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Introductions and hiking trip Advise

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Introductions and hiking trip Advise

Postby Paradza » Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:28 am

G'day,

I'm from Sydney Australia. Out on business second week Sept. So looking at sneaking in quick adventure into the high country.

A fairly experienced Bushwalker (as we call a Hiker in Oz). As we dont have too many manicured trails it doesnt take too long before you're fending for yourself off -trail.
Paradza means 'the lucky one' in Shona the local language, in Zimbabwe where I was born and raised(and no I have never shot a Lion or any Wild Life). And extensive African Bush knowledge. mainly courtesy of the then govt who volunteered my services in the Military (Funny they didnt call it Hiking or bushwalking, just route marching :) . Although was a bush guide for canoe and rafting trips. Same like Colorado just with crocs n hippos.

But no snow hiking experience. Not much of that in these parts. But fit mid 50s triathlete and marathon runner. So to your grading model:
level 4 (not in Sierras tho) & Class2/3. Looking for an adventure; High mountains, high forests, good milage & sounds sleep. Just the simple things.

Was in Utah, Canyon lands last year. Wonderful. So determined to get out before having to report for duty in San Francisco.

I have 4 1/2 days Friday to Midday Tuesday. 4th to 8th Sept. (pick up pass at 9am at the trailhead office)

So if i could go anywhere. Where should it be? What would you do? I just can't afford to get lost for a day or two. Trip courtesy of the company and all.

Current thinking is:
Drive from LAX (Waste of time flying to SFO). drive up the US 395. base myself somewhere up the east side (less crowded) and preferably do a loop. (a shuttle if easy to organise). Then drive thru to San Fran on LateTuesday/wednesday (missing weekend traffic).

Original idea was Kings Canyon. See the fires their may well have scuppered that.
So was recommended Thousand Island Lakes area or Tuolumne Meadows.

I'd welcome any suggestions.

And my commitment is post a TP.

Here's a few from down under:
http://paradzamusing.blogspot.com.au/



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Re: Introductions and hiking trip Advise

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Aug 24, 2015 7:16 am

I'd send you to Desolation or Mineral King.

Have not seen too much in between that's smoke free. I watch webcams like, every day, to see where we are going this weekend (we go every weekend).

There are a lot of fires all over the state - so all it takes is a shift of the wind. If I were investing as much as you are in a trip, I'd go somewhere else - the Ruby Mountains, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington state, Oregon.... Somewhere there aren't air quality issues and blocked views.
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Re: Introductions and hiking trip Advise

Postby oleander » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:25 am

AlmostThere wrote:I'd go somewhere else - the Ruby Mountains, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington state, Oregon.... Somewhere there aren't air quality issues and blocked views.


Washington and Oregon have it almost worse than California right now. I wouldn't recommend that direction. CO/WY are good ideas.

If you stick to the High Sierra, then Desolation (far north) and Mineral King (far south) are both good ideas. Both are easily accessed from the Bay Area if you happen to fly into San Francisco after all. Mineral King looks very far from the Bay Area on the map, but it's only a 6-hour drive. An advantage of flying into the Bay Area is that you could then turn north or south. Whereas if you fly into L.A., if the entire southern/central Sierra is in smoke then you'll have a very long drive to somewhere north.

A lot can change in two weeks. Some of the current fires might be put out, the skies may clear. Or a new fire could start in the vicinity of Mineral King or Desolation. West of Lake Tahoe the forest is very dry, and a big fire seems to start up somewhere around there every year. If that happens again this year, it would end up affecting the air quality in Desolation.

If you do fly into California, you could have three or four options in your back pocket and make a last-minute decision based on the smoke situation at that time. People here will be happy to help again when that time comes.

- Elizabeth
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Re: Introductions and hiking trip Advise

Postby SSSdave » Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:43 am

An issue you will have during that period is it is the Labor Day holiday weekend. Most of our trails have wilderness permit quotas that means you would have to secure a walk-up permit on the day before going in that reduces your limited backcountry days to a Saturday start leaving you with at best a route that gets you out with 2 days uphill then a single day downhill on the return. Or a single day out and back with a layover day.

The smoky skies situation is likely to be a bit different by then with any forecasting 11 days out of limited value. Thus you should plan on sizing up the situation at short notice before your hike that includes checking fire and smoke information websites plus the virga.sfsu.edu jetstream forecast website.

