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Memorial day in the western Sierras

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Memorial day in the western Sierras

Postby itsmekirby » Fri Apr 29, 2016 3:33 pm

Any suggestions for early season trips that can be completed in 2 nights from the west side? Say 20-25 miles, doesn't require snow gear (although having to walk on occasional flat patches would be fine), and preferably somewhere we can avoid the holiday weekend crowds. I'm happy to drive on bumpy dirt forest service roads for a while if that's what it takes, but I don't have 4WD.

Normally I'd opt for Desolation but the permit situation doesn't look so good there. Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne is a bit long at 30+ miles, and Rancheria Falls/Lake Vernon is booked. What else should I be considering?



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Re: Memorial day in the western Sierras

Postby maverick » Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:01 pm

Hi Kirby,

Welcome to HST! Please read: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4205
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: Memorial day in the western Sierras

Postby itsmekirby » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:07 am

Ah, sorry about that, some more info: I'm comfortable with off-trail travel but the rest of the group may not be. But everybody has experience backpacking the Sierras on trail. I'm a photographer so big dramatic landscapes are alright by me, although I'm sure all the alpine terrain won't have thawed by then. Otherwise a lake to swim in and a campfire are big plusses. No dog, prefer loops or point-to-point.
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Re: Memorial day in the western Sierras

Postby giantbrookie » Sun May 01, 2016 9:58 am

There are fewer places thawed as of Memorial Day than many think. Of the trailed destinations, the Vernon-Laurel combination would be best, but if that one is quota'd out as you note, another west-side option would be Kibbie Lake in NW Yosemite (accessed from Cherry Lake).

Most Desolation Wilderness destinations will not be fully thawed as of Memorial Day. Buck Island Lake, accessed from Loon Lake, just outside of the NW border of Desolation, will certainly be thawed along with neighboring lakes such as Spider etc. Because it is outside of the wilderness, a wilderness permit will not be required to overnight there (or at Spider or Winifred Lakes).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Memorial day in the western Sierras

Postby maverick » Sun May 01, 2016 10:48 am

As GB wrote, there will not be many accessible areas in the Sierra that early, especially with big dramatic landscapes, and the 2 nights, trail only limitations. You did not indicate the size of your group or the daily mileage your group is comfortable with doing.
The Vernon option is your best option, there are 14 first-come, first-served permits available, adjust your plans plan accordingly to secure the permits you will need, holiday may make things a little difficult, but you should be able to do this trip.


Yosemite NPS:

4. If you're unable to get a reservation, consider a first-come, first-served permit.

Wilderness permits are available during business hours at any permit issuing station beginning at 11 am the day before the beginning of your wilderness trip. Priority for permits for a particular trailhead is given to the closest permit issuing station, though it is possible to obtain a permit for any trailhead at any permit issuing station. This mainly affects the most popular trailheads that fill up quickly each morning, such as Little Yosemite Valley trailheads, Lyell Canyon, Cathedral Lakes, among others.

First-come, first-served procedure for all wilderness permit stations (approximately May through October): Unreserved permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11 am on the day before the intended entry date. All reservations (same day and next day) and same-day unreserved permits may still be picked up when the wilderness center opens for the day.

Though popular trailheads may fill up, there is always space available on other trailheads in the park. From November through April, wilderness permits are available without a reservation.


https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm
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: Memorial day in the western Sierras

Postby Beantown » Sun May 01, 2016 2:37 pm

I went up to to summit lake and blossom lakes via long valley trail out of mountain home state demonstration Forrest years ago on memorial weekend. some snow on the trail then when I went so I would expect some. blossom lakes is at 10k. didn't see a soul!
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