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Advice for a new trip

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Advice for a new trip

Postby kingmuirbrower » Mon May 23, 2016 8:15 pm

Hey everyone! I am looking for ideas for a three night trip June 9-13. My friends and I go backpacking every year and this year we will have a group of 9(!!!). Last year we did Buckeye and it was fantastic! Our group ranges in ability so we like to keep it 7-8 miles each day with a max of 1000' of elevation gain. I know that isn't much but its what I have to work with! Another thing is that we would like to keep our drive down to 3.5 hours max. We are in the Modesto area. Any ideas would be really, really appreciated! Other trailheads we have done: Crabtree,Leavitt,Gianelli,Clarks fork,Green creek,Buckeye,Burnt Canyon....

Ok I just realized I neglected to include the appropriate information!
Level 3 backpacker
Class 2 trail hiking/some off trail ok/river crossings ok
Interest: Big Mountain Scenery, Lakes
Out and back
I am fairly certain that we will have a dog with us.
The only caveat that I would add is that some of my group has less backpacking experience than myself. Thanks again!
A picture from our trip last year: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-FK5 ... 2lCT0c3WUU



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Re: Advice for a new trip

Postby Asolthane » Tue May 24, 2016 8:32 am

Hi KingM

That is a very large group to take into the wilderness. You will have a hard time getting a permit. Many small lakes only have a few campsites, so you would make a big impact. Groups tend to be loud.

I also don't agree with taking dogs into wilderness areas (they scare wildlife, bark, and are left off leash to wander around and intrude upon other camps, and they don't bury their poop) More than once I have set up camp only to end up breaking it back down again when a group with dogs set up within earshot. If you do take your dog, please be mindful of others.

With a group of that size, I recommend car camping and planning long day excursions.

I'm not sure, but I wonder if that is why you haven't gotten more responses to your inquiry.
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Re: Advice for a new trip

Postby kingmuirbrower » Tue May 24, 2016 9:04 am

Thanks for the advice but I have been backpacking with this group for 17 years now. We usually have more than a few drop out, so we usually end up with less. We are mindful campers and I can't help but feel a bit of judgement coming from your direction, but thats ok I won't take it personally. I understand your concerns and share some of them, but I also think that the wilderness should not be an exclusive place for only a few. Thanks anyway-John
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Re: Advice for a new trip

Postby rlown » Tue May 24, 2016 9:11 am

You should refine your accessible areas by picking a few trailheads and calling the appropriate ranger station to see if the roads are clear to even get to the trail head. Ask about permits at the same time. Chain lakes out of Quartz mtn TH comes to mind (again)..

Plan for the person with the least skill set in your group, or at least understand that person's drop dead limitations.
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Re: Advice for a new trip

Postby SSSdave » Tue May 24, 2016 9:21 am

Big Mountain Scenery... too early. Early June, 4 nights 5 days, snow up high, soggy, hungry bears just out of their winter holes, and mosquitoes. Too early for Southern Sierra so rather Central or Northern Sierra. Enough time to get a couple days out. Nine people so quota issue thus more likely at obscure trailheads.

Suggest going back to Emigrant but target lower elevation lakes, Big Lake and Hyatt Lake in the big granite zone with less trees so less mosquitoes. Other lakes in that area and lots of places to day hike about. Dogs ok. Don't camp down in tree groves if squeeters but rather out on granite gruss sand flats. Nicer there early season as that is when those areas are green with belly wildflowers. Will need to ford creeks so bring rope, some shorts and water foot gear. See threads on hiking in mosquito season and definitely cover up your whole body. No quotas or large quotas at Emigrant and permits are just a phone call and night box pickup away, none easier.

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/2016_Trip_C ... les-0.html
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Re: Advice for a new trip

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue May 24, 2016 9:28 am

I do not think it serves any purpose to generalize either about group size or dogs in the wilderness. There are good wilderness dogs and bad ones; good groups and bad ones. Just be sure your group and dog(s) fall in the "good" category. A group who practices excellent "leave-no-trace" practices, can do less damage than one or two slobs. In a large group, you have to be especially responsible. The main impact is simply the presence of a large group, which upsets many other backpackers who are expecting solitude. Therefore, pick a location that is not know for solitude and if possible, camp off the trail out of sight. If you can procure a permit for your group (not an easy task), you are legal. This year, there may be snow on the passes early June for any of the areas listed below.

Little Lakes out of Rock Creek is good for groups and dogs are allowed, in fact, it is a favorite place for locals to take their dogs on day-trips. So you will meet lots of people and dogs.

The lakes on the east side of Bishop Pass are good areas for groups and dogs. Great fishing, plenty of room for camping. Cannot go over Bishop Pass with a dog (SEKI does not allow dogs), but some of your group could go over for a day-hike without the dog.

Emigrant Wilderness is particularly animal friendly (both dogs and horses). Emigrant Lake has very roomy camping at the inlet area. There also is a roomy group camp area at Sheep Camp, a good first day destination. You can semi-loop this going in Mosquito Pass and out Brown Bear Pass.

