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3 Days/2 Nights Spring Backpacking - April 18-20

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3 Days/2 Nights Spring Backpacking - April 18-20

Postby valeofoakland » Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:16 am

Hi folks,

I have 2 nights in April when I can escape the Bay Area for some backpacking. I've been looking at the Hetch Hetchy -- Vernon Lake -- Rancheria Falls loop, but would love other options. Below's my profile:

Level 3
- Class 1 terrain/trail hiking
- Class 2 terrain/pass/x-country

What is your main interest?
- Lakes
- Forests
- Big Mountain scenery


How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead? 3/2

How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers? 7-8

Do you have a route logistics preference: loop, out and back, point to point (which
may require 2 vehicles or hitchhiking)? Loop

Is there a particular area in the Sierra that your most interested in(Yosemite, SEKI
western sierra start or eastern start ect.)? Within 3.5 hrs drive from Oakland

Will you be hiking with a dog? No



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Re: 3 Days/2 Nights Spring Backpacking - April 18-20

Postby maverick » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:26 pm

Hi Valeofoakland,

Welcome to HST! Would stick to the Vernon Lake Loop with the 3.5 hr time constraints
unless your interested in going to Desolation Wilderness.
The section going down from Vernon to Tiltill usually has snow that early but this year
who knows. Water can be an issue on that section to be sure to start with enough before
your descent down to Tiltill especially on a warm day.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: 3 Days/2 Nights Spring Backpacking - April 18-20

Postby peaksandpotatoes » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:42 pm

Just to bounce off Maverick's post... Desolation Wilderness provides great trips for us Bay Area folks. I have not been to the Hetch Hetchy area myself, but hope to soon. I hear sometimes the waterfalls make certain sections impassable early in the season, so maybe double check on that with a ranger before you go. If interested in Desolation, get the Tom Harrison Map of Tahoe and Tahoe Rim Trail to help with planning. The Desolation Wilderness guide book by Jeffrey Schaffer put out by Wilderness Press is also great resource. I used it to plan a quick trip to Lake Aloha a few years back. We went on a weekend in June and had a beautiful site overlooking the lake with not another soul in sight. We had planned to also summit Mount Tallac while there, but rain clouds were threatening. Gorgeous, heavenly place, and classic Sierra. Please give us an update on conditions where ever you end up going! Happy trails.
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Re: 3 Days/2 Nights Spring Backpacking - April 18-20

Postby valeofoakland » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:08 pm

Thank you both! I have trip planned to Desolation in July (Lake Aloha), so I think I'll check out Hetch Hetchy this time, as long as the weather cooperates.
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Re: 3 Days/2 Nights Spring Backpacking - April 18-20

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:47 pm

Depending on which two nights in April, there can still be snow at elevations over 8,000 feet - not a lot of it, but if you do not enjoy postholing into a muddy meadow through "late season" crunchy crusts/bridges, it might be a concern. It turned us around this weekend when doing the Buena Vista loop, as we did not pack snowshoes or proper footwear (my OR waterproof gaiters and boots were still in the closet).

Mosquitoes were also present at the same locations as the snowmelt.
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Re: 3 Days/2 Nights Spring Backpacking - April 18-20

Postby markatrog » Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:35 am

CRAB TREE


Sent from my Markatrog using Tapatalk
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Re: 3 Days/2 Nights Spring Backpacking - April 18-20

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:29 am

There are good routes out of Yosemite Valley. One of my favorite 3-day trips is up the Merced to Echo Valley and then across to the JMT, with a side-trip up Cloud's Rest. You can go up the Mist Trail and return to JMT for almost a loop. Now that Glacier Point Road is open, you could also do this from Glacier Point. If you camp the first night above Little Yosemite Valley you avoid the crowds.

Either the North Rim traverse or Pohono Trail are good trips. For the North Rim, go up Snow Creek and camp out on the buttress just before the bridge for a great view of Half Dome. Second night on Yosemite Creek. Down Yosemite Falls Trail. Pohono is logistically a bit more difficult because there is very limited legal camping.

