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Advice for early June trip

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Advice for early June trip

Postby ischenck » Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:35 pm

Hello everyone,
I am planning a trip in early June with my girlfriend, my sister and her friend.

What level of backpacking experience do you have?
My girlfriend and I are probably level 2, but we are bringing my sister and her friend who would be level 1. I have done a few different backpacking trips, including a loop this summer that had a full cross country day. I don't think we should do any cross country sections for this trip, however.

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
Class 1

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

How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead?
Probably 4 or 5 days
How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers?
Because my sister and her friend are inexperienced, especially at high altitude, I would say 8 miles/day on average with one day of layover

Do you have a route logistics preference: loop, out and back, point to point (which
may require 2 vehicles or hitchhiking)?
I prefer loops or semiloops. As of now, I don't think we could do point to point.

Is there a particular area in the Sierra that your most interested in(Yosemite, SEKI
western sierra start or eastern start ect.)?
I am interested in everything. I have seen some reports that the high country will be much more open this year due to the drought. Does this mean you can hike 11k passes without snow gear? I have been reading through the Sierra North and South books, mainly looking at hikes designated for "early season," but I wonder if I can plan a trip at a higher elevation area.
One area that looks very interesting is the Silver Divides Lakes, as described in "Sierra South." The book mentions that there can be difficult fords in the early season, but I am not sure if that will even be a concern this year. Does anyone know about this trail?
Another trip I found in the book is from the Woodchuck trailhead to Crown lake. Does anyone know about that one either?
Will you be hiking with a dog?
no


Thanks for any information and let me know if I need to add anything else!



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Re: Advice for early June trip

Postby balzaccom » Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:20 pm

A few thoughts:

A four day trip with newbies may be a bit much. If everything goes well, then fine. But if you start to have problems or someone isn't having fun, then it might be nice to have a shorter itinerary...or at least and escape route.

You might look at Emigrant Wilderness, just north of Yosemite. There are a series of loops you can take there from Gianelli or Crabtree trailhead that are parallel, and with quite a few connector trails, so you can decide how far you want to hike. ANd there are tons of lakes there, with good views and nice fishing. Elevations are lower, so you don't need to worry about ice axes...and the granite is an extension of Yosemite, so you get a lot of the same kinds of views.

We have trip reports on this are (and many others, including some suggested starter hikes) on our website: backpackthesierra.com
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Re: Advice for early June trip

Postby ischenck » Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:52 pm

balzaccom wrote:A few thoughts:

A four day trip with newbies may be a bit much. If everything goes well, then fine. But if you start to have problems or someone isn't having fun, then it might be nice to have a shorter itinerary...or at least and escape route.

You might look at Emigrant Wilderness, just north of Yosemite. There are a series of loops you can take there from Gianelli or Crabtree trailhead that are parallel, and with quite a few connector trails, so you can decide how far you want to hike. ANd there are tons of lakes there, with good views and nice fishing. Elevations are lower, so you don't need to worry about ice axes...and the granite is an extension of Yosemite, so you get a lot of the same kinds of views.

We have trip reports on this are (and many others, including some suggested starter hikes) on our website: backpackthesierra.com


I agree. My sisters friend thought he was going to do the JMT, but I talked him down a bit after explaining all the trial and error I have been through. I feel like a 4 day trip with relatively low mileage is doable, with some practice beforehand. A couple weeks before we are doing an overnight loop on San Jacinto to prepare them, and another one or two night trip in San Gorgonio wilderness the following week if possible.

Good to know about Emigrant wilderness! I will definitely look into that. Maybe plan a 4/5 day trip that could be shortened if necessary.
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Re: Advice for early June trip

Postby paul » Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:16 pm

Crown Lake via Woodchuck trail - probably not a good starter trip. Very nice once you get in there but rather a forested slog on the way with substantial elevation gain.
The Emigrant idea is pretty good, especailly from Gianelli - you get to lakes pretty quick, and there are a number in close succession so you can go more or go less depending on the group's mood and motivation. Be prepared for buggy conditions, you may or may not have them.
Also I would consider Cottonwood Lakes out of Horseshoe Meadows. Higher, and that may be an issue if your friends haven't been that high so you don't know how well they handle it. But nice.
Also - Green Creek on the east side/northen edge of Yosemite. Green Lake, East Lake, Hoover lakes, and especially Summit Lake and then if everyone is excited take a dayhike down into Return Creek and up to Return Lake. Semi- off trail the last bit to Return lake but not really, and very pretty and not too many people get up there. Elevation gets up to just about 10k, no more
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Re: Advice for early June trip

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:11 am

Anything with high passes is probably not such a great idea - the Silver Divide is beautiful but not everyone can do that much uphill. An alternate would be going up Mono Creek and doing day hikes up into one or two of the Recesses. Easier with a light pack to visit high areas.

