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Trip Recommendation for some newbies to the area

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Trip Recommendation for some newbies to the area

Postby dirtyfromtherain » Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:51 pm

Hello.
I'm new here and this is my first post, so thanks for taking the time to read.
A friend and I want to backpack in the Sierras the second week of June this year and are looking for some recommendations.
Here's are experience and preference rundown:

We are experience level 2, we have done mostly trails but have gotten lost and had to use an altimeter and map skills to get over some cross country sections. I have multi night backpacked in the Sierras when I was a teenager but didn't plan the trip, and together my friend and I have tackled some 3 night stints in the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains.

Terrain: Level 2 I think, mostly trails and some cross country

Interest: Everything except actual climbing with ropes, maybe some fishing but that's low on the priority list.

Route: preferably a loop

Preferably we are looking for a route we can bring one dog who is a well worn hiking hound, but if that seriously limits our options we can leave her behind.

We are looking to be out for four nights and would like to do not much more than 10 miles a day.
Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated and I promise to post a trip report when we're done!

Thanks,
Chris



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Re: Trip Recommendation for some newbies to the area

Postby zacjust32 » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:19 pm

Where are you coming from, and are you more interested in East or West side? Any preference regarding SEKI, Yose, Emmigrant, etc? Hiking with a dog does limit your choices to non-NP, but Schmalz's website, https://calitrails.com/ has a lot of dog friendly locations.

And BTW, "Sierra", not sierras. [-X Make that mistake once or some of the old guys'll get on you :unibrow:
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Re: Trip Recommendation for some newbies to the area

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:04 pm

Second week of June, you may be wallowing in snow at high elevations, and eaten by mosquitoes.

You will want to get a permit app dialed up pronto if you have any aspirations of hiking in Yosemite. SEKI permit reservations begin in March, but Yosemite permits will be five months out, and June for popular trailheads is likely pretty well booked up by this point. Happy Isles, for example, is booked solid. Still space on some of the less popular THs, tho Tioga Pass should be open by then even if there is some snow left.

Four days, less than 10 miles per day... you could look at Inyo trailheads on the east side or Sierra NF trailheads on the west, and go for a trip like the North Lake - South Lake loop. A trip from Mammoth Lakes to Duck Pass, Iva Bell, Fish Creek, to Reds Meadow might be to your liking - Iva Bell is a hot springs. The shuttles in and around Mammoth make that kind of trip easier. Starting from the west, you could head up from Florence Lake to the high lake basins for some lovely remoteness. Snow permitting, of course. You'll want to keep an eye on the levels.

One good early season Yosemite trip is out of Hetch Hetchy looping up to Jack Main and Tiltill - lovely country. There's a backpacker camp to stay in the night prior and the night after your trip.
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Re: Trip Recommendation for some newbies to the area

Postby dirtyfromtherain » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:40 pm

We are leaving out of LA. No real preference of areas, just looking for some all around beautiful scenery, a challenging hike and hopefully some solitude. I guess really just a place to start in such a vast territory with so many routes.
Thanks for the etiquette recommendation as well!

zacjust32 wrote:Where are you coming from, and are you more interested in East or West side? Any preference regarding SEKI, Yose, Emmigrant, etc? Hiking with a dog does limit your choices to non-NP, but Schmalz's website, https://calitrails.com/ has a lot of dog friendly locations.

And BTW, "Sierra", not sierras. [-X Make that mistake once or some of the old guys'll get on you :unibrow:
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Re: Trip Recommendation for some newbies to the area

Postby dirtyfromtherain » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:41 pm

Thanks for the trip recommendations AlmostThere.
Have noted the urgency with the permits and looking into all these routes.

AlmostThere wrote:Second week of June, you may be wallowing in snow at high elevations, and eaten by mosquitoes.

You will want to get a permit app dialed up pronto if you have any aspirations of hiking in Yosemite. SEKI permit reservations begin in March, but Yosemite permits will be five months out, and June for popular trailheads is likely pretty well booked up by this point. Happy Isles, for example, is booked solid. Still space on some of the less popular THs, tho Tioga Pass should be open by then even if there is some snow left.

Four days, less than 10 miles per day... you could look at Inyo trailheads on the east side or Sierra NF trailheads on the west, and go for a trip like the North Lake - South Lake loop. A trip from Mammoth Lakes to Duck Pass, Iva Bell, Fish Creek, to Reds Meadow might be to your liking - Iva Bell is a hot springs. The shuttles in and around Mammoth make that kind of trip easier. Starting from the west, you could head up from Florence Lake to the high lake basins for some lovely remoteness. Snow permitting, of course. You'll want to keep an eye on the levels.