Yosemite waterfalls are at their peak. The waterfalls all along the Merced are very impressive. I have done the Merced route many times and it is not crowded at all. Merced Lake camps are not operating yet, so that keeps away many. I never camp at Merced Lake. There is more scenic camping downstream.
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Re: 3 Days/2 Nights Spring Backpacking - April 18-20

Postby SSSdave » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:36 am

Looks like all you people that have been lining up way earlier than usual backpacking into the Sierra may have to wait till some snow melts. And looking further, recall a rather dry winter several years ago that became rather wet and cold in April and May so this may just be the tip of another bizarre weather turn this year.

Hot off the Hanford NWS local discussion:

THE NEXT STORM IS VISIBLE ON SATELLITE LOOPS AS AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW
CENTERED AT 52N/140W...WEST OF THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE ISLANDS. A SHORT-
WAVE TROUGH ROTATING AROUND THE LOW IS FORECAST TO REACH THE
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST SUNDAY MORNING...AND COULD BRING A CHANCE
OF SHOWERS TO THE SOUTHERN SIERRA NEVADA NEAR YOSEMITE SUNDAY
AFTERNOON AND EVENING.

SHOWERS OVER YOSEMITE WILL DIMINISH MONDAY AS THE SHORT-WAVE DEPARTS
BUT WILL INCREASE MONDAY EVENING AS THE MAIN TROUGH REACHES THE
CALIFORNIA COAST. THIS WILL BE A COLD SYSTEM...AND THE SNOW LEVEL
COULD FALL TO 4000-4500 FEET BY TUESDAY EVENING. CONFIDENCE IN THIS
STORM IS INCREASED AS THE 00Z ECMWF HAS COME INTO BETTER AGREEMENT
WITH THE GFS. QPF WITH THIS STORM IS FORECAST TO BE 0.50-0.75 INCH
FOR YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK...WITH THE HEAVIEST RAINFALL FALLING
TUESDAY BEFORE THE COLD AIR ARRIVES. AS A RESULT...ONLY A FEW INCHES
OF NEW SNOW IS EXPECTED NORTH OF KINGS CANYON FROM THIS STORM WITH
LIGHTER ACCUMULATIONS FURTHER SOUTH.
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Re: 3 Days/2 Nights Spring Backpacking - April 18-20

Postby balzaccom » Sat Apr 04, 2015 5:20 pm

A couple of thoughts here

1. Crabtree isn't open yet--they haven't opened the road past Dodge Ridge, And given this next storm, they'll wait and see before making any further predictions about when it will be open.

2. Read that weather report. A big storm can change everything.

3. We are just back from a quick hike out of Bridalveil Creek in Yosemite up to Grouse Lake (near Royal Arches.) Final elevation was 8300 feet for the lake, and there was NO SNOW on the eleven mile trail to get there. None. There were no mosquitoes, either. But the temperatures were still a bit chilly--hiking in 50 degrees F is a pleasure, but waking up to 25 was a bit more than we wanted. Water was frozen in the bottles, and made for a slow breakfast!

I'll post photos in the next day or so...
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: 3 Days/2 Nights Spring Backpacking - April 18-20

Postby valeofoakland » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:24 am

Thanks for the update! With this upcoming weather, we'll be watching closely.

balzaccom wrote:A couple of thoughts here

1. Crabtree isn't open yet--they haven't opened the road past Dodge Ridge, And given this next storm, they'll wait and see before making any further predictions about when it will be open.

2. Read that weather report. A big storm can change everything.

3. We are just back from a quick hike out of Bridalveil Creek in Yosemite up to Grouse Lake (near Royal Arches.) Final elevation was 8300 feet for the lake, and there was NO SNOW on the eleven mile trail to get there. None. There were no mosquitoes, either. But the temperatures were still a bit chilly--hiking in 50 degrees F is a pleasure, but waking up to 25 was a bit more than we wanted. Water was frozen in the bottles, and made for a slow breakfast!

I'll post photos in the next day or so...
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