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First solo trip

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First solo trip

Postby MountainMinstrel » Mon May 11, 2009 10:53 pm

I am looking at doing my first solo trip this month. I am considering going from the Chilnualna trail head up to Crescent Lake. I will probably leave on Friday afternoon spending that night above the falls, then go on to Crescent Lake for night two. Finally, come back out on Sunday so I can be back in Clovis and cleaned up by 5PM. The purpose of this trip is to see how I do solo, not really about great views or mileage. I am not worried about my skills or being prepared (I have always taken all of my own gear in preparation for a solo trip). The thing I am wondering is how I will do psychologically.

Do you think this is a good first solo, or do you have some other suggestions, taking into account that the total time I will have is from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon?
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.



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Re: First solo trip

Postby maverick » Tue May 12, 2009 10:15 am

Hi MountainMinstrel

Why not Paradise Valley in Kings Canyon from Roads End, especially since mileage and
views are not paramount as you noted.
HWY 180 goes right thru Clovis so what could be more convenient? Why drive all the
way up to Yosemite when SEKI is right in your backyard?
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Re: First solo trip

Postby Shawn » Tue May 12, 2009 3:47 pm

FWIW - My first trip was a solo trip (East lake in KCNP). It was the best hiking experience of my (relatively short) number of miles in the mountains. It may be one of those "you either hate it or love it" things.
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Re: First solo trip

Postby MountainMinstrel » Tue May 12, 2009 4:48 pm

Maverick, I did Paradise Valley two years ago (did Rae Lakes loop) so I do not want to go that way. I have been to Chilnualna falls several times on day hikes, and although I have been curious, I have never ventured any further.

As for the drive, I will be leaving straight from work (which will be on the north side of Fresno) so Wawona is actually closer. Plus I am pretty confident the permits will not be a problem there.
Thanks for the input though…it was a good idea!
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
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Re: First solo trip

Postby markskor » Tue May 12, 2009 6:33 pm

" The thing I am wondering is how I will do psychologically."
Interesting...but not to worry. It sounds to me like you are already way past that hurdle in your mind already.

You know you have the right gear, and how to use it...you know the mountains...they have been calling out to you for years...just answer and go.
After the first few "worrisome" miles, I bet you will find that your senses are much more attuned, everything is more intimate, and you feel more alive. Welcome to the solo backpacking family.
FYI, We all go through the same metamorphosis...just let it happen.
Mark
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: First solo trip

Postby maverick » Wed May 13, 2009 7:41 am

My thought in recommending PV was that if you felt uncomfortable being solo you would
at least have other backpackers to lean on.
The Crescent Lake trip is pretty but as you are aware since you have been to the falls
that there are some steep sections before and after the falls though nothing technical
also I think May is still to early since we are talking over 8000 ft and last year in May
there was quite a bit of snow at that elevation.
East Lake is beautiful in July, but will still have snow now, and getting over Bubbs will not
be possible because of the run-off, even if Bubbs was low it not an easy crossing for the
inexperienced.
Merced River Corridor or Hetch Hetchy area would be the other two place to visit this
month but they are even further.
Most people are intimidated by going solo and even more so going off-trail.
One way to get used the the solo style is to go out with some one who has the same
goals.
Go to a large secluded basin and spend time separated from one another, and slowly
increase this time, then sleep in separate camps as things become more comfortable
it is important to do this at your own pace.
Once you get used to being solo you may come to relish the higher sense of
awareness one feels being alone, I do.
You'll feel so much more in tune to your surroundings, and really become in touch with
nature, which you cannot really do if you have others with you.
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Re: First solo trip

Postby MountainMinstrel » Fri May 15, 2009 4:45 pm

I just got off the phone with the permit office. They say that the trail is open and clear at least to the junction but they have no information beyond that. I will try to get to Crescent lake but If I can't well a day in the mountains is a day in the mountains. I am expecting patchy snow and high water crossings with temps 40's-60's @ 8000 ft. At the junction, it is more like 50-70. I was up that far last year on the 31st of May and it was beautiful. I think this year will be about the same. We'll see.

Maverick, thanks for the tips. I have always backpacked as though I was solo, so I am totally confident in my gear. Also, 90% of my day hikes are solo (I prefer this). I have also spent many nights car camping solo (fishing) so I am fairly confident that I will be fine. It will be great to just be out there again.
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
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Re: First solo trip

Postby maverick » Fri May 15, 2009 5:02 pm

MountainMistrel

Post a TR with photo's when you get back please.Thanks
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Re: First solo trip

Postby e_l_green » Sat May 16, 2009 1:45 am

If your day hikes are solo, you'll be fine. I always hike solo if I have any choice in the matter, that way I can go my own pace and do my own thing. And being solo lets you sling your tarp or bivvy in places where a group simply can't camp, well away from the maddening crowds...
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Re: First solo trip

Postby MountainMinstrel » Mon May 25, 2009 5:37 pm

I had a great time this weekend. I never made it to Grouse, Crescent, Johnson Lakes, because I promised my wonderful wife that I would not do anything with a potential for danger and Chilnualna Creek was running pretty high. So I ended up camping both nights above Chilnualna Falls where the stream crossing is. I tried going around on the Deer Camp trail to Chilnualna Lakes but there was still a lot of snow at the junction so I returned to the falls. The only problem I had being solo was that I got to camp Saturday at about 2:00. This left me at alone and a little bored. In the future, I will make sure that I can spend more time moving and less time hanging out. On the plus side, there was no one else camped where I was despite the fact that it was a zoo at the top of the falls. I will post a detailed trip report with pictures when I get them organized.
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
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Re: First solo trip

Postby maverick » Tue May 26, 2009 5:46 pm

When you get to your camp site early, set up, eat something, and go looking for an easy
peak, or lake on the topo, and then go exploring.
That way your body and mind are occupied not allowing your thoughts of being alone
be the focal of your attention.
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