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backpacking trip advice

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backpacking trip advice

Postby maria » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:02 pm

I am interested in backpacking at the end of July - a 4 day trip. Our friends are relative backpacking beginners.A bit worried about the snow. We are in SF - so Yosemite or Tahoe region would be good - maybe Lakes Basin? Most interested in scenery, access to water (lakes or river).



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Re: backpacking trip advice

Postby Satsuma » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:50 pm

I think Dinkey Lakes is pretty good - not too hard for beginners and very scenic. I would also recommend Florence Lake -> Hot Springs -> Sally Keys, nice area and getting permits easier then in Yosemete.
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Re: backpacking trip advice

Postby tim » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:00 pm

Desolation Wilderness is a great place to go for a first trip. Lake Aloha is a good base that is only 3 miles in if you take the boat across Echo Lake. Lots of water and bare granite. Thats where I started my kids. You can do nice day trips from there to other lakes or Pyramid Peak if you are more ambitious. Permits are online now so easy to figure out. Not quite the scenery of Yosemite but probably less snow/stream problems this month.

Alternatively if you're up for a longer drive then see my Cottonwood Pass/Miter Basin trip from 2 weeks ago. Stunning scenery - best place I've ever been in the backcountry and pretty easy hiking apart from the altitude. No snow problems there.
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Re: backpacking trip advice

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:40 am

Dinkey is actually getting harder to get reserved permits for - and the road to Willow Meadow is probably not for someone who's not used to deeply rutted and rough roads. Tho I've seen passenger cars of all kinds up there, it's usually recommended only for higher clearance vehicles. Cliff Lake side is paved all the way out. It's a bit short on miles for a four day trip but if you fish there's plenty to do.

Wherever you go, be aware that anywhere over 8,000 - 9,000 feet is going to probably have varying snow coverage. And water crossings will be high. Dinkey Creek claimed a kayaker already.
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Re: backpacking trip advice

Postby balzaccom » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:49 am

If you are in SF, and looking for a place that is easy to get to, think about Emigrant or Carson Iceberg wildernesses. These are off Highway 108 above Sonora, east of Stockton/Modesto. The permits are free, and they do not have trail quotas, so you should have no trouble getting one (not the case in Yosemite).

Dinkey Lakes would take another hour or two of driving time in each direction.

Trips? From Crabtree Cabin to Bear lake and Granite Lake in Emigrant. Clark Fork or Lost Lake in Carson-Iceberg. These are lower elevation hikes and the trails are now open and more or less snow free.

All of those are under six miles one way...and lead to some lovely lakes and views. And you can get the permit on the day you hike from the Ranger Station at Pincrest Lake...which is right on your way to the trail head.

And there are trip reports on all of these ( and a lot more!) on our website.
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check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: backpacking trip advice

Postby SSSdave » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:37 am

End of July this summer, you ought still stay out of many Sierra Crest zones due to the very late snow pack and ought be wary of any trails that cross major unbridged streams. With beginners, the better strategy is short trail distances and limit the potential for unpleasantness and pain. Discomforts often occur when a beginner is using new equipment. Otherwise one may turn a person off to backpacking such that they might never try it again. And if a trip is scenic and inspiring, they are likely to become hooked, so it is worthwhile bringing them someplace worthwhile. With 4 days, you could hike two moderate days in then two days out but I would recommend something more relaxed with a layover in order to give your beginners the opportunity to slow down and take in the High Sierra environment. Balzaccom's advice was good and there are other nearby lakes or streams one could continue on to in those zones.

Another idea would be to drive over Sonora Pass on state route 104 then south on US395 to the Green Creek trailhead which is just south of Bridgeport where you would also be picking up a wilderness permit at the ranger station there. An advantage of hiking from the eastside of the Sierra is it tends to be immediately spectacular with only short hiking necessary to reach impressive areas. From the trailhead, East Lake is a wonderful destination and in fact was on the cover of the first edition of the famous Wilderness Press backpacking guide Sierra North.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=38.07310,-119.29238&z=14&t=T

The route is a modest 4 miles and about 1500 feet of uphill vertical to reach. Camping mid lake along the scenic shore trail is recommend. There is a good population of rainbow and eastern brook trout in the lake. If one wishes to explore or move camp, there are several more small lakes just up the trail that one could easily hike all the way back to the trailhead from.

David
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Re: backpacking trip advice

Postby balzaccom » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:34 pm

Sonora Pass is highway 108. Or Highway 4 over Ebbetts pass.

But to get there, you'll have to drive right by the Pincrest Ranger Station....and keep going another two hours.
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