I would take newbies to Emigrant in a flash. Or Saddlebag Lakes Loop - high, but without loads of climbing up switchbacks "forever". The ferry can be fun too, cuts off 3-6 (depending on whether you have a one way or round trip ticket) miles of kinda boring walking around Saddlebag Lake.

Another nice area to visit - Lady and Vandeberg Lakes out in Ansel Adams Wilderness. A little less high granite, more lakes and forests.
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Re: Advice for early June trip

Postby ischenck » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:42 am

Thanks for the input, Paul and Almostthere.
Entering emigrant wilderness from Gianelli looks like a good option right now. It looks like there are options to do anywhere between one night to seven nights from that trailhead. The overnight trips we're doing beforehand will be at a higher elevation, so everyone's performance and enjoyment on those trips will decide how long we'll stay out there. Right now I'm looking at a loop stating at Gianelli cabin, camping at Y Meadow lake the first night, wire lakes the second night, maybe a layover day at wire lakes with a day hike out to Buck meadow or emigrant lake. Last night well probably stay by Lilypad lake, and then hike out the next day. This trip looks good to me because it can be easily shortened into a two night trip if necessary, just retracing our steps back to Gianelli instead of doing the loop. How does that sound to you guys?

Cottonwood Lakes and Saddlebags Lakes both look great, if not a little short. Ill keep those in mind as well depending on how we do on the overnight prep.
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Re: Advice for early June trip

Postby balzaccom » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:39 am

That loop is exactly why I suggested Emigrant. You can pretty much make it up as you go along, and there are lots of options depending on how long and hard you want to hike.
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Re: Advice for early June trip

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:35 pm

Emigrant is beautiful, woodsy, and lots of lakes and fishing, but not "big mountains". So it depends on your priorities. If "big mountains" is your top priority there are some other options. The following options would depend on not getting another major snowstorm before June and being higher altitude, you may have a bit of snow to cross on trails. The east side of the Palisades makes a nice 4-5 day trip- First through Seventh Lakes. Very "big mountain". In spite of its popularity and somewhat crowds, I always enjoy South Lake to Dusy Basin. There also is enough great scenery and lakes east of Bishop Pass that you can skip Dusy Basin. Sabrina Lake to Hungry Packer Lake is also very scenic. All these choices involve more elevation gain than you would have in Emigrant. And, again very popular, Minarets are as easy to reach as the Emigrant loop and highly scenic, big mountains and lakes. I think the Minarets would be better for photography.
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Re: Advice for early June trip

Postby Kris » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:47 pm

With the lack of snowfall this year amd tahoe essentiallt dry already you could choose z ome close lakes in desolTion and get some good mountain scenery as well as fishing.
~We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started... and know the place for the first time.

T.S. Eliot
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Re: Advice for early June trip

Postby paul » Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:39 pm

If you do the Emigrant thing don't forget Toejam Lake. Despite the name, a very pretty little spot. nice campsite on the west side of the lake.
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Re: Advice for early June trip

Postby kpeter » Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:13 am

The Emigrant advice is useful. A couple of years ago I chose it for my annual early-season May/June trip, for all the reasons already mentioned.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9364&hilit

That year was also a dry year, but not quite so dry as this one. I was forced to use Crabtree rather than Gianelli that year due to snow at about 8700 on June 1. I would imagine that compared with that year things should be cleared out earlier than June 1, but it might be good to monitor these boards and see exactly what people discover. At this point I am more interested in when this year's mosquito season in Emigrant will peak than I am concerned about snow.

I did not much like the Crabtree trailhead and vowed to go back to Gianelli or Kennedy Meadows for my next trip, which might be this year! However, if I decide to do a little cross-x and go to the more southerly lakes (Pingree etc.) then Crabtree is the start.
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Re: Advice for early June trip

Postby paul » Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:20 pm

Given that Sonora Pass opened today, and the snow sensors at Gianelli Meadow and Lower Relief Valley are at zero or close to it, I expect getting to the Gianelli trailhead in June will not be an issue.
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