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Newbie Questions

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Newbie Questions

Postby Clintocter » Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:34 am

Hello all, I've done some searching on the posts here and am sure that these questions and answers have been posted a hundred times, so heres 101.
I would say I am a level 2.5 backpacker. I do at least a couple trips a year. I'm going to do at leat 5 trips this season if it kills me though. I am planning a short 3 day warm up trip in the Domeland Wilderness in early May. It seems like a good pick because it gets so hot there in the summer, and the higher ups are still under alot of snow. My trips are always focused around fly fishing. I will be staging a car at Long Valley campground on the bottom end and hiking in from Kennedy meadows. So here we go.
1. Maps-In researching trail maps I have completely overwhelmed myself. In the past I have relied on the old Delorme for the big picture and GPS once I'm there. It has served me well to an extent, bu I sure have underestimated distance and elevation on a few trips and it sure is painful. What would you reccomend for the best all around mapping resource, be it hard copy and or digital? Is buying software pack from a place like National Geographics maps program worthwhile, or just use googlemaps? Are online subscriptions i.e. trails .com worth having?
2. Out of the way places. In planning this trip I have spoken to a few locals, mainly the bar tender at the Kern River Brewing Co. Grant, the guy knows everything about anywhere you can hike to in the Sierras. He spoke of an old cabin and some indian pictographs in the basin. He gave me directions, but I dont trust myself. The locations are not on any maps I can find. What resources, if any, do you use to locate these historic but obscure locations?
Thanks in advance for your feedback and advice.



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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Ikan Mas » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:54 am

Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't the south Sierra received 140% of average snow to date (a week or two ago)?
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Mar 27, 2011 4:32 pm

Early May is a bit more than a month away. The DWR snowtel site at casa Viejo Meadow, about 12 miles north of Domelands, and at 8,300 feet, currently has 100 inches of snow. I do not think that is going to melt in a month. Domelands is primarily at 7,000 feet elevation. There are trails on the lower Kern River above Kernville that are as low as 3,000 feet. The RIncon Trail is at about 4,000-5,000 feet. These may be clear by early May.

I think the National Geographic TOPO for California is worth it. Expensive, yes. But considering that equivelent paper maps will cost you nearly $10 each, it does not take much to get to $100. There are deals out there. My kids got me the Wyoming maps on a special deal where I could get another state for free, so I got the California maps basically free. I am a great believer in using 7.5 minute USGS maps. But you also need to pick up a Forest Service map of the Golden Trout and Domelands area - the USGS maps show trails that may no longer be maintained and particulary in areas that are logged, roads change a lot. The Forest Service map is worthless for topography, but will let you know what roads and trails are current.

If you use a GPS, get the ones that are based on 7.5-minute USGS maps. I also consider the 2-map series USDA "John Muir Wilderness and Sequoia-Kings Canyon WIlderness" 1:63360 set the best there is for general trip planning. I think it is about $15 at REI.
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby balzaccom » Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:54 pm

I'll also put in a good word here for acme mapper. Free topos on the internet, that you can print out to varying scales.

i like the Nat Geo maps, but sometimes they get so heavy with the different color coding that you can't read the topo lines. That's bad.

http://mapper.acme.com/
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:02 pm

I export my maps that I make in National Geographic TOPO as jpg files and then use my photo processing software to adjust the colors - you can "tone down" the annoying colors that obscure the contour lines. If you simply print out of TOPO you can get maps that do seem too deep in greens that mask the contour lines.
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby Jason » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:20 am

I too have the National Geographic TOPO! software for California. I like it, especially the ability to draw a route and get mileage and elevation profile estimates, but I wish it had another zoom level or two.

I hadn't heard of Acme Mapper before, but it looks pretty cool. I'll have to play with that for a while. If nothing else, it's good for day dreaming here at work!
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Re: Newbie Questions

Postby SPeacock » Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:45 am

A free map system is:

http://www.topo.com/explore

The nice thing about this application is that you can email links for others that don't have the software installed to look at a trail.

For a paper product I like

TomHarrisonMaps.com

They are a bit restrictive in what is covered.
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