.

I'm going to look everything over that's been posted so far. I'm sure I'll have questions as well.

Thanks again and I hope everyone has a good New Year's!!!!!
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