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Memorial Day suggestions South of Yosemite

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Memorial Day suggestions South of Yosemite

Postby Bandito » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:19 pm

I’m from Fresno and I have some friends coming down to do some backpacking in my neck of the woods for Memorial Day. They want to do Paradise Valley but I’m afraid it’s going to be a real wilderness highway…

Anyone have any Western Slope Memorial Day suggestions South of Yosemite and North of Sequoia? A 20-30 mile loop wouldn’t be out of the question or even an up and back would be great. Out of NP would be preferred but we’re open to anything really.



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Re: Memorial Day suggestions South of Yosemite

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:58 pm

There will still be significant snow, or the runoff of same as it melts, that will impact anything above 7000 feet.

Courtright and Wishon will still be closed. Road might be open to Dinkey Creek, not sure about getting up to the wilderness areas there, they will still be under snow. Heading up toward trailheads along Beasore and Minarets, you will be stopped far short by closed roads.

You won't get a 20-30 mile loop. Might be able to do some of the French trail near Mammoth Pool, or Rancheria Falls near Hetch Hetchy.
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Re: Memorial Day suggestions South of Yosemite

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:58 pm

Little to early this year with all this snow Bandito.
Like others who asked for recommendations for this time period you can either hit
Little Yosemite Valley, Hetch Hetchy, or Domeland Wilderness.
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: Memorial Day suggestions South of Yosemite

Postby Bandito » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:28 pm

Will LYV be wilderness highway?

I hate hiking all day into the back country just to end up in a campground, you know?
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Re: Memorial Day suggestions South of Yosemite

Postby rlown » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:36 pm

Bandito, Are you actively looking at any of the snow data? You should be. Given what is still up there, everyone who wants to do an early trip will all gravitate to the same places. So, yes, highway.

I'll add this. You're in Fresno. do a scouting trip, decide for yourself what it looks like, and report back.
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Re: Memorial Day suggestions South of Yosemite

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:56 pm

Bandito wrote "Will LYV be wilderness highway? "

If you mean crowded, yes it will, especially since it is a holiday, and also since
most folks do not want to deal with snow so they will flock to the nearest camp
grounds that area accessible/snow free.
This means LYV, and Rancheria will be busy, and getting permits will not be easy
but if you get to the wilderness office an hour before they open you can land
a same day permit in LYV, and if not, than a next day permit, meaning you will
have to spend the night in the backpacker campground in the Valley.
I was going to recommend a place south of Yosemite which I have visited in early
June, but after calling the Bass Lake Ranger Station, and finding out there is 16" of
snow at the trailheads, never mind.
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: Memorial Day suggestions South of Yosemite

Postby SSSdave » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:07 pm

There actually are many places on the west slopes of the Southern Sierra one might backpack to on that holiday weekend and see no one or few others. Forget all the classic High Sierra landscapes that all too many only consider. One just needs to do their homework and use some creative imagination. Places with seasonal streams though without lakes or fishing. One may need to go off trail in some places though there are certainly lots of ignored trails. Below the 6000 foot elevation snow is likely to be all over in shady forest areas, so look at areas below that. Any publicly known early hiking destination will be mobbed. One needs to crack open topographic maps for those mid elevation areas and will be surprised at all the trails. Start with something at larger scale like the DeLorme Southern California Atlas and then home in on the 7.5m maps. Although many such destinations might not be all that scenic, some such places are awesome. People just need to get off the conventional wisdom of going to places other people have played up or that are in guidebooks.

Even in very very popular zones like near Yosemite Valley. Ever hear of Devils Dance Floor? No trail but easy to find. Or out of Giant Forest, park down at the Marble Fork and backpack onto Ash Peaks Ridge. Will be nicely green, wildflowers, water, no snow, lots of critters, no people, and even some views. Or drive above Pine Flat Lake to just south of Balch Camp and hike up Rogers Ridge to the secret limestone caves.
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Re: Memorial Day suggestions South of Yosemite

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:33 am

Bandito wrote:I’m from Fresno and I have some friends coming down to do some backpacking in my neck of the woods for Memorial Day.


There are good suggestions here. Low altitude access may be a premium this year, like at Hetch-Hetchy and LYV.
Since you are in Fresno and you have some fair access, consider the Southern Sierra. There are some interesting things out of Mountain Home, but they go to high places.
One sure fire I have done early season (mid MAY) is from Lloyd Meadow (Lewis Creek may still be too high this year: call ahead). Both Lloyd and Lewis end up at Jerkey Meadow, and from there it is two days to Kern Canyon and Kern Lakes via Trout Meadows (camp). It is the best time of year to do it (not too hot), and I have never seen significant snow (usually none). Camps are good to excellent with a lot of worthwhile early season scenery. The drive there is pretty nice, you will have the place to yourself (might run into a packer), there is free car-camping and a good parking lot at Lloyd.
From the same trailhead, you could also hike up into the Little Kern River canyon from the bridge area on the trail. See a map.
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Canyon of the Little Kern River looking at Farewell Gap from Jerkey Meadow
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Re: Memorial Day suggestions South of Yosemite

Postby Bandito » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:48 pm

rlown wrote:I'll add this. You're in Fresno. do a scouting trip, decide for yourself what it looks like, and report back.
I really plan to but I was hoping to get a few ideas for good early season trips before I head up the mountain for drive.
-----------------------
Doyle,

Thanks for the awesome tip, the Golden Trout wilderness looks like it has miles of trail under 7k ft. As Memorial day gets closer I'll take a trip up there and/or call the rangers and report back here.

Funny thing is I grew up outside of Porterville and I've never been up there; but that was before I discovered backpacking.
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Re: Memorial Day suggestions South of Yosemite

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:19 pm

Bandito wrote:Thanks for the awesome tip, the Golden Trout wilderness looks like it has miles of trail under 7k ft.

Yes, and miles and miles of solitude at that time of year. I have ran into a few bears along the way, but they are not habituated. They run for the hills. Whistle or talk out loud so you don't surprise them. :nod: Below is a view down the Kern Trench, and you can see one of the Kern Lakes (fishing), Chagoopa Plateau, Red Point and the Kern River.
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Looking up the Kern River.
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