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Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

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Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby mafkdcio » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:59 pm

I'm actually posting this on behalf of myself and my dad. We're both from Alaska (although I live in New York now) and are in the beginning stages of planning a trip to the Sierras for this August. My dad grew up in the Bay Area and has done a moderate amount of hiking in the Sierras, whereas I have never been. Here's our information:

What level of backpacking experience do you have?
We've done a lot of hiking in Alaska and are both in pretty good shape. I've done a few longer trips but not enough to call myself very experienced. My dad did a lot of hiking when he was younger, although the only overnight trip he's done in the past decade or so was 3 nights in Alaska last summer. He's in good shape, though, and does a lot of day hikes/will have walked 18 holes of golf every day for three months by the end of summer. He has two artificial hips and sometimes experiences minor knee pain, but he's pretty great with steep ascents/descents.


What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
We're fine with most terrain, although some of it can be hard on my dad's knees.


What is your main interest?
MOUNTAINS. I'm someone who loves, loves, loves climbing peaks. That said, my dad isn't a huge fan of constant ups and downs. I'd say we're looking for something that would have us going up mountains for maybe 2/5 days but would be easier the other days. I'd definitely like to be surrounded by peaks if we can't climb them.

How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead?
I'm thinking we'd like to do a 4- or 5-day trip.

How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers?
I think 7-10 would be a good estimate, depending on how much climbing is involved.

Did you prefer a loop or out and back trip?
I'd prefer a loop, or something that would have us finish in a different place than we started (I don't like going over the same terrain twice!). Logistically, it might be difficult to figure out the latter, so I'd say a loop is our best bet.

Is there a particular area in the Sierra that your most interested in(Yosemite, SEKI
western sierra start or eastern start ect.)?

Whatever will give us the greatest views of the mountains!

Will you be hiking with a dog?
No.

Any suggestions would be fantastic. I tried looking things up online and got a little overwhelmed.

Thanks,
Jean



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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:55 pm

Welcome aboard HST.

There are a lot of great options for you. I'll just mention three.

For Yosemite hiking, stay away from the Happy Isles/Glacier Point trailheads. Check out the High Sierra Camp loop, which can be done as a backpacking trip without making reservations at the camp itself. All the camps have backpacker campsites with bear boxes. For you, there will be peak walkups like Mt Hoffman at May Lake, Vogelsang or Fletcher Peak at Vogelsang HSC, some dome action near Tuolumne Meadows like Lembert, Puppy or Pothole Dome, and from Sunrise HSC you and dad could both do Clouds Rest without taxing his knees too much - there are a few segments of granite steps on part of that route but nothing at all like the endless stairs of the Mist Trail. There's plenty of water on the High Sierra Loop and you would not even have to camp at the camps themselves. Start the loop after a couple days acclimation camping at Tuolumne Meadows, and you would be set. And if you wanted a hot dinner you didn't prepare yourself, you could check at one of the HSCs to see if any are available as you go by... they book up full in a hurry, but sometimes people cancel. The thing about the loop is you will be crossing the road in the middle - if you or dad or both are tired of hiking you could hop on the Tioga shuttle back to the car. You could do half the loop, up to Vogelsang from Tuolumne, to Sunrise, to Clouds Rest, and then go do something else in Yosemite if you wanted. And there are certainly plenty of things to do.

There are other loop options from Tioga Road, but some drop pretty low. Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne would be awesome in July - but the switchbacks coming up out of the canyon to White Wolf at the end are brutal if timed wrong, as I found out... it's possible to break the climb in two parts tho, as there is a stream and good campsites on the way up. Planning it so you do most of the climb in the morning and stop early would make that a less strenuous cap to a beautiful trip full of waterfalls. Once at White Wolf you could spend the night in the backpacker sites (5/person), eat dinner at the resort restaurant, and hop on YARTS back to the car in the morning.

In Sequoia - Kings Canyon, Rae Lakes loop is very popular for good reason - it's more awesome scenery in the high Sierra. There's one pass, and lots of possible side trips for you to do. Campsites can be spaced out to suit you and there are bear boxes at regular intervals. Permitting is a little easier than it is in Yosemite.

In either park you would want to try to shoot for July - August - early September, and start trying to get a reserved permit now - permits for SEKI just opened March 1. Yosemite has a more complicated system so I suggest reviewing the wilderness permit website at nps.gov/yose for detailed info on when to call/fax them for particular dates.
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:22 pm

