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1 to 2 night backpack trip (lake) suggestions

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Re: 1 to 2 night backpack trip (lake) suggestions

Postby markley » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:42 pm

AlmostThere wrote:You might be able to find a spot in National Forests - but that too involves a lot of driving, unless you are miraculously able to find a site in Big Meadows campground. Driving around in SEKI is slower going than in Yosemite, by the way.

National Forest roads vary widely in drivability. It's tough to say what they are like from year to year too, due to seasonal washouts or fallen trees.

So you're coming in late August? All campsites in Yosemite valley are booked solid until then.


So where do you see that all campsites are booked in Yosemite Valley? On recreation.gov it mentions the first day to make reservations (at least Aug. 15th on) is April 15. Am I missing something?



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Re: 1 to 2 night backpack trip (lake) suggestions

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:56 pm

Reservations for campsites begin months in advance. Look at recreation.gov. The sites that are unavailable are marked R for reserved, or N for not available. Not available means it's outside the reservation window and will come available in the future. R means someone's already reserved it.

The next window of availability is August 16 - 30. Reservations open April 15. All of the sites are labeled R right up until August 16.

Families will often have multiple members waiting on computers logged in to the recreation.gov website before the reservations open that morning, ready to pounce in hopes of getting a single site....
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Re: 1 to 2 night backpack trip (lake) suggestions

Postby seanr » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:03 pm

FWIW, you can see giant sequoias without visiting west side SEKI, just not the most famous ones. You can still see the best of Yosemite without staying in The Valley if you have trouble getting campsites. You just would want to spend less days actually down in The Valley. As I mentioned, that is advisable in August anyway, especially in a drought year. Hikes and camping from along Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road would be my suggestion for Yosemite this August.
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Re: 1 to 2 night backpack trip (lake) suggestions

Postby markley » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:04 pm

AlmostThere wrote:Reservations for campsites begin months in advance. Look at recreation.gov. The sites that are unavailable are marked R for reserved, or N for not available. Not available means it's outside the reservation window and will come available in the future. R means someone's already reserved it.

The next window of availability is August 16 - 30. Reservations open April 15. All of the sites are labeled R right up until August 16.

Families will often have multiple members waiting on computers logged in to the recreation.gov website before the reservations open that morning, ready to pounce in hopes of getting a single site....


Gotcha! Thanks...wow I had no idea that it would be that crazy to reserve a spot. It looks like there still several (albeit scattered) spots still available at a few campgrounds for the week of the Aug. 10. I may have both my wife and I get on it first thing April 15 to see about the week of Aug. 16.

So how difficult is it to get a first come/first serve wilderness permit? I am guessing that all of the reservable permits are taken.
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Re: 1 to 2 night backpack trip (lake) suggestions

Postby markley » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:10 pm

seanr wrote:FWIW, you can see giant sequoias without visiting west side SEKI, just not the most famous ones. You can still see the best of Yosemite without staying in The Valley if you have trouble getting campsites. You just would want to spend less days actually down in The Valley. As I mentioned, that is advisable in August anyway, especially in a drought year. Hikes and camping from along Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road would be my suggestion for Yosemite this August.


Yeah, I am not opposed at all to only spending a day or two in the Valley. i am really leaning towards something along the lines of your suggestions (Tioga Rd , Glacier Pt Road).

I may have to get some more info from you regarding see giant sequoias away from SEKI! Thanks so much for all or your input. I really just want to have an idea of what I'm up against..and it's starting to sound like my planning is a little late. ](*,)

While I can deal with the large crowds in very small doses (ie. a day or two), I'd much rather spend my time off the beaten path so to speak.
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Re: 1 to 2 night backpack trip (lake) suggestions

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:16 pm

WIlderness permit info plus a full trailhead report over here: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm

Depends on the trailhead you want. Guaranteed you will struggle with anything that might lead to Half Dome, but there are better places to be anyway. Right now there are days fully reserved until well into September. You might want to jump on that and see if you can reserve something in your window... weekdays are easier. Getting a walk in can be a longer process than you think since there are three opportunities to get one - the day BEFORE you want to start, at 11 am, for the following day; the day of, at 11 am when they release unclaimed reserved permits (people have things come up and just never show up), and then if you're not successful you can ask for a permit for the following day.

