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Charlotte Lake Resupply

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Charlotte Lake Resupply

Postby f212 » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:43 pm

Planning for a JMT jaunt this August/September starting in North Lake (Piute Pass) and going to Whitney. Calculating that this will be about a 13-15 dayer, much too long for my bear can to hold without resupply

I ran into a few JMTers last year when I was doing the Rae Lakes loop who were resupplying at the Charlotte Lake ranger station. It was expensive and you had to nail the timing, but it was possible. Will that be true this season? How do I go about doing it? Who do I contact?

If it's not an option this season, I saw from the venerable St. George (gdurkee) in the "Caching food in bear boxes on the JMT" thread that one could stash food in a long-term bear box in Onion valley. Is that what people usually do? Is resupplying in Kings Canyon an option? Do people just cram their food and speed-hike this section?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.



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Re: Charlotte Lake Resupply

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:27 pm

I understood the bear box discussion referred to the bear boxes that are in the back country. Onion Valley is a trailhead. Stashing food in a bear box at a trailhead is a different matter. People stash car-camping food in these when they are out on the trail. Therefore, I do not see why you could not put a stash in them for 7-9 days and pick it up.

Resupply at any given point, including the Ranger Station is probably a drop-pack by a commercial horse packer. These generally run $150+ per packhorse plus about $200+ for the wrangler plus 15% gratuity. Very expensive, unless you can go in with 4-6 other people and share the cost.
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Re: Charlotte Lake Resupply

Postby f212 » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:38 pm

Thanks, WD. Knew it was steep in $$$, but didn't know it was that much!

Anyone got a number I can call for details? Anyone interested in grouping up to defray costs for a food drop at Charlotte Lake around the first few days of September?

Thx!
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Re: Charlotte Lake Resupply

Postby hikerduane » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:32 am

I know at South Lake, the FS was dating "stuff" left in bear boxes to prevent too much of this. That way I'm guessing other folks can have room to put their food while they are out. I don't believe the bear boxes were meant for resupplies, just a temporary place while folks were out for a day or two. A few years ago, the boxes were all full, plus two had broken doors so they were useless, I had to leave my empty ice chest opened, in the back of my pickup. Glad I had it and not my ca,r I would have been screwed. Instead of long term storage, I think you need to find another way, either hitchhike to a store or have someone bring food in and take your garbage out. It is frowned on if not illegal, pretrip, hike in and stash a canister by a pass, problem is, when the trip is over you have to retrieve it. I know one guy who does this, lots of driving.
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Re: Charlotte Lake Resupply

Postby SPeacock » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:08 am

You are not allowed to leave 'unattended' supplies in wilderness bear boxes. That includes resupply put in by you to be picked up later. You have a good chance of it being disposed of by the ranger who is responsible packing all the 'left overs' out. You could be fined if they figure out who the food belongs to.

Rent a Bearicade Expedition? http://www.wild-ideas.net/index2.html. I was able to put in 16 days.

September might be a bit late for the resident manager of Onion Valley's campground. You could probably call the Forest Service and see if they have a phone number for them.

The other option is to take a day over Kearsarge Pass and get down to Independence and pick it up as General Delivery from the US Post Office there. Be sure to check hours and days open.
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Re: Charlotte Lake Resupply

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:39 pm

I do not think bear boxes at the trailhead have time limits. Say I get a permit for a 10-day trip and stash my car-camping food for 10 days. That certainly is legal since I am out on a 10 day trip. Of course, in this case I would not store perishables. To be sure I am legal, I attach a copy of my wilderness permit to the food.

Instead of leaving food in the back of a truck if the boxes were full, I would have gone through the boxes and taken out non-food items (such as dishes, pots etc) to make room for the food. You could put the non-food items next to the bear box. It frustrates me when people put stuff in the bear box that does not need to go in the bear box. I have no reservations of taking out stuff that does not need to be there. The point of the bear boxes is that bears do not get into people food and get addicted to people food. Given the choice between two less than ideal scenarios - dishes that a bear may lick clean out of the bear box, or actual food in the back of a pickup, I would choose the former.

This is just an idea, but if the FS were to provide one appropriate sized plastic bag for food storage in the bear box when you got your permit and simply make any amount that does not fit into that bag illegal (rangers would dump) maybe the overflowing bear box problem could be mitigated. Many bear boxes get full because people simply throw in their entire cooler. We all can do our share in keeping these traihead boxes available for everyone and not hog the space.
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Re: Charlotte Lake Resupply

Postby hikerduane » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:30 pm

Good points Nancy, after I posted this morning, I realized that someone could be out for more than a day or two. I wonder how long after the FS puts a dated sticker on stuff that they then dispose of it? I've only seen this at South Lake so far so have never asked when getting a permit. Of course, the two inoperable bear boxes didn't help any when I was last there.
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Re: Charlotte Lake Resupply

Postby f212 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:44 pm

Thanks all for the comments about bear boxes and stuff, but I'm still curious as to how others have dealt with the food issue on the JMT leg stretching from Piute Creek to Whitney Portal? Have any readers covered that section personally? What did you do? What have others done that you think worked?

thx!
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Re: Charlotte Lake Resupply

Postby Mike M. » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:56 am

How many days do you expect to be on the trail from Piute Pass to Whitney Portal?