Hi Jean

Welcome to HST!
With you time limit in mind, and you dad's restrictions in mind, I would recommend
the Rae Lakes Loop which is around 40 miles, one major pass (Glen Pass), but
everything is on trail.
From Roads End you hike to Middle or Upper Paradise Valley, the next day you
cross Woods Creek and head up thru the Castle Dome area and on to the the Woods
Creek Bridge Crossing area for the night.
Then its on to Dollar Lake, and up into Rae Lakes Basin, if there a lot of folks
then go up to Dragon Lake for some solitude.
Get an early start for Glen Pass, hike Charlotte Lake, Vidette Meadow, and down
to Junction Meadow from where you'll hike back out to Roads End.
An extra day would be really nice so you could do a day hike into 60 Lakes Basin
from Rae Lakes or just for a layover to soak in the scenery.
Agnew Meadows-Shadow Lake-Lake Ediza-1000 Is Lake- back via High Trail in
the Ansel Adams Wilderness out of Mammoth is another classic with even better
scenery and could be done in 5 days, and the views of the Minarets, Banner &
Ritter Peaks reflecting in 1000 Is Lake, beautiful Lake Ediza with its sunrise views
are just outstanding.
You'll be able to google/ or do a search here of either trips and find numerous trip
reports with a lot of picture to help you make your decision.
Other classics would take at least 7 days or more, with more cross country passes and
more difficult terrain like the North Lake-South Lake via Lamarck Col, and the
more involved Sphinx Lake-Lake Reflection-East Lake via Longley Pass for example.
IMO for the allotted time, and physical restrictions, the Minarets will definitely give
the most exposure to what your seeking.
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: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby balzaccom » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:25 pm

I'm going to put in a few words for the Emigrant wilderness here. There are fewer people, great scenery, good fishing, and basically no permit problems at all. You could enter through Crabree Trailhead, do the hike through Gem, Jewelry, and Deer Lakes, come back through Woods Lake and Grouse lake, or even do a little (but well-marked) cross country down to Yellowhammer and Big Lakes, out to the Trailhead again.

There are links to this hike on our website, as well as hikes off just about every other highway in the Sierra. Check them out, and let us know what you think!
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:56 pm

There are several good options for easy to moderate hikes that involve areas with nice peaks. The Bishop Creek area seems to offer the greatest concentration of nice peaks with a range of difficulty.

The entire Bishop Creek area is loaded with easily reachable peaks to delight peak climbers with all tastes. For non-technical peaks, Mt Agassiz is hard to beat for a nice-looking peak with a mind blowing view. The Cloudripper is another easy peak with a great view. Mt Goode, Johnson Peak, as well as Mt. Wallace to the north of it are nice peaks. Peaks such as Gilbert, Thompson get a bit harder (former with some ice axe work in a chute the latter with some scrambling. With some scrambling and exposure you have sharper summits such as Mt. Haeckel and Mt. Emerson, and Picture Puzzle. Then there are more technical peaks such as Mt Humphreys and Mt. Darwin, and the finest group of peaks to many in the Sierra, the Palisades that extend southward from Mt. Agassiz. The second highest peak in the Palisades (and 4th highest peak in the High Sierra after Whitney, Williamson, and North Palisade), Mt. Sill is not technically difficult and features what some consider to be the finest view from a summit in the Sierra--I've seen many great summit views, but I have a hard time disagreeing with anyone who wishes to proclaim Sill's view the best. One can take their pick of these peaks with short overnighters, dayhikes or somewhat longer trips. Not technically Bishop Creek but near enough to be easily accessed if stringing together a series of shorter trips, is Horton Creek, that features the imposing but easy Mt Tom and the fairly easy and handsome Basin Mtn.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:05 pm

Given that your Dad has hip replacements, I think 10 miles a day is a bit much. I am 62, have my original hips, and am in good shape, and get pretty achy after 10 miles, with the typical 2000 foot gain. I do not know how old your Dad is, but downhill is harder than uphill for a lot of us old folks. I would say 10 miles basically on the flat would be OK, but on those days where you go over passes, cut that down to about 5-6 miles. I always stop about 3PM not because I am tired,but because my knees will not take any more. One thing that will help is, if you can convince your Dad (male ego problem here) to let you carry more of the weight, you will be able to travel farther each day and his hips and knees will feel better. Be sure he uses trekking poles-a godsend for old knees.

If you like solitude, stay off the John Muir Trail in August. If you do not mind crowded trails with your scenery, the JMT is fine. The least elevation gain from trailheads on the east side is North Lake (Piute Pass trail), South Lake (Dusy Basin trail), Sabrina Lake, Kesearge Pass and Cottonwood Lakes. All have spectacular scenery from the start. Another quick entry into the mountains is from Glacier Lodge up to First, Second, Third .... etc. lakes. It is a small basin with spectacular scenery and lots of exploring potential. Another spectacular 4-5 day trip would be from Crescent Meadow to Hamilton Lake, with day-hike to Keweah Pass. Woods Lake loop will be crowded, although scenic.
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby mafkdcio » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:11 am

Hi Again,

Thanks everyone for your fantastic suggestions! They've definitely provided us with a good starting point.

Right now my top choices would be Rae Lakes Loop, the High Trail, and the Bishop Creek area. Giantbrookie, do you have any specific route suggestions for the Bishop Creek area? My dad sent me this link (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin ... d_id=23926) about a trip that included "Bishop Pass," which I assume is in the area but can't be sure (sorry, my knowledge of this part of the country is painfully lacking!). A route suggestion would be most welcome, or your thoughts on the route that hiker did (and links to maps would be great! Google has been pretty helpful, but I couldn't find a good one for this area). Mt. Sill looks amazing!

