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Route suggestions for 2 + a dog, short trip, late June?

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Route suggestions for 2 + a dog, short trip, late June?

Postby Immelman » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:46 am

Hi everybody,

I haven't done a backpacking trip in a few years now and am really missing it. I am reading the various TRs but am out of touch, given my absence from the sierra, for snow conditions and skeeters for this snow-year, and specifically am looking for guidance from those more experienced as to what we can expect in a couple of weeks from now - I have a 4-day weekend around June 21 to work with.

I would call myself level 3 experience, wife level 2, and ideally we will bring our dog. We will have 3 nights out. Out to a base camp to day-hike and then return, or a short (20 mi +/-) loop would be ideal.

My favorite kind of hike is to get into the higher terrain where you have a mix of time above and below the tree line to appreciate the scenery. I have done about 1/2 the JMT in sections and some other trips here and there.

East side or west side TH is OK, but with a preference for west side, or east side not too far from tioga pass so that we can get over to Lee Vining/Mammoth to pick up a "day-of" permit and get going. I have a fondness for the Muir wilderness between Devil's Postpile and Yosemite Park.

Now my concerns are -
Even though this was a low snow year it sounds like it could still be too early in the season for my preferred elevations. Maybe I need to stay lower?

When will the mosquitos go crazy? I can deal with them, but my wife has big issues. I am fine hoofing it away from meadows/lakes to camp somewhere dryer.

Thanks for any advice!



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Re: Route suggestions for 2 + a dog, short trip, late June?

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:57 am

Immelman wrote:
Even though this was a low snow year it sounds like it could still be too early in the
season for my preferred elevations. Maybe I need to stay lower?

When will the mosquitos go crazy? I can deal with them, but my wife has big issues.
I am fine hoofing it away from meadows/lakes to camp somewhere dryer.


Welcome to HST! Please read the following threads to get up to speed on the
current reported backcountry and mosquito conditions.
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=10802
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=10801
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Re: Route suggestions for 2 + a dog, short trip, late June?

Postby dandaman49 » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:59 am

For east side hikes the Thousand Island Lake loop out of Agnew Meadows near Mammoth Lakes is pretty spectacular. Also, the north fork of Big Pine Creek is awesome.

For west side hikes the Rae lakes loop out of Roads in in SEKI is a good option, or some routes south of of Tuolomne meadows (cathedral lakes/rafferty creek/lyell canyon) offer some good loop options.
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Re: Route suggestions for 2 + a dog, short trip, late June?

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:02 pm

Most current TR from Ansel Adams Wilderness: viewtopic.php?f=34&t=11106#p83842
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Re: Route suggestions for 2 + a dog, short trip, late June?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:03 pm

dandaman49 wrote:
For west side hikes the Rae lakes loop out of Roads in in SEKI is a good option, or some routes south of of Tuolomne meadows (cathedral lakes/rafferty creek/lyell canyon) offer some good loop options.


Only if the dog doesn't go.
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Re: Route suggestions for 2 + a dog, short trip, late June?

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:11 pm

dandaman49 wrote:
Also, the north fork of Big Pine Creek is awesome.


Yes it is an awesome place, but OP request something close to Tioga/Mammoth,
and Big Pine is below Bishop.

Immelman wrote:
East side or west side TH is OK, but with a preference for west side, or east side
not too far from tioga pass so that we can get over to Lee Vining/Mammoth to
pick up a "day-of" permit and get going. I have a fondness for the Muir wilderness
between Devil's Postpile and Yosemite Park.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: Route suggestions for 2 + a dog, short trip, late June?

Postby Immelman » Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:01 pm

Thanks for the replies and TR so far. I guess the snow is probably not going to be an issue unless we want to do a high pass, which given the limited time is probably out. We could potentially go down to Big Pine (I have not done any hikes out of there towards the Palisades, and it has been on my mind a while).. it just takes some more doing. Driving from the central coast we would leave ridiculously early to get an Inyo permit out of Lee Vining or Mammoth the morning-of, and Bishop is just that much further.

Taking our dog is nice but not a requirement. I have done the Rae Lakes loop previously solo and would love to take my wife on a repeat...but with her I would do that trip that length with another night available.

I love the 1000 person (island) lake and other assorted lakes nearby, but the big question for me is when will the bugs get bad. I will be looking at the mosquito reports carefully. We aborted one trip in that area a couple years ago after the swarms were killing us, in mid-day heat away from water, and people coming down from Ritter/Banner saying it was not any better higher up. I remember running past the Rae Lakes on the 4th of July because the swarms were terrible, but the rest of the loop was pretty bug-free. The risks of early season trips!
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Re: Route suggestions for 2 + a dog, short trip, late June?

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:10 pm

Here is a report from one of our members to Big Pine: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11049
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Re: Route suggestions for 2 + a dog, short trip, late June?

Postby seanr » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:16 pm

You mentioned coming from the Central Coast. Where on the Central Coast? It sounds like you've been to the Sierra a lot, but I suppose it can't hurt to mention (when looking for a short drive) that specific starting point, ending point, and route can make a big difference in drive time. Regarding the Eastside, are you sure going over Tioga Pass to Mammoth area will be faster in minutes/hours than going through Bakersfield to Bishop (South Lake/Lake Sabrina/North Lake), Big Pine, Independence (Onion Valley), or Lone Pine (Horsehoe Meadows Rd.)? I know HWY 178 and HWY 58 aren't as scenic as Tioga Pass, but those southern routes can can be time savers in some cases, even if more miles.

On the Westside you can find nice scenery with dog friendly terrain in Dinkey Lakes Wilderness or Kaiser Wilderness. Farther north and a bit longer/rougher drive you could enter the Ansel Adams Wilderness at Norris Trailhead via Bass Lake and Beasore Road (Lillian Lake Loop, Lady Lake, Madera Peak, Jackass Lakes, etc.) I bet there will be mosquitos at all these places, but they are about as close to meeting all your hopes as possible with a shorter drive in mind. You could also look into Saddlebag Lake TH into Twenty Lakes Basin just east of Tioga Pass. It was stunningly beautiful last late June, but lots of skeeters in the low terrain and might (strictly guessing) be a little later to green up this year.

I'll save elaborating on backpacking details for if any of these spots pique your interest.
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Re: Route suggestions for 2 + a dog, short trip, late June?

Postby desertdryad » Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:51 am

Not to thread highjack, but seanr, care to elaborate on your experience with the saddlebag lakes area lat year? Here or on my thread about Lee Vining area places? I'd appreciate it much! :)
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Re: Route suggestions for 2 + a dog, short trip, late June?

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:53 am

Not to thread highjack

Yes, please do not, start a new thread of your own and allow the OP's thread to continue.
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Re: Route suggestions for 2 + a dog, short trip, late June?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:37 pm

We found a good trip with our dog was to Green Lake/East Lake/West Lake area. The trail was paw-friendly. I have done that route several times early season and other than potential mosquitoes, it goes if you are willing to walk over a few snow patches. Fishing is good too!

Rock Creek was also a trip we did with the dog. We went to Treasure Lakes, Gem Lake and all the lakes along the trail. LOTS of people day-hike this area with thier dogs.

One trip that WAS NOT good for paws was a trip I did to Suzie Lake in Desolation. I know a lot of people take their dogs to Desolation, but unless the dog has good tough paws, the trails are quite rocky and hard on them.

Note that if you take the public bus down to Agnew Meadow in the Minarets, they require you to put a muzzle on your dog while in the bus.
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