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Advice for Father/Son 4-night Moderate Backpack in Sierras

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Advice for Father/Son 4-night Moderate Backpack in Sierras

Postby Tonydavid » Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:46 pm

Hi Folks. I NEED your advice and would GREATLY appreciate your recommendations. I would like to take my 13 year old son on a 4 night backpack in the Sierras or maybe two 3 nighters We can go July 15-27. That is really soon! We don't have any permits. I did some backpacking in Sierras when I was a teen, and loved it, but I don't know where to go. WHERE SHOULD WE GO.

Here is some info….
Group: Father (58) and Son (13)
Fitness: Reasonably Fit but Old and Young
Goal: 3-4 night backpack trip(s)
Features : Big Mountain Scenery, lakes, Photography
Permits: None required or good possibility of same/next day permit
Mileage: 4-8 miles per day depending on terrain
Comfort Level: Trails, Minor Crossings, Minor Snow
Mosquitoes: Area not know for mosquitoes (mosquitoes love my Son!).
Configuration : Loop or out and back
Experience: Dad experienced backpacker, Son 3rd backpack trip - many day hikes
Trailhead Access: By Old Subaru Outback (not high clearance or rough road)
Location: We live in So California but can go to all parts of Sierras
Last edited by Tonydavid on Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Advice for Father/Son 4-night Moderate Backpack in Sierr

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:17 pm

Sorry, but you will not avoid mosquitoes. They are going to be everywhere to some degree. They will be particularly heavy in wooded areas and in boggy meadows where there is standing water.

There are good destinations in Ansel Adams and Dinkey Wilderness that would meet your requirements. However, many of the trailheads are at the ends of rough roads. Only the Cliff Lake trailhead at Courtright (Dinkey) has a paved road all the way.

Going in from Jennie Lakes Wilderness into Kings Canyon requires a permit from the parks, however, that is easy to get - it would be $5 plus $5 per person, or $15. You would find access to Jennie Lake, and a trail system that could take you to other lakes or out to Roaring River. Another possibility might be going out the High Sierra Trail and coming back - go to Hamilton or Precipice Lake, then return.
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Re: Advice for Father/Son 4-night Moderate Backpack in Sierr

Postby wildhiker » Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:28 pm

First, mosquitos generally diminish in the second half of July, so doing your trip toward the end of your July window will likely yield fewer mosquitos.

Second, you don't say if you are driving to the Sierra specifically for the backpack trip, or if this is part of a longer vacation. If you are more relaxed on timing, you can try for walk-up permits for the next day - most wilderness permit agencies make the walk-up permits available at 11 am on the day before. Also, permits are easier to get mid-week. Starting Friday or Saturday is the most congested.

You will have more options coming from LA by heading up the east side of the Sierra. I don't have direct experience in the Cottonwood Lakes basin or the Bishop Creek headwaters out of South Lake, but they sound like good candidates based on trip reports you can find on this forum.

The Mammoth Lakes area has many options. If you can be at the ranger station by 11 am to get a walk-up permit for the next day, I would recommend trying for something in the Ritter Range (Ansel Adams Wilderness) out of Agnew Meadows or Devils Postpile/Red Meadow. This area has truly dramatic scenery and lots of lakes. Thousand Island, Garnet, and Ediza are the premier scenic lakes, in my opnion, but other options in the Ritter Range are also good. The network of trails and closely spaced lakes gives you lots of options to plan your trip. If you can't get a permit for the Ritter Range, it is also quite scenic to go out of Mammoth Lakes over Duck Pass. Lots of lakes on both sides of the pass.

Further north, the Hoover Wilderness has less competition for permits but still has dramatic mountains and lakes. A good out-and-back trip would be to start at Virginia Lakes trailhead and head over the pass to the Green Creek drainage. Then go up it past Summit Lake and into the head of Return Creek - be sure to head on the trail upstream into the open basin. You can also start at the Green Creek trailhead itself, but you start at a lower elevation and miss some great scenery going over the pass from Virginia Lakes.

-Phil
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Re: Advice for Father/Son 4-night Moderate Backpack in Sierr

Postby starankle hiker » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:54 am

Look at North Fork trail out of Big Pine. The wife and I just got back from there, got a walk in on Thursday evening (4:30) no walk in's left for Friday, so we hike 1 mile in to the walk in camp Thursday night. Beautiful area with everything your looking for. Mosquitoes were no problem at second lake, maybe a 2-3 at third lake. We day hiked up to Sam Mack meadow and then on to the Palisades Glacier overlook (wow) lots of climbers up there bagging all the peaks.
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Re: Advice for Father/Son 4-night Moderate Backpack in Sierr

Postby SSSdave » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:01 am

Well the main issue you will have is not being able to reserve a permit. For 3 or 4 night (4 or 5 day) short trips, more bang for the effort from the Eastern Sierra. As noted you could stand in line one morning well before 11am and pick up a walk up permit for the following day. But doing so wastes a day lest one can put that to good use.

