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Back from first trip to Sierra Nevada/Yosemite

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Back from first trip to Sierra Nevada/Yosemite

Postby amigo » Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:28 am

I'm back from my first-ever trip to the Sierra Nevada/Yosemite. For lack of a better word, wow! Jaw-dropping and a feast for the eyes.

Did some backpacking in Ansel Adams Wilderness (Ediza, Thousand Island Lakes loop) and some hiking in Yosemite - such beautiful and spectacular places! Apart from a few mishaps, had a really good time. Although the crowds weren't as bad as I thought (week days), Still, if I were to go out there again, I'd go in September. I must say you people living within a reasonable distance from this region are very lucky.

Yosemite needs to relax some of its wilderness permit rules - overly complicated and rigid. As well, they have to devise a more efficient method of allowing people through the gates when purchasing passes (perhaps they could start by stop chatting with every customer that goes through and just sell the pass and let the people through). I think they need a proper Visitor's Center at the entrance and bigger wilderness permit buildings to accommodate the number of people needing their services (why must I go to two cash registers to pay for and register a bear canister?! Wouldn't it make more sense if one person was in charge of everything to do with them - and that person can't be giving trail information - go see the trail info person for that so you don't hold up the long line for crying out loud) - it can't be that complicated, goodness. Lastly, is there any plan to not have any private vehicle drive into the valley and instead replace completely by a shuttle system? This would likely drive up Park pass prices but it would make the Valley more appealing, at least for the busy months.

Didn't see one bear on this trip. Not that I wanted to necessarily, but I was expecting to from all the noise about them.

Now it's time to start dreaming about a future Sierra Nevada trip :) .... Rae Lakes? High Sierra trail? lots to think about ...



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Re: Back from first trip to Sierra Nevada/Yosemite

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:36 am

Good to hear you had an excellent time!

I'm afraid that the rules in Yosemite are only going to tighten, if anything. Remember that this place draws millions from around the world, and a great number of them want to backpack - even if they have never gone before and never plan to go again. Relaxing the wilderness permitting rules is to make it easier for people to trample the park into oblivion. They are very serious about the rules because there are so many people trying to break them. Having been on a couple of mutual aid search and rescues in the park and hearing just how very very very busy the SAR team is, I have to say that I agree with keeping things just as they are.

The bear canister rental is probably actually rented from a different entity than the park - they have always done it that way. Not sure if that is the Conservancy or Delaware North.

There has been talk about a transportation system as you describe for years - don't think it will come to pass. That would crush the camping in the valley.
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Re: Back from first trip to Sierra Nevada/Yosemite

Postby markskor » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:40 am

amigo wrote:

Yosemite needs to relax some of its wilderness permit rules - overly complicated and rigid... As well, they have to devise a more efficient method of allowing people through the gates when purchasing passes (perhaps they could start by stop chatting with every customer that goes through and just sell the pass and let the people through). I think they need a proper Visitor's Center at the entrance and bigger wilderness permit buildings to accommodate the number of people needing their services it can't be that complicated, goodness.


Super glad to hear you had a great time on your first Yosemite adventure. By now you realize why we go back...addicting?
Thoughts:
Re: the gate issue:
It is not the rangers who want to chat with every car but the other way around. Have a theory/ firmly believe that something in the air up there, (maybe it is in the water, or perhaps some undetectable mold spore) which somehow turns the general masses into clueless dufusses (dufi?) as soon as they see a waterfall, a rock, or big tree. Then overcome with emotion, they then want to share this confusion with anyone; sadly, the Rangers at the gate are the first ones they encounter.

Re: Regarding the wilderness rules complaint:
Suggest decaff...got to learn to relax my friend. Sure the "process" is a PIA; we all go through it, every time too. Agree that in this linked computer age we now live in, perhaps some streamlining could facilitate the permit system ...probably will evolve into something better eventually - hopefully.
What you have to realize though is that the process has always evolved/ is still evolving …into what you see today. One of the reasons that the process exists is to best manage what we all have found so enticing - the backcountry. While policies may appear strict and rigid, the wilderness can only handle so many visitors before overcrowding takes over.(FYI, Back in the 80's, there were 4 times the number of backpackers going out as today).
Favorite trails then saw overuse, abuse, multiple rings… bad for all. The quota system is today's preferred answer to keeping things safe and sane for everybody. Best advice: plan ahead and reserve your hoped-for trailhead, and then go to the wilderness shack when not peak hours, and at that, realize that the rangers there are only doing their best with who they have standing in front of them…(re-read dufus comment again).
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Back from first trip to Sierra Nevada/Yosemite

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:38 pm

I think Inyo is moving to an online system for permits next year.

Amigo, where did you come from for your trip? Where else have you backpacked? How does the Sierra compare? We're lucky to have the Sierra to hike in, but as a result I've only done a couple trips outside the Sierra (Lost Coast and Lassen).

And where is your trip report? :D
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Re: Back from first trip to Sierra Nevada/Yosemite

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:35 am

Yosemite tried online permits. They stopped doing it a few years ago. I have to wonder how long the current Half Dome system will remain as it is, they're already changing that too.

And, yeah, where are the pictures?
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Re: Back from first trip to Sierra Nevada/Yosemite

Postby amigo » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:47 am

Hey folks. I wish the permit office would let you have your reserved permit more than one day in advance. It avoids having to rush to the permit office before it closes the day prior and so you can be on your way early the day of. I find this rule rigid, although I'm sure they would give me a reason why they do it this way. At least Inyo NF left the permit outside the building which we picked up after it closed.

I understand the requirement for having limits at each trailhead. Although it's definitely disappointing when you can't get a permit for what you want to hike, I understand the need for limits.

We came from the northeast. Trails out here are much harder - from the perspective that even popular trails are generally full of roots and rocks. You have to watch your every step. What I've seen out west so far, the trails are so nice ... which I definitely prefer - a lot easier on the feet and mind. I can hike out west and enjoy the spectacular scenery more easily while hiking. Out here I'm constantly looking down to avoid twisting an ankle or tripping. Anyway, as they say, the grass is always greener on the other side. I sure hope I can travel out there again to hike some other places in the Sierra. What's Lost Coast like? I keep hearing about it.
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Re: Back from first trip to Sierra Nevada/Yosemite

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:51 am

Don't think the national park trails are typical - there are a lot of places the trails are nearly nonexistent! Yosemite trails get a lot of attention from trail crews. National forest trails, not so much....

Lost Coast gets 200 inches of rain per year on average. It's a very popular hike tho. The roads to the trailheads can be impassable in stormy conditions. One of the reasons it's popular - spectacular remote coastline where roads couldn't be put in. Permitting is very different for BLM than for national parks.

I don't doubt that if Yosemite tried to have an overnight box, people would steal permits. They have sufficient issues there that the park has its own jail and courthouse. I've heard of people camping in Little Yosemite Valley having their tents stolen... it's a very different situation there than other locations in California.
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