Desolation Wilderness is also dog friendly, but not sure what their group size limit is. Aloha Lake is huge with lots of campsites. Suzie Lake from Gen Aulin offers less in roomy camping. The Velma Lakes are nice but you may hit snow on the way in.
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Re: Advice for a new trip

Postby kingmuirbrower » Tue May 24, 2016 9:57 am

Thanks for the advice. I have always used leave no trace ethics. Our group is already down to six so I think the permit won't be an issue. I have thought about Chain Lakes before but its in YNP and we were considering Emigrant Wilderness locations. We did Rosascoe Lake a few years and the options for day hikes out of there were good. I figured with the weather this year that the higher elevations would be smarter to stay away from. I will check out both Bishop pass and Little lakes. I also enjoy solitude and go on separate trips with my wife and one or two friends throughout the year and we always try to find camps that are not impeding on others experience.
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Re: Advice for a new trip

Postby Asolthane » Tue May 24, 2016 10:00 am

kingmuirbrower wrote:Thanks for the advice but I have been backpacking with this group for 17 years now. We usually have more than a few drop out, so we usually end up with less. We are mindful campers and I can't help but feel a bit of judgement coming from your direction, but thats ok I won't take it personally. I understand your concerns and share some of them, but I also think that the wilderness should not be an exclusive place for only a few. Thanks anyway-John


I do not think it serves any purpose to generalize either about group size or dogs in the wilderness. There are good wilderness dogs and bad ones; good groups and bad ones. Just be sure your group and dog(s) fall in the "good" category. A group who practices excellent "leave-no-trace" practices, can do less damage than one or two slobs. In a large group, you have to be especially responsible. The main impact is simply the presence of a large group, which upsets many other backpackers who are expecting solitude. Therefore, pick a location that is not know for solitude and if possible, camp off the trail out of sight.


I agree with everything Daisy says, and I am glad you are getting some advice from the forum now, I was wondering why there had been no response to your post. She did a much better job than I did in laying out my concerns without coming off as a jerk. Sorry about that.

I hope you won't take it personally. However, the wilderness IS an exclusive place only for the few. Not only for the rich or the royal, but yes for the few. That's why there are quota systems, and leave-no-trace rules. I completely agree that if you are particularly conscientious and respectful of the wilderness and other backpackers (which I have no reason to assume you won't be) then you can enjoy a trip with a dog and a larger group without any undue impact. Unfortunately, that is not what I have seen. I tend to see 3-4 tents 20 feet from the water, people washing themselves with soap in the lake, and dogs barking and running around the lake off leash. I guess you got frustration associated with these situations, which might not apply to your group. My bad.
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Re: Advice for a new trip

Postby Ska-T » Tue May 24, 2016 12:51 pm

kingmuirbrower wrote:Another thing is that we would like to keep our drive down to 3.5 hours max.

I think that excludes most east side trailheads (e.g., Bishop, Tom's Place) driving from Modesto. Take a look at sekihiker''s west side trips at http://www.sierrahiker.com/ . IIRC he starts from Fresno.
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Re: Advice for a new trip

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue May 24, 2016 1:40 pm

SEKI does not allow dogs in the parks.

I would not say the east side is out, because with Tioga Pass open, it is a straight shot to Lee Vining. I think the higher elevations, thus more snow, is more of a factor that would deter an east side trip, rather than the drive time.

Look at the FS land on the south border of Yosemite. From Fernandez trailhead you can easily get into the Lillian Lake area. It is at about 8500 feet but gets fair sunlight so may be snow-free enough to find dry campsites. It all would depend on if the Beasores Road is open to the trailhead. I heard that Minaret Road is open now. Another close by area would be Cora Lakes up to Sadler Lake. Again it depends on the road being open.

Obviously, if you leave the dog home, more possibilities open up such as Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, which has been one of my regular early season trips. Or trips out of Hetch Hetchy.

I am debating on a 5-6 day trip around Memorial Day too. Deep river crossings are a problem. Am looking for a route with bridges.
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Re: Advice for a new trip

Postby kingmuirbrower » Tue May 24, 2016 3:24 pm

Thanks Wandering Daisy! I have always wanted to check out Bedsores road, I just wasn't sure on the conditions of the road, which are the good trail heads,permits..... A friend had suggested checking out the Dinkey Lakes area which I have never been to. My only complaint was that some of the lakes seemed to be almost too short of a hike. I think in the beginning of July I am going to do another 3 night trip out of Buckeye. When we did it last year at around the same time, we had no trouble crossing the river and saw zero people the entire trip. Tons of bear activity though! Thankfully bear canisters work! It's definitely on my list for more trips! Anyway I will check out all the suggestions from everybody, I really, really appreciate it! Some years I have more time to figure out new routes but this has been a very busy year for me. With this trip I have to take so many factors into account that it can be really difficult to find a spot that works for everyone. Thanks for helping me think it through and I'll give a trip report when we return.
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Re: Advice for a new trip

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue May 24, 2016 5:18 pm

Flow in the rivers this year (80-100 % snowpack) at the same time are going to be vastly different then last year (15% snowpack), as is the amount of snow on the ground. I have done Buckeye three times, and once I had to wade through crotch to waist deep water (but I am short). One other difference this year is that the last week when generally the snow is melting, it has been unusually cold and even more snow has fallen.

Another early trip I have done out of Bridgeport is Green Lake and then on some snow for day-hikes up to East Lake and West Lake. Again, with the recent snow, I am not sure the road will be open.
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