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Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby rlown » Sun May 09, 2010 7:41 pm

getting a first-come, first served permit isn't that hard. But.. You have to be first in-line. For the Rafferty Creek trail head, there are 12 reserved, 8 first-come rezzies.

Looks like August for that trailhead is pretty much booked: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/trailheads.htm

You'd need to be there waiting on the porch at the wilderness center really, REALLY early.

You can reverse your trip and go through Lyell and back down Rafferty. Same smell, really. You can still visit Vogelsang. Lyell has a higher quota for first come, first serve permits.

And, it never hurts to call the permit office often to see if any spots open up for reservations.



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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby Vidalia » Mon May 10, 2010 7:21 am

Adam, Russ, et al,

We are hoping to be acclimated and get an early start from Tuolumne Meadows since we will be staying in the backpackers campsite the night before. We planned on seeing how we did on the hike in and might stay in Lyell Canyon the first night and then head to Vogelsang the second night. If we felt strong at the end of the first day we were going to either head to Ireland Lake for night one or maybe even push to Vogelsang as suggested. Since you never know how the elevation will affect people we wanted to have a couple of reasonable fall back ideas before we arrived. Although the elevation usually doesn’t get to me you can never be 100% sure. Lyell Canyon looked to be a very nice walk and we might just make it an easy stroll and save the hike to Vogelsang till the second day. If we were to push to Vogelsang the first day we would still need to enter via the Lyell Canyon trail as it is the one on the permit. If we arrive at the trail from Lyell to Ireland Lake/Vogelsang with plenty of gas and feeling strong which way would you suggest we go, the primary trail up past Evelyn Lake and through the pass or to Ireland then overland and drop down to Townsley or Fletcher lakes?

One other thing. What is your opinion of trying to change our permit when we show up to enter via Rafferty Creek and heading directly to the Vogelsang area? We will be driving in to Yosemite Valley the day before our permit starts, dropping our car and taking the YARTS bus to Tuolumne (Saturday 9/11), our permit starts 9/12. This route was already closed out when we applied for our permit but I understand 40% of the allotment is held for walk-ups.

We show Ireland Lake as our first night campsite. How rigid is that issue? From what I have read it seems as long as you enter the trailhead on the permit and hike the mandatory distance from the trailhead you have almost complete freedom to walk and camp where you care to. (Except of course specific areas that have additional requirements/restrictions)

And yes Russ, we plan on fishing. One of my companions is a die-hard fisherperson and he is all over this! He plans on fishing when he can along the way. (he has promised us trout for breakfast at least once during the hike!)
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon May 10, 2010 8:38 am

I did the "overland" route and it is really pretty and you will not likely see people. It is a major backtrack to the trail. If you do this off-trail route, I suggest you bring the 7.5-minute USGS topo for this section. Ireland Lake is quite exposed - can be very windy. You may prefer to camp in timber about a mile short of Ireland Lake and walk to the lake to fish. Yes, the trail up Lyell is easy - you will be able to make good time. I actually left the road at 4PM one year and got to the end of the canyon before dark (car broke down in Sonora, spent night in county park, did not get fixed until late next day). The major elevation gain is on the switchbacks up to Ireland Lake.

Others may disagree with me, but I do not get too hung up on permit issues. Once on the trail I seldom follow my written route exactly. Particularly if you are off-trail you will not likely see a ranger. I always locate my camp about half a mile or more off trails. This really reduces bear problems.
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby adam » Mon May 10, 2010 4:09 pm

Once at the wilderness office they asked where I was going to camp and I didn't know, as I didn't know how far in I would get or what it would be like. They said that they just use that information in case of search and rescue as a place to start looking for you-- but going in at the allowed trailhead is the part they really care about.
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby Vidalia » Fri May 28, 2010 5:53 am

Since we will be driving in from Fresno and leaving a car in Yosemite Valley and catching the YARTS bus to Tuolumne Meadows, where are you required to park? (or where is the best place to park?)

Also, with the airline restrictions concerning fuel, etc, we will need to stop on the way to buy fuel canisters. Anyone know a good place to a couple of Jet Boil canisters and some basic food items along the drive to YV?

