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Logistics - permit, Kaiser Pass Road, Vermillion Ferry

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Logistics - permit, Kaiser Pass Road, Vermillion Ferry

Postby Telkwa » Sat Jul 16, 2011 4:10 pm

I asked some of these questions in 2007, for a trip that didn't happen. So here I am, back again, needing some ideas on how to put this together.

We live in the PNW, about 1000 miles from Lake Thomas Edison. The earliest we can hit the road is Saturday morning, August 27. I want to be on the Vermillion Valley Resort ferry Monday morning, August 29. With permit in hand. I haven't submitted for a permit yet, but hope to get one.

I just got off the phone with Prather office. Something's wrong with their phone connection and we could barely hear each other. Tried calling back, no improvement. I asked the gal how we could pick up our permit Monday morning and still get to the ferry by 0900. She said we could pick up the permit at the Eastwood Station or the "High Sierra Works" (?) something or another, which is supposed to be closer to Edison. Maybe close enuf to pick up the permit and get to the boat? Right about then the connection got so bad that further conversation was impossible.

Does any of that make any sense to any of you? If you were to try and get your permit and make it to the boat on the same morning, how would you do it? Can it even be done? We could, if necessary, burn more vacation time and drive into the area a day earlier, but I'd hate to do that just to fulfill paperwork requirements if you know what I mean...

The permit application doesn't say anything about where to pick up the permit. I assume that if we get a permit there's some point at which we can request the pick location?

Way I'm seeing it, we either
1) do everything Monday morning (get permit and make the boat) or
2) we have to drive to the area Sunday afternoon before whichever ranger office closes and get our permit. Then start driving toward Edison and find some place to crash near the reservoir.

Other ideas welcome!!

I think I know the answer, but if you had a choice between a 2001 Forester or a 2010 Prius, which would you take over Kaiser Pass Road?



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Re: Logistics - permit, Kaiser Pass Road, Vermillion Ferry

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Sat Jul 16, 2011 5:00 pm

Telkwa wrote: She said we could pick up the permit at the Eastwood Station or the "High Sierra Works" (?) something or another, which is supposed to be closer to Edison.

Unless I am mistaken, I think they mean the RS near the road junction to Edison and Florence east of Kaiser Pass. I spent the night there once (there is a camp-ground), and the next morning I got a permit and then made the ferry at Edison VVR in plenty of time.

Oh yeah, they may be closed on Sunday, and do take the larger vehicle. That is no trivial road.
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Re: Logistics - permit, Kaiser Pass Road, Vermillion Ferry

Postby Take-a-Hike » Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:28 pm

I've had good luck on 2 or 3 occasions in the past w/the Prather office in calling them a day or 2 in advance of picking up my permit, having them fill the permit out and put in on their porch in the pickup box. This allowed us to drive by either late the nite before or very early in the am and get our permit at a time that was more convenient to us. This is a feature provided by the NFS, but, alas, not by the NPS...much to my dismay.

Oh, one other thing; I did have to pre-reserve the permit...pay them whatever cost it was to get the permit in advance...but it was worth it. Follow their web site instructions/use the form provided.
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Re: Logistics - permit, Kaiser Pass Road, Vermillion Ferry

Postby Telkwa » Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:59 pm

Yeah, I put a $10 check and application in the mailbox this evening.

I'll have to try phoning Prather again in a day or two - man, that connection was crappy. The website says you can pick up the permit as much as 48 hours in advance, but I got the impression they wanted to hand it to you personally. During regular hours. If necessary, we'll ask about a drop-off as you describe.

I talked it over with my wife. Right now we're inclined to drive like we're on a mission Saturday, stay overnite in North CA, then get to Prather by mid-day. Pick up permit, drive to somewhere near Thomas Edison Sunday eve. I'm looking forward to the Kaiser Road. My buddies and me drove to Florence when we were teenagers but I remember very few details. It was the '70's after all...
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Re: Logistics - permit, Kaiser Pass Road, Vermillion Ferry

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:56 am

I would use the night box if necessary and camp in a pullout on the way to the lake. It's National Forest, you can just stop wherever (tho not in places like the ranger station parking lot or near dams).

