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5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby canyonexplorer76 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:51 pm

Spent some time looking things over and have come up with this so far:

We'll park the car in the valley now and then catch the hiker's shuttle to Tuolumne Meadows. Whether its the morning shuttle or late-afternoon shuttle will depend on what time we arrive. Depending on the arrival time we'll either camp overnight in the backpackers campground in the valley or at the backpackers campground in Tuolumne Meadows. After that first night we'll have an additional 5 nights in the backcountry to make our way back to the valley. What I'm looking at now is something like this:

Start out at the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead to Cathedral Lakes and camp there the 1st night. On the 2nd day we'd head towards Sunrise Lake and camp near there that evening. On the 3rd day/night I'm open to suggestions to something that would be worthwhile to see (not sure if Bernice Lake is too far out of the way here.........). On the 4th day we'd head up towards Cloud's Rest and camp there for the night. On the 5th day we'd head towards Half Dome and camp somewhere below that evening in preparation for the next days hike up to the top of Half Dome. On the 6th day we'd start out early to beat the crowds on Half Dome. After checking out the summit for a while we'll head back down and continue on the Happy Isles Trail to make our way back to the valley and to the car.

Wondering if this is a more reasonable plan of action and also some ideas for the 3rd day/night. Are there other nearby trailheads in addition to the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead so that I can list more than one starting trailhead on the permit application to increase our odds of obtaining a permit???

Thanks for all the great advice so far..........



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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby rlown » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:53 pm

PM sent.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby sparky » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:56 pm

People like to come to yosemite and hike CR and HD. Of course the view from their summits are beautiful.

I have found for me, it is the little things....the scenes you would least expect that end up the most inspiring and memorable. Scenes big and grand or down on your hands and knees small.

If I am off base, just ignore me

I am not trying to knock you down or anything, it makes total sense to want to hike to the famous and epic summits. I totally get it. Its just....we have all seen the pictures, we already know it is great there is no surprise there. Do not discount the power of the unknown. The west was built on it.

I just feel like there is so much to experience elsewhere, CR and HD consume a lot of precious time. Glacier Point offers a great view that you can drive to.

I cannot really offer much of a suggestion, because the whole area is great. The Cathedral Range is great from any angle, any trail.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby rlown » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:05 pm

What Sparky said!! I think mark even hinted at the grand canyon of the Tuolumne. You have at least 3 trips that you want to do.

This trip focus on your main stuff (Clouds rest, HD).

Next trip you can either pick the GCT, or go fishing around the great loop which catches Bernice and all those lakes you don't know about yet on the big upper canyon sweep.

She can't be a one shot wonder and think you've seen it all.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby markskor » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:17 pm

Just a thought about that "open" day after Sunrise lakes...(FYI, Bernice from there is too far),
Take a zero day!
Never underestimate having a day free in the backcountry.
BTW, at lower Sunrise, while the fishing is, at best, spotty, there is a great swimming/diving area, south side, by the big rock.

Just to add, (I do not know if you have/can read a good TOPO - 7.5 best) but -
After Clouds Rest, a short hop next day to Half Dome. Drop the packs somewhere after that HD junction and bag HD - return to packs, and down to LYV or Sunrise Creek afterwards to camp. Down the Mist next day.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby sparky » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:23 pm

Another good spot for a "rest day" is the Cathedral Pass area. If you are comfortable navigating by map, Exploring around Cathedral/Echo/Matthes area is lots of fun with lots to see.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby oldranger » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:21 am

Before you set your itinerary and if you are set on HD make sure you get your HD permit before committing to HD. If HD does not work out and If you are younger <50 it is 3 hiking days from TM to the valley and you could even incorporate most of Mark's suggestion by heading up Lyle Fork before heading toward Vogelsang. To get to a great viewpoint you could do a side trip up Vogelsang Peak and Look down on both CR and HD as well as great views to the N and NE part of the park and S into the upper Merced and Clark Range. You Could also visit Bernice. To lighten your load you could even see if you could reserve meals at Vogelsang and Merced Lake HSC. If you were willing to do these 3 long days of hiking you could have 2 or 3 layover days and there are some great fishing opportunities near Vogelsang and at Merced Lake. I personally wouldn't consider this trip without a rod. If you are interested in fishing pm either markskor, rlown, or me and we can tell you where to fish or not depending on whether you are interested in quality or quantity. None of any of the proposed TM to Valley trips proposed will provide much solitude but the scenery, especially near Vogelsang Pass is first rate.