Thanks for all the previous help. I have always appreciated forums such as this one and without the generous assistance of the board members things would be much more challenging for us "out of towners"!
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby markskor » Fri May 28, 2010 7:52 am

Vidalia,
Sounds like your Yosemite plans are coming together nicely.
A few observations...
1) Why Fresno, or is this already a done deal? Having made to drive into YNP from all routes, the Sacramento connection ...the 5 to 99 to the 120 puts you in Yosemite Valley in 3 1/2 hours...cheaper flights and rental cars too. Also consider/ recommend the longer but spectacular drive from Reno - tres' scenic too, prefer over the Fresno, 3-hour, twisting road option.
2) There is a designated "Hiker parking lot"...long term, Valley parking between Curry and Happy Isles, but this lot is always full and not as easy (read free shuttle bus friendly) as just parking the car in the large "orchard lot" at Curry...(just in front of the tent cabins). Both lots are free and both are hiker legal. (FYI, the Powers that Be recommend putting a dated "Back in 1 week" note in your car window...I never do this as I think it invites trouble, but HYOH.)
In Yosemite Valley, everything is accessed via the free shuttle bus...makes a big, convoluted, "figure 8" route with Curry in the middle...comes every 10 minutes. Just park close to any bus stop (Which is why I use Curry lot) and forget the car; let it get dusty.
3) Yosemite has a large general store in the Village (just like a Safeway...meat, milk, and produce.) Here you can purchase almost anything...can easily restock a bear can but be advised that their dried drink selection (Crystal Lite, Kool Aid, Wylers, etc) often gets depleted. There are small stores at the Lodge and at Curry too as well as 4 or 5 other places to purchase anything camping - fuel related...(all current canisters, just like REI). There are Mountain Shops, both at Curry and in Tuolumne...Freeze dried food, headlamps, fleece, and all things climbing...all a little bit overpriced but in Yosemite Valley, anything backpacking is available. Tuolumne store, if open, caters a bit more to backpackers...you should have no worries about easily buying Jet Boil canisters in the park. BTW, hamburger stands abound, Degnon's Deli is great for lunch, and liquor is sold everywhere.
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby ERIC » Fri May 28, 2010 8:02 am

Fresno has an REI on the way to Yosemite (CA-41, Friant exit). Herb Bauer Sporting Goods, just south of REI on Blackstone, is also pretty good and not at all out of the way.

Yosemite Village is about 1.5hr drive from that part of Fresno.
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby BSquared » Fri May 28, 2010 1:03 pm

Wow, what a terrific thread! Having talked myself out of the only backpacking opportunity I had for this summer :\ , I've been looking at maps and homing in on the southern Yosemite country for next year, and this been a huge help. Great reading, folks; thanks again!
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby Vidalia » Mon May 31, 2010 6:16 pm

markskor wrote:Why Fresno, or is this already a done deal? Having made to drive into YNP from all routes, the Sacramento connection ...the 5 to 99 to the 120 puts you in Yosemite Valley in 3 1/2 hours...cheaper flights and rental cars too. Also consider/ recommend the longer but spectacular drive from Reno - tres' scenic too, prefer over the Fresno, 3-hour, twisting road option.


I already have tickets from Fresno from Atlanta @ $325 each and a vehicle for the trip at about $21 a day. I hate to let a car sit while on the trail but the flexability and dependability is a bonus.

I looked at Google and Bing maps and they both show the drive as about 98 miles and just under 2 hours. Hope they are correct. We also wanted to check out the Mariposa Groe which we drive right by.

Thanks for the other sugestions. Now we're all working on the physical conditioning and going through gear checklists which is always fun. We're shooting for a "skin-out" weight of around 35 pounds so we have some work to still do. I'm at about 40 pounds right now but I have a few more changes to make.
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby ERIC » Mon May 31, 2010 7:56 pm

Out of Fresno Yosemite Airport, go South on E. Clinton, which turns into Peach, follow Peach to CA-180 West, then take CA-41 North. It's under 2 hrs from the airport, less your potential stop for supplies at REI, etc. Driven it many times.

Enjoy your trip. :thumbsup:
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby Vidalia » Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:36 am

First, I wanted to thank everyone that took the time to post on this thread. Your advice, suggestions and answers have been invaluable to me in planning this trip. I am only a few weeks from heading out and I had one more (although probably not the last!) question.

Since we are planning on climbing Half Dome at the end of our traverse from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley I understand the need (or desire) for leather gloves to handle the cables. I have read varying reports of there being gloves left behind at the bottom for others to use and that these shouldn't be counted on as most will be worn out in the palm area.

Any suggestions or advice on this?

Thanks,
Vidalia
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Best Map/Guide for Southern Yosemite?

Postby BSquared » Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:26 am

Slightly off-topic: what do people recommend as the best maps and/or guidebooks for southern Yosemite (the area touched on in this thread, hopefully southeast as far as Blue Lake)? I'm guessing the Tom Harrison Yosemite National Park Map for a map, but are there any good guidebooks for this area? My criteria for good guidebooks include mileages and altitudes along trails (so I can easily estimate my hiking time) and suggestions of good (and bad) camping spots: something like the Winnett/Morey JMT guide.
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