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Help planning for late 2016 trip

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Re: Help planning for late 2016 trip

Postby Tom_H » Sat Oct 17, 2015 7:40 pm

In my own opinion, it is already much too late in the season for two people to be making a 2 week trip into the backcountry. If you had at least 6 very strong people, all of whom have considerable summer backpacking experience, at least two of whom were trained experienced backcountry snowshoe and nordic ski packers, and everyone has all the gear necessary for snow survival and travel by nordic skis and snowshoes, and were going on a route where you could successfully travel in snow, then I would approve. Wandering Daisy and I were both professional guides with the same training, though I worked for a different outfitter and she has more experience than I.

The reason I recommend against it is because, even if you left right now, it is entirely possible that a major storm could bury you under many feet of snow at your farthest point into the backcountry. At this time of year and having only 2 people with your level of experience, you really need to plan shorter trips where you are always near enough to a trailhead that you could evacuate.

You can take dogs into Desolation, and there are a number of places in Deso where you can get cell coverage and thus weather reports. There is also a route that's about a week trip, passing around 28 lakes, but you parallel highway, and have about 3 places where you can turn onto a side trail and exit in an emergency.

Here is a map with a route that goes from Echo Lakes to Meeks Bay. Your emergency evacuation routes are marked in purple and your primary route in red. If you undertake a trip at this time of year, you should not do any random exploring. You should decide exactly where you are going, have a trip plan (print from here: http://reconn.org ), leave copies of the plan with several people, and notify all of them the moment you get out of the wilderness. If you are not back by a certain time, you need to have given them instructions re. how to contact SAR (search and rescue) for the area you are in, giving them a copy of your plan. If you do this route, take your cell phone. Keep it off to save the battery, but from the top of any pass or the top of Mt. Tallac, try to call your contact and let them know where you are, whether you are on schedule, any difficulties you are experiencing, etc.

Map: http://caltopo.com/m/0376
Last edited by Tom_H on Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Re: Help planning for late 2016 trip

Postby rlown » Sat Oct 17, 2015 7:59 pm

She didn't request info for Deso, Tom. She actually doesn't need it if she makes her plan clear with her own maps and then tweaks it as she gets to a final plan. Doing fine so far as to find out what a new area means and the ramifications.

Guess it's a backup option..
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Re: Help planning for late 2016 trip

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:45 pm

I would not worry so much about permits. Late season (mid-Sept and later) and only 2 people, I doubt you would have trouble getting a first-come walk up permit. Flexibility is key in late season. Get a permit if it makes you feel certain, but do not hesitate to not use it and delay or do the trip earlier, based on weather conditions once Sept 2016 rolls around. Nobody knows what it will be like in a year from now.

I do not think the backcountry ranger stations are manned in October so I would not count on them for weather reports.

If by late season you mean mid-Sept or earlier, I think a side trip to Ionian Basin is well worth the effort. Black Giant Pass is the easiest. McGee Lakes also nice. Barrett Basin via Knapsack Col is also a great side-trip.

Personally, I would not do October, because the days are so short. However, as a young couple, perhaps lots of tent time is not a problem. :)
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Re: Help planning for late 2016 trip

Postby ERIC » Sat Oct 17, 2015 9:04 pm

A little chippy in here. The intelligent, prudent individuals I know here are all capable of stating an opinion without being negative towards those they are engaging. Inform, don't belittle. Please.
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Re: Help planning for late 2016 trip

Postby kwyjibo » Sat Oct 17, 2015 9:40 pm

Thanks for some side route options. I'll definitely check them out. Eric this is for next year. We are no where near ready to go now.

The hardest part is due to our work we have little flexibility which is why we are starting plans now. From the sounds of it early-mid september will be the best time to go. We also carry a parameter with us to keep an eye on in coming storms. This is partially why we are planning for two weeks. If a storms rolls in for a day or two it doesn't matter if we are stuck in the tent since we aren't strapped for time.

We want a nice leisurely trip where if we see something cool we can hang out and watch it for a bit and take lots of photos. The idea is to enjoy nature and escape the chaos of city life.
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Re: Help planning for late 2016 trip

Postby sparky » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:20 pm

How about you do two trips? A one week backpack to evolution basin in the ssummer, then a one week car camping trip up and down the Eastern Sierra in early October for fall colors. The high meadows are much more scenic while green in early summer, and a south lake north lake loop 90% of the hike will be spent in areas where the only fall colors you will see is dry brown grass. In my opinion, if I could only do one trip in a year it would be in early summer right as the high country is melting out, longer days, creeks full, and flowers blooming. We just did our fall color car camping trip last weekend.