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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:01 am

If I were blessed with that length of time, I would get the permit for my backpacking trip at Tuolumne, day hike Mt Dana, camp in the backpacker camp in Tuolumne. Then do a route from Tuolumne to Vogelsang and Bernice, down Lewis Creek, past Merced Lake, take a right turn up toward Sunrise Creek and visit Moraine Dome, go up to Clouds Rest, come down through Little Yosemite and truck on down to Happy Isles. Mt Dana is by far in my mind vastly superior to Half Dome - second highest peak in the park, no hordes of tourists, views of peaks for miles and miles, no permits, all in six miles of hiking. And then you can get a burger at Tuolumne after the day hike and before your backpacking trip.

But that's just me - I hate bumping elbows with tourists when I want to backpack and enjoy vista views. Of course, my route goes past two High Sierra camps - but those are far less populated than the corridor between Happy Isles and Half Dome.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby The Other Tom » Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:38 am

As someone else mentioned, don't think of this as a one and done trip. There are a lot of things to see/do in Yosemite. I live on the east coast and try to get back once per year (don't always make it, sigh).
As AT mentions, I've attempted Mt. Dana on my first day at TM as an acclimation day hike. It kicked me hard both times, but I think it was worth it. For sure you'll find out how acclimated you are. Just don't over do it and be prepared to turn around if you show signs of altitude sickness,or if the weather starts to turn on you. You don't want to be on Mt Dana in the T-storm.

OR is correct in that the secenry at Vogelsang pass is first rate. There are two trails from Vogelsang to Merced Lake, I believe (could be wrong) the one over the pass is the Lewis creek trail. That's the one AT mentions.

Also,there are two ways to get to Vogelsang from TM. One is shorter (up Rafferty Creek) and the other is longer (up Ireland Creek). The Ireland Creek trail goes by Evelyn Lake and offers a spectacular view of the Cathedral Range (maybe the Clark range, I get them confused) on the saddle before you get to Evelyn. Having said that, I generally take the Rafferty Creek trail due to acclimation issues and do a day hike out of Vogelsang to the aforementioned saddle.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby canyonexplorer76 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:08 pm

Lot's of great info so far..... I have a lot of things to consider.

Is it unreasonable for me to think that we could camp out on Cloud's Rest and then the next morning break camp and tackle Half Dome provided we are successful in obtaining the necessary permits???
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby markskor » Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:32 pm

Yes, overnight atop CR and...
(Like I told you about 6 posts previous),
Next morning, pack up and head down to the HD junction, (maybe 3 miles) - drop the packs here -
2 miles up again to HD, summit...spend and hour or so, and down...
Pick up packs again and to LYV easy,
or even the Valley but, IMHO the Mist experience would be better next day.

Do you have a TOPO? It sounds like you are a bit naive - Yosemite.
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Re: 5 Night Yosemite Backpacking Trip Help

Postby canyonexplorer76 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:02 pm

I have a topo but its older and not very detailed. I ordered a new topo map set over the weekend so I'm hoping to have those by the end of this week.

I think I misunderstood your previous post and for whatever reason thought that you had recommended we camp at the HD trail junction. I was looking over the maps today and it seemed like it may be doable to camp on Cloud's Rest and then tackle Half Dome the next day.

In looking at other people's trip reports and photos it looks like the area around the Cathedral Lakes and Sunrise Lake is really nice and quite scenic so I want to spend any extra time we have there.
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