One excellent choice that gets around the permit quotas is to hike the popular 20 Lakes Basin loop out of Saddlebag Reservoir that is just east of Tioga Pass. You would still need a permit however there is no quota and thus are certain to be many other both backpacking and dayhiking groups in that area. That would also be one of the easier drives from San Francisco and you could simplify logistics with less driving. That basin at 10k elevations has considerable areas of water year round. Though you might find the hiking challenge modest, the classic High Sierra scenery is some of the best in the range. There is certainly much class 1 and 2 dayhiking within that basin to burn more energy. For instance climbing up to the Conness Lakes or any of the ridge line areas.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.98548,-119.29165&z=14&t=T

To avoid most people before reaching the Steelhead Lake outlet stream, wander east towards Shamrock Lake through some small up and down labyrinths.

I would suggest just making that a 3 day trip till Monday afternoon. Then Monday afternoon you could drive down into the world class Yosemite Valley which is only slightly out of the way before driving out Tuesday morning back to San Francisco. Have a beer then overnight sleep on the sly inside your vehicle at the Happy Isles Backpacker's camp then early on Tuesday sunrise hike up to Nevada Falls and back by late morning.

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/2015_Trip_C ... les-0.html
Last edited by SSSdave on Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Introductions and hiking trip Advise

Postby tim » Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:44 am

Remember that you are planning a trip over Labor Day weekend. So it might be worth reserving a permit online (recreation.gov) for an east side trip (you are too late for SEKI/Yosemite etc). A good option could be Cottonwood Pass to Chicken Sprint Lake, Soldier Lake and Miter Basin, coming out over New Army Pass, since its fairly distant from the fire (not smoke free at the moment, but potentially OK in a couple of weeks time). The best thing about it is that you even if there is no room on the quota, you will always be able to do the hike by going in over Trail Pass (only 2 miles further than Cottonwood Pass) where unlimited numbers of permits are available.
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Re: Introductions and hiking trip Advise

Postby maverick » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:42 am

Hi Paradza,

Welcome to HST! As you are aware, the Rough Fire, and Walker Fire, are making the conditions in the Sierra less then ideal. Thought Oleander's suggestion of the Mineral King area would be a good one, until I checked the webcams, smoke is ridiculous. http://www.mk-webcam.net/ :(
Not only will you have to deal with the lack of visibility, and the less then ideal air quality, but also the difficulties of securing permits for the more popular trailheads because of Labor Day.
If this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, then try something like 20 Lakes Basin, or northern Yosemite, the fires may have less of an impact on that area by the time of you trip, if on the other hand, you will have other opportunities to visit the Sierra, then wait for when the conditions are better to experience these beautiful mountains.
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: Introductions and hiking trip Advise

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:41 pm

maverick wrote:Hi Paradza,

Welcome to HST! As you are aware, the Rough Fire, and Walker Fire, are making the conditions in the Sierra less then ideal. Thought Oleander's suggestion of the Mineral King area would be a good one, until I checked the webcams, smoke is ridiculous. http://www.mk-webcam.net/ :(


Which is sad, because a few hours ago when I checked it, it was beautifully clear.

It is a roll of the dice either way, anywhere in the state. The wind blows where it will.
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Re: Introductions and hiking trip Advise

Postby Paradza » Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:42 pm

Thanks for all the input, much appreciated.

Options abound with complexities like fires and permits. So spent last night figuring out an area, then figuring out how to get a permit locked in.

So have an overnight permit for Cottonwood lakes. One of the areas where permits still on offer and one your recommendations (thanks Tim).

what was confusing with the system it asked for other destinations over the other nights. Having absolutely no idea where they are. So the questions is:

Do you have to stay on the other nights at these stops?

Quite frankly i was hoping to go 'backcountry' which means in my lingo off trail!

I'll spend some time this evening working out a route and post it back.

thanks again.

looking forward to it.
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Re: Introductions and hiking trip Advise

Postby maverick » Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:58 am

Do you have to stay on the other nights at these stops?


No, but would highly recommed using our form or something similar: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=10192
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: Introductions and hiking trip Advise

Postby Paradza » Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:23 pm

Folks,
keeping my commitment. Here's trip report for my Sierras jaunt. Worked out fantastic.

http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13569
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