So you say July 15 and modest effort. Search at recreation.gov on "Inyo wilderness permits" then bring up the listing (Overnight...Any Trail...Range...<date span>) that shows reservation availability on all trail heads. Last week the July pickings were getting slim. Looking at the listing this morning let's see what nuggets may be left??? Once you spend the FIRST night per permit, you are free to go anywhere else from that point as long as it does not require use of a trail near a trailhead.

Well there are 6 spots open 7/15 or 16 for Sawmill Pass. But then you don't want to croak. And do see 6 spots available for Deer Lakes Friday July 15. That is left because it requires some minor cross country. Note the trail on the topo is bogus. Get your trail info elsewhere. A very good place to be free beyond the first day. The second night you might continue on to Purple Lake or even the Ram Lake basin then third night Duck/Pika Lake or make your trip easy spending a couple nights there.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.55544,-118.97571&z=15&t=T
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Re: Advice for Father/Son 4-night Moderate Backpack in Sierr

Postby Tonydavid » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:27 am

Thank you for the responses! You guys are awesome. Looked at Recreation.gov We don't have to start on July 15th and could go later possibly starting as late as July 22. I see that opens up other trail permits but I don't know the area. Can you help me? Are any of these possibilities?
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Re: Advice for Father/Son 4-night Moderate Backpack in Sierr

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:37 pm

You only have 4 permits available for the 19th, Shadow Creek AA07 in Inyo NF. You could do the Agnew Meadow>Ediza>1000 Is Lake>Agnew via High Trail
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: Advice for Father/Son 4-night Moderate Backpack in Sierr

Postby Tonydavid » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:32 pm

Hi Maverick….I snagged a permit for the 19th for Shadow Creek AA07. We are excited! I was in this area when I was 15, 40 years ago! It is awesome to now take my son who is 13 there. I remember it as being so beautiful. I am a little concerned about the crowds and bugs but hoping for a blessed trip. I put first night at Ediza and reserved for 6 nights with others unspecified. It would be great to be out that long - but might do 4-5 nights Thank you for that lead on permit. I would really appreciate any suggestions on route, campsites, bug avoidance. Will probably car camp somewhere night or two before to acclimate - any suggestions on where?
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Re: Advice for Father/Son 4-night Moderate Backpack in Sierr

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:36 pm

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: Advice for Father/Son 4-night Moderate Backpack in Sierr

Postby Aeropilot » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:46 am

I was going to suggest N Fork of Big Pine Creek as well (Lon Chaney's cabin!)
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Re: Advice for Father/Son 4-night Moderate Backpack in Sierr

Postby brandy » Thu Jul 07, 2016 12:26 pm

Tonydavid wrote:Hi Maverick….I snagged a permit for the 19th for Shadow Creek AA07. We are excited! I was in this area when I was 15, 40 years ago! It is awesome to now take my son who is 13 there. I remember it as being so beautiful. I am a little concerned about the crowds and bugs but hoping for a blessed trip. I put first night at Ediza and reserved for 6 nights with others unspecified. It would be great to be out that long - but might do 4-5 nights Thank you for that lead on permit. I would really appreciate any suggestions on route, campsites, bug avoidance. Will probably car camp somewhere night or two before to acclimate - any suggestions on where?


We just did Ediza Lake on Sunday through Tuesday. It was gorgeous! My big mistake was not getting up early enough to get onto the road before 7:00 a.m. so we could park at the trailhead. Would have been nice to be hiking and avoid the heat of the afternoon. We stayed at Twin Lakes campground the night before, I had made reservations months ago. I think someone here mentioned a walk in campground called Deadman's that is near/in Mammoth. You might try that before your trip.
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Re: Advice for Father/Son 4-night Moderate Backpack in Sierr

Postby LMBSGV » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:07 pm

Below is a list of the Inyo campgrounds. If you want the reassurance of a reservation, then check the Mammoth Village and Mammoth Lakes Basin campgrounds. If you're interested in a same-day non-reservable campground, then the Red's Meadow area campgrounds are a possibility and would put you closer to the trailhead. On a Monday, your chances for a same-day site might be good. Have a great trip.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOC ... 486882.pdf
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