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too many LOOP trip requests

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too many LOOP trip requests

Postby SSSdave » Tue May 03, 2016 2:08 pm

The majority of temporary visitors and new people to the board that ask for trip suggestions usually make a request for some kind of LOOP trip. Such notions are misplaced so I am herein bringing up the matter as the board might discourage people from making such requests so we don't have to regularly explain why that is. Obviously most novice hikers and backpackers are unfamiliar with the nature of the majority of Sierra Nevada trails and they expect that having to hike out the same way one entered must be boring.

A) A LOOP trip is where a hiker starts at a trailhead and either:
1) a trailhead has multiple hiking trails right near the start where one might start out on one trail and return on another while not repeating any trail segments regardless of traveling direction.
2) a trailhead has a single trailhead that within a minor distance of miles splits and a trail route exists that does not repeat any trail segments regardless of traveling direction.

B) A SEMI-LOOP trip is where a hiker enters a trail at a trailhead and ends up exiting at a different trailhead usually within a modest driving or hitch hiking range while not repeating any trail segments regardless of traveling direction. When such a trip is suggested herein inevitably the reaction is a question on what transportation is available to go between trailheads. When people read as is most common that there taint none, that ends such advice.

C) And then there are other THRU HIKING trips like cross range, and long thru hiking trails where one again starts out at one trailhead and exits on another but in this case the two trailheads are a long ways apart or enough to make transportation an issue beyond some minor hitch hiking. Anyone planning such trips is also likely to have done their homework about the transportation and not have to ask on a board like this.

An example of A1) is the Mineral King Timber Gap, Blackrock Pass, Sawtooth Pass loop. The actual split to being the loop is not right at the trailhead but rather a half mile up the trail that is essentially the same thing. Another would be from Agnew Meadows north on the PCT to Summit/Clark Lakes then over to Thousand Island Lake, and back via the River Trail. There are not many of these types of situations despite many requests.

An example B) of a SEMI-LOOP would be the Four Mile Trail up to Glacier Point then Panorama Trail to the JMT and back down the Merced Canyon to Happy Isles. The trailheads are just a bus ride away. Another would be North Lake over Piute Pass down to the JMT, up through Evolution Valley, over Muir Pass and out Bishop Pass to South Lake. There are a lot more of these versus true LOOPS but not a lot of people do these trips the greater the distance between trailhead due to transportation.

An example of C) is the High Sierra Trail from Lodgepole to Whitney Portal or the John Muir Trail between Yosemite Valley and Devils Postpile. There are myriad such possible routes but few make such trips because of the considerable transportation issues.

Beyond the above is the notion that out and back trips where one reverses direction to hike the same trail to a single trailhead must be not worthwhile or boring and to be avoided if possible. That in my opinion is the biggest mis-perception on the issue and most of us here could write pages of reasons that is almost always not the case. I will offer this brief summary. Reversing direction one's eyeballs are looking at things in a different direction. Add to that different times of day and one might as well be looking at something new. Unlike walking down some monotonous boring urban street coming and going, walking out in natural areas much less mountain wilderness contains a vast amount of interesting elements large and small, obvious and profound, varied beyond measure, most of us would have to experience many times before becoming bored unless that is one has empty space between their ears.



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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby Hobbes » Tue May 03, 2016 5:04 pm

SSSdave wrote:Beyond the above is the notion that out and back trips where one reverses direction to hike the same trail to a single trailhead must be not worthwhile or boring and to be avoided if possible. That in my opinion is the biggest mis-perception on the issue and most of us here could write pages of reasons that is almost always not the case. I will offer this brief summary. Reversing direction one's eyeballs are looking at things in a different direction. Add to that different times of day and one might as well be looking at something new.


You could add "section hike" to your thru-hiking C group classification. That's my favorite type of hike, but you usually need to shuttle, pay or hitch to pull it off. For example, BlueWater and I are planning on doing a 5 day, 6 pass tour of the PCT+spurs starting May 31 (Lamarck, Muir, Mather, Pinchot, Glen & Kearsarge). I've got a few names of local shuttle drivers from past trips that will provide the ride from Onion to N Lake.

My next favorite is a loop leaving/returning to the same TH. A good example of this kind of hike is the 2016 HST meet-up where I'll take the SHR from TI lake, but return via Vogelsang/Donohue/PCT.