For SEKI - it's completely different. Reservations started March 1 for the entire year. But fortunately (as long as you don't want the High Sierra Trail or Rae Lakes Loop) that's a different matter entirely. Much easier to get permits.
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Re: 1 to 2 night backpack trip (lake) suggestions

Postby markley » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:23 pm

Thanks for that!! Y'all are awesome and so helpful. I'll look into the reservations and see if I can't get lucky and get a permit reserved for a weekday. Are there any that you'd recommend over the others?
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Re: 1 to 2 night backpack trip (lake) suggestions

Postby Hobbes » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:50 pm

Screw reservations - seriously. Also, forget the west side - a complete time sink spent driving, driving, and still more driving.

For anyone serious about getting to the high Sierra and starting out from the THs in the shortest amount of time, the east side passes are the ticket.

Here are the usual suspects - any regular camper van conversion should be able to make the drive:
- Horseshoe
- Portal
- Onion
- Big pine
- S Lake
- N Lake
- Rock Crk
- Mammoth
- June
- Tioga
- Twin lakes

Don't pass on the idea of checking out Whitney - even if you don't make it to the top, the canyon itself is spectacular. My guess is something on the order of around 50% of those who won the lottery never show (except perhaps on summer weekends with perfect weather). That means these allotments come up on a first come, first served basis for next day entry permits.

With respect to Yosemite, both in the Valley and Tuolumne, there are always cancellations and no shows. The way the game works is people (especially in the Valley) get their names down by 8am, and the camp hosts starts allocating any newly available spots around 10am. Admittedly, the Valley can be competitive, but I've never been shut out of Tuolumne.

With the prospect of fires (especially this year) reservations are even more than a waste of time, because no one - including you - is going to bother hiking/camping in a cloud of smoke. Been there, done that - nowadays, we just head on out (if we're already there), or bail if ongoing beforehand.
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Re: 1 to 2 night backpack trip (lake) suggestions

Postby markley » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:01 pm

Yeah..i hadn't even consider the chances of wild fires (which I'm guessing could be bad this year with the continued drought). We may just skirt up the west side and hit the a few things then spend the majority of the time on the east side.


Are there any maps or books that you'd recommend? I found this one online:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=b ... 0899974149 which looks like it has some good info.

I have the SEKI and Yosemite maps but am lacking the in between.
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Re: 1 to 2 night backpack trip (lake) suggestions

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:04 pm

Telling someone from out of state to screw reservations isn't something I would ever feel comfortable doing, unless I were ready to offer up a bedroom should they be stranded.

I've been stranded - it's not fun wandering through the night from campground full sign to full sign...

Generally, east side snobs don't get over here much - we love our west side and it's got no end of Sequoia groves and nice shady spots, rather than hiking from the desert to 10,000 feet in the open sun for a day....
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Re: 1 to 2 night backpack trip (lake) suggestions

Postby markley » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:16 pm

Yeah, I would definitely not enjoy driving from campground to campground. Which is why I'd like to get at least 1 night in Yosemite to be able to spend some time there and not drive all day. I didn't realize how long it could take just to drive through the park.

With that said, the main reason we are renting a campervan is so that we can just pull over and find a spot in the national forest. Which I understand is not allowed in the Parks.
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Re: 1 to 2 night backpack trip (lake) suggestions

Postby seanr » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:25 pm

This is succinct and has many useful links:
http://www.summitpost.org/eastern-sierra/154084

Mammoth Lakes-Mono Divide is another good NG Map to have besides SEKI and Yosemite. If serious about backroad camping and hiking, especially west side, there is a road atlas worth having.
http://www.amazon.com/California-Road-Recreation-Atlas-Benchmark/dp/0929591496
Also, NG Shaver Lake Map for considering west side south of Yosemite only.

Inyo NF Permit Info.:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/inyo/passes ... recreation

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/pass ... 746#walkin

Also look up camping information on the Inyo NF site, including dispersed camping information. It is easy to disperse camp on the Eastside.

The hard part will be picking what to skip vs. what to ask specific questions about and to spend time researching more about on HST. There are so many hikes and backpacks worth doing!

So you mentioned fishing? There is a sub-forum for that on HST.

How much mileage and elevation gain do you want to take on?
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