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Route Advice - Weekend 1 night

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Route Advice - Weekend 1 night

Postby DanielG » Sun May 31, 2015 3:48 pm

Hi,

I recently moved to SF with my fiance from the east coast. We're avid backpackers looking to start exploring the Sierras. We mostly just have weekends. I'm unfortunately a complete newbie to the region so trying to build up some understanding of the access points, areas, conditions, etc. From my prior experience in new areas best has been to just get out on some recommended routes and start walking the map. Anyone have recommendations for weekend options in the Sierras accessible from SF (i.e., northern part of the state, I suppose)? Even basic, classic ideas would be helpful, just not sure where to start. I've included my information below. Looking forward to posting some TRs and sharing anything I can - from perusing the forums this seems like an awesome community!

Terrain
Level 4- Comfortable with trail and/or x-country travel
- Class 3 terrain/pass/x-country
- River crossings (thigh deep, no swimming)
- prefer no snow/glaciers but fairly exerpeinced both (grew up in Alaska).

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

How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead?
- 1 night (two full days starting early/ending late)

How many miles did you want to do a day?
- 8-15 miles

Do you have a route logistics preference?
- Only 1 vehicle so can't do point to point



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Re: Route Advice - Weekend 1 night

Postby AlmostThere » Sun May 31, 2015 4:01 pm

The only question I have is - how much are you willing to drive?

There are backpacking trips within a couple hours of the Bay Area - Point Reyes, the trail camps in the Santa Cruz mountains (Skyline to Sea), Henry Coe (very very hot and water is a huge issue in summer), and wilderness areas in the Los Padres - tho arguably that is more than a couple hours away...

You could start with where you are in the SF area. Sometimes that can make a huge difference too. I would be able to get to Point Reyes from Fresno in four hours, if not for traffic on the interchanges between Livermore and San Rafael.

Many Bay Area residents find Yosemite or Tahoe area to be most accessible due to freeways - Sonora, Carson, or the other small passes in between Tahoe and Yosemite less so, due to the increase in travel time on windy mountain roads.

I would initially suggest Yosemite or Desolation Wilderness, to reduce travel time to 3-5 hours or so.
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Re: Route Advice - Weekend 1 night

Postby DanielG » Sun May 31, 2015 4:11 pm

Gotcha, thanks for the info. Driving is an issue, I think much beyond 5 is hard for a weekend. We did our first trip to Yosemite for a 1 nighter on the Pohono trail a few weeks ago and I've done a lot of reading on Yosemite options. I didn't realize it was among the more convenient options. Not familiar with Desolation Wilderness - any suggestions on routes there?
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Re: Route Advice - Weekend 1 night

Postby maverick » Sun May 31, 2015 5:09 pm

Hi Daniel,

Welcome to HST! AT has written up some good options closer to you. There are other Sierra options, but for some, you will have to get up very early so you can be one the first in line at the wilderness office to get a permit.
Pear Lake in SEKI, Lost Lake in SEKI, Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, Cathedral Lakes in Yosemite, Velma Lake , Lake Sylvia, Dicks Lake or Eagle Lake in Desolation.
Use the "search" feature to check out some of the TR's to these location, and use our HST Map to get familiar with the locations.
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: Route Advice - Weekend 1 night

Postby paul » Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:13 pm

The shortest drives to the SIerra from SF are probably:
Desolation - Echo lakes trailhead (you need to stop on the way at the Forest service station on HWY 50 to pick up a permit). I like the numerous lakes that er west/southwest of Lake Aloha - a little off-trail but very easy and that gets you away from most of the people.

Emigrant wilderness - Kennedy Meadows trailhead probably the quickest but Gianelli just a little longer drive - though has some dirt road but never very rough - and has nicer destinations close to the trailhead IMO. No quotas in the Emigrant so permits never a problem. I like to go out of Gianelli and there a a few lakes that are easy for an overnight - Powell, Chewing Gum, Toejam, Y Meadow, Wire Lakes - but if you can do just a couple more miles and don't mind some real easy off-trail, go to Pinto Lakes. Very nice. From Kennedy, you can go to Kennedy Lake - but likely you'll find a group there that has been mule-packed in so it may be busy; or you can go up to Lewis Lakes which takes a little off-trail to get at.

Echo lakes can be reached in 3 hrs if no traffic (like leave after dinner). 3 1/2 more usual.
Kennedy about 4 hours. Yosemite I figure 5 hours and it can be a lot longer if it's the wrong day or time.
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Re: Route Advice - Weekend 1 night

Postby Ska-T » Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:04 pm

To cut down the learning process I suggest you get a hold of a guide book on the northern Sierra. One such book is "Sierra North" which presently is in its 9th edition. For this book you don't need the latest edition, most things haven't changed that much. You can find the book in your local library or buy a copy. The 6th edition, for example, is $0.01 + 3.99 shipping from Amazon. Due to the transience of life, the authors have changed over the many years the book has been in print.

After you read the book, see how the trail heads are laid out, and pick out some potential routes, then do a search here on HST for trip reports with photos.

-Scott
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Re: Route Advice - Weekend 1 night

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:50 pm

Weekends only short drive, short hikes, time for activities and day hiking at destinations. (Thus not on trail hiking all day ideas that some will offer.) The noted Wilderness Press guide books are well recommended. Also get familiar online using http:mapper.acme.com
For weekends an issue is how to maximize one's time since there is little. Now better strategy takes advantage of the recreation.gov automated permit system to areas where the actual permit is issued online or where one can arrange a night box pick-up at a ranger station. That way one can drive up after usual 8-5 m-f workweek Friday night and hike in some by headlamp and also not have to receive some sermon at a ranger station on the day of the hike. (best wildflower dates this droughty year)

Desolation Wilderness from Wrights Lake TH, Twin and Island Lake (now > early July)
Desolation Wilderness from Glen Alpine Springs TH, Susie Lake (mid June > July)
Desolation Wilderness from Bayview TH, Velma Lakes (late June > late July)
Mokelumne Wilderness from Carson Pass, Winnemucca Lake (July)
Mokelumne Wilderness from Ebbetts Pass, Eagle Ridge (mid June > mid July)
From Shingle Springs in Stanislaus NF into Yosemite NP, Kibbie Lake (now thru June)

http://www.davidsenesac.com/Spring_2015 ... 015-1.html
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Re: Route Advice - Weekend 1 night

Postby balzaccom » Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:00 pm

We have a whole section of easy hikes, early hikes, and other kinds of hikes in the Sierra on our website. check it out for lots of ideas!
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: Route Advice - Weekend 1 night

Postby DanielG » Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:59 pm

Wow, awesome suggestions! Thank you for sharing! Some of these seem like very reasonable drives for overnights, I think we'll either hit up the Desolation Wilderness or Emigrant Wilderness this weekend. I'm curious to see how crowded these are, I'm really hopeful after some pretty crowded trail-hiking in the Northeast. I've ordered the Sierra North book and will take a look at the other resources people suggested. Thanks again and if you have any additional suggestions would love to hear!
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