My least favorite is out & back, but depending on where you are, it too can be fun. Because, after all, the views do change depending on which way you're walking. Side question: Is this the largest, high elevation meadow in the Sierra Nevada? (10,850 -> going over 11k)

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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu May 05, 2016 8:40 am

I am a bit confused to the point of this post. The definitions of Loop, Semi-Loop, Section Hike and Through Hike is informative, however, I see no reason I would want to discourage a novice from doing a loop, if that is their goal. Loops are, hands down, the preferred type of trip. Mostly this is because few of us have the luxury of two cars, or the money or time to pay for transportation between trailheads. "Thru-hiking is becoming quite popular too because it is promoted a lot on the internet as the "thing" now in backpacking- mostly "big name" trails. I am not going to presume that I know better than the person posting the request, concerning their goal.

The strategy is determined by your trip goals. If the trip is a specific "destination trip" than a basic in-and-out is the most efficient. For example, mountaineering where the goal is to climb a peak or several peaks from a base-camp, or a fishing trip, or a photography trip to capture a specific set of images. In that case, you are carrying heavy activity-specific gear that makes meandering around the mountains more difficult. If however the trip is a "touring" trip, you want to see as much country as possible, either with a loop or a section hike, and repeat the least amount of miles. You want to hit numerous "destinations", usually camping at a different place each night. Some go really light weight so they can go farther and see more. Simply choose the hiking strategy that best fits your goals. I do both kinds of trips. "Touring" both light-weight fast trips and heavier (camp comfort) trips with family and dog. "Base camp" type trips for technical climbing or intensive fishing.
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby SSSdave » Thu May 05, 2016 12:07 pm

Escuse me WD, the confusion is my fault. WD what you say tends to be true and I seem to not have emphasized the primary reason for considering mildly discouraging requests for loop trips. As I wrote:
"There are not many of these types of situations (LOOP) despite many requests."

Although there are some fine loop trips they are far out-numbered by out and back destinations from trailheads. Thus when a person requests only a LOOP it narrowly limits possible answers particularly the more limited the region interested in. Also when loop suggestions are asked about with just a short number of days, the number of possibilities is even more significantly reduced as most of our good loops tend to be longer multi-day trips well away from trailheads especially about Sierra Crest regions that take days to reach. But if someone is asking for loops across the whole range then yes there are then fair numbers of possible suggestions.

Of course those making the requests tend not to be aware of that as though loop trips and out and backs numbered about the same. Although it is true all else being equal that a loop inherently offers more, it is also true that there are many out and back trips to some of the range's most outstanding destinations that far out-weigh any positives a loop might add. In fact one can peruse the topo down the Eastern Sierra and see most trailheads offer single trails up canyons. So I am suggesting adding a note maybe to Mavericks sticky post that simply relates something like:

There are far more out and back trail routes than those with loop route possibilities and some of those out and backs are among the best destinations in the range. Limiting suggestions to LOOPS only significantly reduces one's choices. Additionally most good loop routes are longer multi-day trips while those with just a few days are even more limited.
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu May 05, 2016 2:43 pm

I guess that's one way to look at it. Another way to look at it is, designing loop/semiloop trips is a fun and creative endeavor in itself, and leads one to consider places beyond the usual suspects. A well-planned loop trip is a thing of beauty.

Also, I would quibble with your terminology. I use 'semi-loop' the way Sierra South uses the term, i.e., as a 'lollipop' route (start & end on the same trail stretch, with a loop beyond); what you call 'semi-loop' Sierra South calls a 'shuttle trip' (which is clearer in a way, but doesn't distinguish between long and short shuttles).
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby rlown » Thu May 05, 2016 2:49 pm

I too, like lollipops. I can traipse around a basin and still know where my truck is at the end of the trip w/o shuttle. Loops generally imply I have to be some where at a specific time to be out on time. Not of fan of timed trips anyway.
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby SSSdave » Thu May 05, 2016 3:08 pm

TehipiteTom wrote:...Also, I would quibble with your terminology. I use 'semi-loop' the way Sierra South uses the term, i.e., as a 'lollipop' route (start & end on the same trail stretch, with a loop beyond); what you call 'semi-loop' Sierra South calls a 'shuttle trip' (which is clearer in a way, but doesn't distinguish between long and short shuttles).


Thanks for educating us on that lingo. Lollipop route I like that haha. That is what I've been referring to as 1B) while a pure loop from a trailhead is 1A). And to call what I referred to as a semi-loop as a shuttle trip is a better description since it is the transportation beyond trailheads that is the primary impediment. Will need to look at my original addition of SN/SS to find where that is.

One thing I did not mention is that beyond official trails, into off trail zones there are a great many routes we more experienced enthusiasts create that could be described as loops. However did not intend to introduce those complexities into the basic discussion since those asking for advice are most likely trail persons.

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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby sambieni » Thu May 05, 2016 3:33 pm

SSSdave wrote:"There are not many of these types of situations (LOOP) despite many requests."