Wandering daisy, thank you for your comments. I think that the fact that my dad has two fake hips may have given a somewhat skewed impression of his abilities. In fact, his hips do not slow him down but rather have made him quite a capable hiker. He experiences no pain in his hips when hiking. His knee can be an issue, but we have done a number of 13-15 hour day hikes and he has performed amazingly. However, you make a good point, and since we will be going for multiple days and be carrying considerably more weight on our backs (plus the altitude!), I shouldn't be overly optimistic about what we can and cannot do. Which is why I was hoping for something that would allow us to bag some peaks but also have a couple of more relaxed days. We could take a trip that would be somewhat strenuous in 4-5 days and extend it by a couple of days or so. I will definitely keep your advice in mind. Also just for your information, he is 56.

Thanks again for all your help! I wasn't expecting to get responses so soon! Keep your suggestions coming!

Thanks,
Jean
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby East Side Hiker » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:41 am

I suggest going to Tuolumne Mdw and hiking to its headwaters. You can spend many memorable days wandering around up there (watch out for bears though). There are several side trails, both to the west and the east, that are fanatstic day hikes.
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby oldranger » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:49 am

All the posted alternatives are great. Another alternative if getting a permit for the other trips is difficult is to do the loop that includes part of the High Sierra Trail but goes over Elizabeth Pass, down deadman canyon, up Sugarloaf creek then over Silliman Pass before returning to Giant forest. If permits are an issue start this trip midweek from the Sunset Meadow TH and consider doing the reverse direction. The trail thru Sugarloaf can be dusty but the first couple miles out of Cedar Grove isn't the most fun either. The trip can be shortened by heading up to the Tablelands from Big Bird then Dropping into any of the Canyons that feed into Sugarloaf. If done correctly (requires good map reading and route selection) this is not technically difficult. Dropping into Upper Crowley Canyon is easy--there is even the remnant of an old trail and there is a great campsite suitable for two on a small bench right near the outlet of Crescent Lake.

I'm not saying this is any better than the other alternatives but can be a "go to" route if the others are unavailable. For two people I wouldn't worry about a reservation. I'm considerably older than your dad but with (knock on wood) no issues with my knees and a slightly sore hip and a nasty left shoulder (doesn't affect me hiking but can hurt like h--- without ibuprophen when skiing). If it wasn't for the fact that I have been thru the area countless times and my time in the BC is growing short with new places to visit I wouldn't hesitate to do this trip.

Mike
Last edited by oldranger on Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:34 pm

Your Dad is just a youngster! So glad his new hips are working so well. My main point is that there still is an unknown factor since he has not done a long trip with backpack in a decade. You mentioned that you would also like to climb. If you plan too many miles walking and cannot make the schedule you will loose climbing days. On the other hand, if you plan short hiking in and out days and you go faster, well, that just leaves you with more time to climb and explore! I am actually planning a 5.5 day trip to do with two of my climbing friends so have worked out a fair amount of routes on paper. The devil is in the details! When you want to spend one if not two days climbing, that does not leave a lot of time to walk in and out. The trip you linked to is a lot of walking! No climbing there, even if you did it in your time frame. I do not think a trip like that would serve your stated goals.
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby maverick » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:25 pm

That trip you posted a link to is the long version of the North Lake to South Lake trip.
Even though these guys did it fast do not be fooled into thinking that it is a walk in the
park.
Plus why would you want to rush thru one of the prettiest sections of the Sierra, there
are several areas on this route that you could spend a week(at least) exploring.
If you want to visit a beautiful basin with great climbing opportunities, than from
South Lake head up over Bishop Pass into Dusy Basin is where you will find gorgeous
lakes, great scenic views to the west and of the towering Palisades, a climbers mecca
to your east.
You can spend the first day acclimating at one of the lower lakes below the pass
and go over on day 2, and base camp, while you explore the rest of the basin and
bag a few of some of the best peaks in the Sierra.
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: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:22 pm

I'd suggest starting to dayhike with the backpacks you intend to use, adding more weight incrementally, to try things out well before the long trip.

It really sucks to be out some miles with a loaded backpack and have to turn back. A friend retired and starting hiking again after many years, dayhiked often, and reassured the rest of us he was honing the gear list and he would be good to go for a five day trip of his dreams on the JMT - we were barely five miles from the trailhead on the flattest walking possible (Lyell Canyon) and he slowed to a crawl. Turned out he did not do any hiking at all with his backpack beforehand. The rest of us had all been backpacking many times in the previous few years. Another in our number volunteered to go back with him. He had reserved the permit for our group and done a lot of planning and dreaming, and didn't get to go at all, after all his dayhiking. There was no way he could have hauled that 70 liter pack full of gear up Donahue Pass.

I'm sure your dad is in better shape than my friend.... Still, better safe than sorry.
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