You should comfortably be able to complete the hike in 12 to 14 days, earlier if you average 10 miles a day. Why resupply at all? I would strongly encourage you to carry what you need on your back for that period and forget about resupplying. It is true you won't be able to fit all your food in one bear canister at first, but you are a through hiker and any ranger you meet will give you the benefit of the doubt as long as you have at least one bear canister with you. For the overflow food, you will need to hang some of your food in bear country, or use the bear boxes you come across along the way. You will begin to see these bear-proof storage lockers in the Woods Creek area -- here's a site that lists locations (scroll down): http://www.sequoia.national-park.com/camping.htm#bc

I don't like interrupting a hike to jump out to civilization for a resupply. Better to carry a few more pounds at first and relish a total immersion into the back country.

Mike
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Re: Charlotte Lake Resupply

Postby f212 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:54 pm

"any ranger you meet will give you the benefit of the doubt as long as you have at least one bear canister with you"

Really, Mike? Wow, I had no idea. I have no problem taking enough food to carry me through, the problem is fitting it in to one bear can. I like to take my time hiking so I'll probably be out about 12 days. I can't imagine 12 days of food in my Bearikade. Even the expedition Bearikade seems small.

What do others think of this "stuff a can and hang the rest" strategy?
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Re: Charlotte Lake Resupply

Postby oldranger » Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:46 am

f212

It is my understanding from George that the bears on the Rae Lakes Loop (especially upper Woods, Rae Lakes, and Vidette are pretty educated and persistent. So that is the area where containers or use of bear boxes are required in most of the rest of the park counterbalancing is still ok. But remember that counterbalancing is just a delaying tactic. If you choose to fudge find an area off the main trail, find the perfect tree (branch high enough that you can get the food close to 10 feet high, and 10 ft from the trunk and at the place your rope goes over no bigger around than your wrist) then make sure you as close to perfectly balance your loads as possible (so the bear can not shake the branch to work one bag lower). Finally sleep close and be prepared to defend your food with a barrage of rocks (away from the critters face) and be willing to chase said critter a couple hundred yards beyond your camp. Remember once the bear has your food it is hers and she will defend it from you!

Finally I'd think that you would have consumed enough food by the time that you cross Pinchot Pass that you could store all your food in the bearicade. Counter balancing before Pinchot is legal!

Sounds like a great trip!

Mike
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Re: Charlotte Lake Resupply

Postby f212 » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:41 pm

Thanks so much for your great info, Mike, and the rest of you as well. I'm weighing all options.

Here's what I've gathered so far: For a JMT resupply between the Piute Creek junction to Whitney Portal, the best choices seem to be:

1. No resupply: Counter-balance down to Pinchot, and bear can it from Pinchot to Whitney Portal.
-> Pluses: No pre-organization, no resupply $$$, no extra milage.
-> Minuses: Heavy, risky in terms of the bear situation.

2. On trail resupply using friends: Meet them at Kearsarge pass, the JMT junction with Kearsarge pass, or at Charlotte lake.
-> Pluses: Light, probably no resupply $$$, fun for friends and family, not much extra milage, minimal bear risk.
-> Minuses: Pre-organization necessary, need friends willing to do it.

3. On trail resupply using a pack station: Meet them at Charlotte Lake.
-> Pluses: Light, don't need friends, not much extra milage, minimal bear risk.
-> Minuses: $$$ big time, pre-organization, must get the timing right or loose your food and your money.

4. Resupply at Onion Valley: Leave food in a bear box there, branch off the JMT to Onion Valley during the hike, and then hike back to the JMT.
-> Pluses: not much pre-organization, no $$$, fairly light, no need for friends, minimal bear risk.
-> Minuses: lots of extra milage, people could swipe your food or rangers could clear it out.

As a little giveback to the community, here are some web addrs that have helped me with the pack station options:

Here's something about the closest packer to Kersarge, Sequoia-Kings Pack Train, from Wild Ideas, the makers of the Bearikade:
http://horse-pack-trips.gordonsguide.co ... /index.cfm

Also, a general resource for Eastern Sierra packstations from the Forest Service:
http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/recreation ... ions.shtml

Hope this helps others. Any more info is greatly appreciated.
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