One good early season Yosemite trip is out of Hetch Hetchy looping up to Jack Main and Tiltill - lovely country. There's a backpacker camp to stay in the night prior and the night after your trip.
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Re: Trip Recommendation for some newbies to the area

Postby maverick » Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:21 pm

Hi Chris,

Welcome to HST! Are you comfortable with some snow travel? Keep in mind, if there is still a lot of snow on the ground, your trip becomes a cross-country experience, unless you choose a trail that has gotten some trail usage before you arrive for your trip. Hetch Hetchy may be you safest bet, low elevation, easier to get permits, and get usage. You may consider doing the Vernon Lake Loop, but the descent down to Tiltill Valley may have a lot of snow in sections on the trail, and the valley could be still partially flooded.
If Tioga is open by then, the Waterwheel/LeConte Falls area would make a great trip too this year, but that is if it is open, and you will have to try a walk-in permit.
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Re: Trip Recommendation for some newbies to the area

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:24 pm

Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne! It is not a loop but I have never had trouble hitch hiking back to my car. Although it is more elevation gain, it is best to start from White Wolf and drop down to Pate Valley then hike up the river. That way you are looking upstream at the waterfalls! It is all trail. This of course assumes that Tioga Pass will be open. This is one of my favorite early season hikes. It is rigorous. Be sure you are in good shape. You may have to wade some water. When I did this at peak runoff, I had to wade thigh-deep some areas below Glen Aulin. You do not have to stay at Glen Aulin if you cannot score a permit. First come permits relatively easy to get. You also do not have to drop all the way to Pate Valley the first day. There is a nice camp on a bench at 4,500 feet elevation and about 6.5 miles from the trailhead. There is also a great campsite off the trail, on a flat just across from Cathedral Creek. There is fishing, but if water is running high the fishing is not that good. You may walk on snow from Glen Aulin to Tuolumne Trailhead- but this is a very popular trail and there will be a path in the snow.

The route is 26 miles, 6800 feet gain, four days with 6-7 miles per day. It is a CLASSIC hike!
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Re: Trip Recommendation for some newbies to the area

Postby SSSdave » Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:12 pm

Your best choice as someone in LALA land is to NOT Sierra backpack in early June. Go on a car camping trip to the eastern Sierra.

Well lakes people backpack to in the southern Sierra given an average winter tend to be at too high of elevations to backpack to in June. Everything beyond easy day hiking distance from the Owens is simply too high. There are many more choices north of Yosemite however you two novices are not going to want to drive that far for just a 4 night trip. But if you do Mavericks advice is excellent. And as novices you are not going to want to be tramping through and camping on snow.

So limiting your choices to the south and lower elevations, a more reasonable strategy would be to forget about lakes and hike up one of the major western slope river canyons like from Roads End up either Bubbs Creek or Woods Creek a couple days. Water will be high making fishing difficult. On the other hands there are a lot of trout in those waters.
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Re: Trip Recommendation for some newbies to the area

Postby wildhiker » Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:40 am

Another option that is likely to be snow-free in mid-June and not too far from LA is the first part of the High Sierra Trail in Sequoia National Park from Crescent Meadow to Hamilton Lake. It is basically between 7,000 and 8,000 feet elevation on a south-facing slope, with great views of the Great Western Divide peaks over the deep canyon of the Kaweah River. This would be an out-and-back trip in early season. There are some possibilities for hikes up the side canyons to higher lake basins. As a bonus, you can do some hiking in the Giant Forest of sequoias before or after the backpack.
-Phil
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Re: Trip Recommendation for some newbies to the area

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:31 am

SSS Dave - I interpreted the post as they were "newbies" to the Sierra, NOT novice backpackers. I agree that if total "newbies" the day hike trips are good. As for their willingness to drive distances, I never had any trouble in my youth to drive until 1-2 AM, crash in my car, and get up 7AM to start a climb! You would be surprised at what we packed into a weekend of climbing! (for example, a weekend climb of Mt. Rainier, including 4 hour drive each way) I think the drive to Yosemite or Tuolumne Meadows is fine as long as the first backpack day is around 4-6 miles, basically a half-day to accommodate the drive plus picking up the permit.
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Re: Trip Recommendation for some newbies to the area

Postby balance » Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:05 am

Greetings dirtyfromtherain

If you would like some great information about hiking in the Sierra Nevada, I would strongly suggest getting the books "Sierra North" and "Sierra South". These books are filled with information about hiking from many trail heads all over the Sierra Nevada. They rate the trips Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced. Along with taking a good map and compass, these books will provide a two or three page description of the trip, and give you a good idea what to look for and expect. As you become more experienced, you'll find cross country routes and more challenging adventures to tackle.

Take the time to be well prepared and you will have a great time in the mountains.

Peace.
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Re: Trip Recommendation for some newbies to the area

Postby dirtyfromtherain » Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:01 am

Thanks!
I will pick these up. Sounds good as knowing which trailhead to start from is confusing me a bit from all these trip recommendations and internet searches. Some simplification would be good. And yes, being prepared is tantamount. I have hiked and backpacked now on a couple continents in differing environments and I love the feeling of having what is needed to accept the challenge. So looking forward to diving into what the Sierra Nevada has to offer!

Best

balance wrote:Greetings dirtyfromtherain

If you would like some great information about hiking in the Sierra Nevada, I would strongly suggest getting the books "Sierra North" and "Sierra South". These books are filled with information about hiking from many trail heads all over the Sierra Nevada. They rate the trips Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced. Along with taking a good map and compass, these books will provide a two or three page description of the trip, and give you a good idea what to look for and expect. As you become more experienced, you'll find cross country routes and more challenging adventures to tackle.

Take the time to be well prepared and you will have a great time in the mountains.

Peace.
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