That road is a little nerve wracking for folks who haven't been on it before - one lane or less, few pullouts, lots of rocks sticking up through the asphalt. I actually find it easier in the dark - you can see the headlights of that F250 towing the boat trailer before it tops the rise and barrels down at you.

They do want to hand it to you personally - conditions are changing like crazy out there.
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Re: Logistics - permit, Kaiser Pass Road, Vermillion Ferry

Postby JackS » Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:38 pm

Eastwood station is at the junction above and next to Huntington Lake. It is where you turn up from the lake towards Kaiser Pass. The High Sierra Ranger station is up the Kaiser road before the turnoff to Edison Lake or Florence Lake. You will drive right by it, can't miss it. Many places to camp alongside the road, if you get to Edison, camping all over just about a mile from Vermillion resort.
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Re: Logistics - permit, Kaiser Pass Road, Vermillion Ferry

Postby caddis » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:50 am

Depending on your destination, you can avoid the Edison ferry and take the one at Florence multiple trips per day) or you can start your hike at Bear Creek diversion.
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Re: Logistics - permit, Kaiser Pass Road, Vermillion Ferry

Postby Telkwa » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:51 am

I was wondering if someone with a badge would come along and roust people quick-camping off the road. Good to know that we won't be in violation of some ordinance or another. That sort of thing wouldn't fly in Yosemite!

It's funny how the internet has changed things. Yesterday I watched some YouTube clips of the Kaiser Pass Road, taken by someone driving it with a broken muffler. Not sure whether the muffler was intact earlier in the day :D It's helpful to at least get a glimpse instead of wondering.
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Re: Logistics - permit, Kaiser Pass Road, Vermillion Ferry

Postby Take-a-Hike » Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:09 am

Not sure about camping along the road....never done it, but there are camping areas around VVR and some spots along the road in....
About the road....enjoy it! The scenery is something else, although you won't have much chance to enjoy it. But the comment about traveling it at nite is true....cause you can see the lights comeing long before the vehicle itself. But even during the day, the traffic isn't bad during the week. You might get a car or two where one or the other will have to pull over, at best, back up, at worst...but it's no big deal. But as mentioned....the trucks w/horse trailors are the worst...they think, know, they own the road. That in itself would be ok, but when they tell you about it, it only makes it worse. I only ran into one the 4 or 5 times I've been on the road and he was a Jack ass....
Enjoy...
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Re: Logistics - permit, Kaiser Pass Road, Vermillion Ferry

Postby balzaccom » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:57 pm

"Dispersed: camping is allowed in this whole area---which means that as long as you are off the road, you can camp where you want. There won't be water or toilets...but if you are used to backpacking, you can make it work very easily.
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Re: Logistics - permit, Kaiser Pass Road, Vermillion Ferry

Postby Troutdog 59 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:33 am

You can "disperse camp" anywhere along the road where you can pulloff, but if you have a campfire you would need a FS campfire permit. Its fine for most baclpackers as they are only looking for a place to sleep, not a true camp. There is a small campground (Bosillio ?) right next to the High Sierra ranger station and Ive slept there as well, but more often I have just pulled off the road near the Ranger Station and thrown down my bag. If you are there right when they open up (I think its 8:00), you can get to VVR and make the ferry by 9:30 pretty easily. I would just suggest checking their current operating hours as budget constraints may have changed when they are open. I dont think you would make the ferry by 9:30 if you pick it up in the morning at the Eastwood Visitor Center. While its only 18 miles or so to Edison, it takes a good 1.5 hrs to get to VVR from Huntington Lake. Good luck with your trip!!!
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Re: Logistics - permit, Kaiser Pass Road, Vermillion Ferry

Postby bheiser1 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:40 pm

Telkwa wrote:I was wondering if someone with a badge would come along and roust people quick-camping off the road. Good to know that we won't be in violation of some ordinance or another. That sort of thing wouldn't fly in Yosemite!


Yup, the difference is the different rules in national forests vs national parks. Dispersed camping isn't allowed in national parks, but is in national forests, with some exceptions as mentioned earlier ... like around high use areas, dams, etc.

It's funny to see this play out around Yosemite, at least near the west entrance(s). Since it takes years and years (grin, exaggeration) to get a campsite reservation in the park, lots of people take advantage of being able to camp along the road on USFS land near the entrance. The main road can look like a campground late on a Friday night :).
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