No need to fear the critters of the night.....except the blood thirsty mountain lions!
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Re: Help planning for late 2016 trip

Postby Tom_H » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:24 pm

kwyjibo wrote:this is for next year.


My apologies for not noticing the 2016. I misunderstood that you were now planning for something between now and the end of this year (which really could be dicey). The places you are discussing should be wonderful in September. Good luck with your planning.
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Re: Help planning for late 2016 trip

Postby Tom_H » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:28 pm

sparky wrote:No need to fear the critters of the night.....except the blood thirsty mountain lions!


I've never heard of any in the high country? Foothills and lower Sierra, yea...for sure. Are you being serious, or are you trying to scare the poor girl!!! :eek:
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Re: Help planning for late 2016 trip

Postby sparky » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:44 pm

While I have seen tracks well above tree line a few times I am sure they just use the passes like we do, and the bears do. And no, not being serious or trying to scare...just teasing :)
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Re: Help planning for late 2016 trip

Postby Tom_H » Sat Oct 17, 2015 11:23 pm

sparky wrote:While I have seen tracks well above tree line a few times I am sure they just use the passes like we do, and the bears do.


This and grizzlies are the only things I haven't had run-ins with (black bears, bobcats, wild boars, alligators, rattlers, copperheads, cottonmouths, skunks........), Only the blacks here in the Sierra, though. The others were in Appalachians or southern swamps. Skeeters are the worst of the varmints IMHO.
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Re: Help planning for late 2016 trip

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:11 am

As a backpacker who takes my dog, I can tell you that your dog is at risk - more risk than you are - from hiking-related issues. My dog got very sick one trip, because she refused to stay put and sleep - she kept leaving the vestibule of the tent and walking around in the wet grass, unknown to us, who were soundly asleep until she started whimpering at 2 am. Wet plus cold resulted in a lung infection, resulting in a huge vet bill and antibiotics. Previous trips she stayed put and slept where we told her to - and we keep her tied up as well, with a short leash just long enough so she can get out and drink or pee. She has had sore paws due to granite, and she now is aggressive to other dogs due to other people's loose, uncontrolled, aggressive dogs running up on her and resulting in her attempting to defend us. We put a tick collar on her and give her flea meds, and do all we can to keep her happy and healthy. She won't let us know when her paws hurt (so then we are constantly checking her feet) and she will growl at deer (keeping us awake all night every night if we camp where there are deer trails/routes - deer are EVERYWHERE).

I can tell you that the park rules are enforced, there are backcountry rangers along popular trails, and I have seen folks with dogs marched out of the wilderness by rangers then ejected from parks. And I am GLAD there are no dogs allowed there!!! I enjoy having a break from other people's idiot dogs that plague me when I'm trying to set up camp, run around chasing away all the wild creatures, pee on my tent, and repeatedly return because the idiot owner won't tie him up already! Thank goodness for parks.

You do NOT need a dog for protection. You need to protect your dog more than he will ever protect you - from himself, since he hasn't got the instincts to survive in the wild, or the smarts to not take off like a shot if a gunshot (it's hunting season in fall) or thunder happens. This is California, not Alaska or Wyoming - there is NOTHING out there for you to fear an attack from, period. The bears are benign to you if you properly store food, and the mountain lions are more interested in their usual prey than they ever will be in you.

For Fall hiking where there is color, I suggest September - east Sierra destinations will have more color. Little Lakes is leisurely, high elevation, and beautiful. On the west side, driving up to Kaiser Wilderness there are short dog friendly hikes to lakes with aspens, or going farther out one can hike Dinkey Wilderness. Permits are free walking up the day before, $5 per person in advance - but you don't need advance reservations unless it's summer. I rarely reserve unless I have a larger group, ever.

You will need chains or cables and other emergency gear in the car in mid to late fall, just in case - especially if heading for trailheads farther from town. Trailheads over Kaiser Pass or out Dinkey Creek Road will sometimes also involve less improved roads. A shovel, ropes, tarps, even a small chain saw, can sometimes mean the difference between a long camp next to a road or getting home on time. If that's not appealing sticking with paved routes to trailheads closer in would be good, and a lot of those are in parks.
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Re: Help planning for late 2016 trip

Postby Cross Country » Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:53 am

I will say that the response of AlmostThere to be excellent and you should carefully consider EVERYTHING he wrote.
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