Although there are some fine loop trips they are far out-numbered by out and back destinations from trailheads. Thus when a person requests only a LOOP it narrowly limits possible answers particularly the more limited the region interested in.

Of course those making the requests tend not to be aware of that as though loop trips and out and backs numbered about the same.


This.
As a new member to HST and also someone trying to get back into the backcountry, unfamiliar w area terrain - I like potentially others (although really shouldn't speak for all those "inexperienced" or "temporary members"), but a lot of us are just not familiar w the terrain. And yes, we can all semi-agree that a loop is more "bang for your buck" when comes to outdoor experiences. Many other wilderness areas offer more opportunities for short loops/semi-loops/lollipops, etc, but the reality is I - like perhaps others - aer suprised to find loops in Sierras are limited unless you want to put in 5+ day trips. This for many is simply not an option.

I think just more helpful to let folks know that and suggest alternatives. Took me some time of this website and lots of books to realize, wait, I have limited options if I want to do a loop. Others are in the same boat. Perhaps for some, they just don't know enough to even know how to ask...
Last edited by sambieni on Fri May 06, 2016 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu May 05, 2016 4:52 pm

I disagree that there are a lack of 2-4 day loop routes in the Sierra. If you keep a light pack, you can easily go 10-15 miles a day. Given a 30-40 mile route, more loops open up. And add a little off-trail and even more loops open up. Maybe not "pure" loops, but shortly down the main feeder trail, you can do loops. Yosemite Valley is a prime place for loop trips, although you have to be in good shape because there is a lot of elevation gain. The great thing about Yosemite Valley is that there are shuttle busses between many of the trailheads. For example, Day 1 Happy Isles to Little Yosemite Valley, Day 2, Panorama Trail to Glacier Point and down Four Mile Trail. Park your car at Curry Village and take a shuttle to and from each trailhead. Another example is the North Rim Traverse between Mirror Lake TH and Yosemite Falls TH. A three-day loop I did out of Mineral King was Day 1 over Sawtooth Pass to Lost Canyon, Day 2 to Little Claire Lake and Day 3 out via Franklin Pass. Or the Farewell Gap, Shotgun Pass, Franklin Pass route. From Agnew Meadow loop to Thousand Island Lake River Trail one way and High Trail the other. Or from Silver Lake TH (Rush Creek) - in Waugh Lake, Island Pass and out via Agnew Pass to Gem Lake (mostly a loop). I could go on and on. Emigrant Wilderness and Desolation have good shorter loops. Even south Sierra - in Cottonwood Pass and out New Army. I have done that loop including Sky Blue Lake for a 4th July Weekend trip.
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby oldranger » Thu May 05, 2016 7:00 pm

This year will be the first time in years that I am doing an out and back trip and it is only because my older daughter requested a trip into Roaring River where she spent part of several summers with me when a young girl and teenager. Given the the time constraints and the fact that my wife insists on staying on trails an out and back is the only reasonable alternative.

I don't think we should discourage newbies from requesting suggestions for loop trips but if compelled to respond you could say that a particular out and back would meet their needs just as well. Of course it is a moot point for me as I stopped responding to such requests some time back. The reason is in my mind I'm thinking wtf why don't you do some research on your own (e.g. read TRs on the forum) and come up with some ideas and then ask the forum what they think of the alternatives given the requesters abilities and experience. Given a rough itinerary I am happy to give advice if I have a good knowledge of the area in question, but an open ended where should I go will always be greeted with silence (as oposed to the smart ass response in my head). I guess since I began choosing and planning trips for my dad and me when I was about 11 I figure any adult could do the same.

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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby ksenn » Thu May 05, 2016 10:15 pm

I'm going to disagree and say 'out and backs' are kind of boring unless you're doing some cool business (peakbagging, fishing, photography, etc) between hiking in and hiking out. With limited time to spend out in the woods, I assume many, like myself, want to spend that time seeing as much as possible. I would say, if you don't feel like answering a trip suggestion request, be like oldranger and many others on here, myself included, and don't respond. Or if you feel inclined respond, do so with what you would do to make a loop, but with a caveat that it involves high miles, or difficult cross country travel, or both. I know I'm not a regular contributor, but maybe we shouldn't assume so much about "temporary visitors'" and "newcomers'" abilities. Maybe it's irresponsible, but if you respond and make your best effort to note the potential hazards of any route, you're ultimately leaving it up to the requester to decide if they're up to it or not.
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Re: too many LOOP trip requests

Postby Tom_H » Fri May 06, 2016 9:00 am

I too like the lollipop concept. While I appreciate the notion of encouraging newbies to expand their ideas of what a good trip entails, I think the original post came across a bit strong.
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