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east coast newbs

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east coast newbs

Postby ScoobyMike » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:00 am

Are you dead set on Yosemite? I hiked smokey mtns a lot, is that where you are from? The Sierras are big and there are plenty of outstanding places away from the National Park crowds



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Re: east coast newbs

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:05 am

I'd just like to second the notion that if you are making the trip out here, you should try and stay longer. These mountains are wonderful and 4 days will go very quickly.
Wonder is rock and water and the life that lives in-between.
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Re: east coast newbs

Postby sparky » Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:08 am

Evaluate whats most important to you. If you dont mind the people go to Yosemite. Yosemite valley is an epic spectacle, and worth the cross country trip.

A backcountry permit allows you to use "backpacker camps" the night before and after the dates on your permit, and is a easier way to score a spot. Leave the car where you can retrieve it the day you leave using the bus system.

You coming all the way across country. You need at least 5 days, but 7 is better to really get a taste of the park.

When in the valley, be hiking just as the sun starts to rise for solitude. Being alone at these places makes a big difference. By noon its like a mall during christmas shopping.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
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Re: east coast newbs

Postby maverick » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:05 pm

Oleander wrote:
I might take some flak for this, but I do not think Yosemite has particularly outstanding backpacking


I agree with this statement 100%.
The area's south of Yosemite extending from the Ansel Adams Wilderness (AAW) to the
Mono Divide has some of the most diverse areas you'll ever find.
In the Minarets, located in the AAW, you'll find one of the most beautiful sections of
the Sierra Crest, and several classic lakes which will be mention by most folks who are
well traveled if asked "What's your favorite lake in the Sierra?".
SEKI (Sequoia-Kings Canyon) is the epitome of a backpacker's park. It has everything
you could wish for contain within its boarders, without the crowds.
Big mountains, deep canyons, big rivers, beautiful lakes, big meadows full of
wildflowers, great fishing, solitude when off trail or more remote parts (Tehipite
Valley for example) of the park, but you have to backpack in to see all this.
Nothing comes easy, longer distances from the west, and very steep passes from the
east are required by a backpacker to get to these jewels in the backcountry, but
they are well worth the effort!

For you to get any flavor of the these beautiful mountains backpacking, you'll need
at least 6 nights on trail.
Here are 2 Sierra classic's that will give you a taste of some of the best the Sierra
has to offer.

Trip 1: Starting from the Devil's Postpile, and ending at Agnew Meadow.
This trip takes you to into the heart of the Minarets, and visits several of the crown
jewels of the Sierra (Lake Ediza, 1000 Is Lake, Minaret Lake, Iceberg Lake just to
name a few). Would also highly recommend visiting Mono Lake either on the way
to, or the way back to the Reno.

Trip 2: North Lake to South Lake loop via Lamarck Col.
Spend a night at Lamarck Lake to acclimate, then go over the class 2 col into Darwin
Canyon. Follow the JMT through Evolution Basin, LeConte Canyon, and then up to
Dusy Basin, over Bishop Pass, and on to South Lake, where you'll hitch a ride back to
North Lake (should be no problem).

If 4 nights is your max, than Yosemite is where you should probably go.
The idea of staying your second night at the Tuolumne backpackers campground
then hiking down from Sunrise Trailhead is a good one, but you must go via Clouds
Rest, it will be the highlight of your trip.
From the Valley take YARTS, and spend your second night is at Tuolumne, unless
you can get to the Valley early enough to catch YARTS to Tuolumne.
It is about 8 miles to Clouds Rest, and than another 3 miles to the trail junction
where there are some good camping spots, and solitude. The next day is down
the Mist Trail to the Valley.
You could also spend 2 nights in the backcountry, one near/at Sunrise Lake, then over
Clouds Rest the next morning, then on to Little Yosemite Valley for the next evening
from where you'll head up the Panorama Trail to Glacier Point (another classic viewing
point), where you can catch the shuttle back to the Valley.
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: east coast newbs

Postby markskor » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:27 pm

maverick wrote:
Oleander wrote:
I might take some flak for this, but I do not think Yosemite has particularly outstanding backpacking


I agree with this statement 100%.


????

Unfortunately, Yosemite's best backpacking is not easily accessible, especially those popular trips mostly done in a brief 2 -3 night hikes. Yosemite does get very crowded near to the Valley and those trails off 120.
Thus, I agree with above and 100% advise everybody to go elsewhere.
Myself, I plan another 60+ days in Yosemite this year - God willing. Hope to do at least five 10-day adventures back high and deep.
BTW, expect much outstanding backpacking and fishing there but I could be wrong...again.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: east coast newbs

Postby oldranger » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:40 pm

Ghostrunner..

After reviewing all the responses I have to agree with rogue.... If you have only 3-4 nights treat this trip as a scouting trip and hit the touristy spots, learn the lay of the land and plan your next trip to spend a couple of weeks. Up Lee Vining Canyon and across the Tioga road, down to the Valley and up to Glacier point can provide lots of distant views of Yosemite Backcountry. A trip to Mammoth and up to Minaret Summit can give you an incredible view of the Ritter Range (which you have seen in several commercials on TV.

Personally having limited time I would find it difficult to spend a morning waiting to get a permit for a popular TH and would rather do a car trip with a day hike or two squeezed in (Gaylor and May Lakes already suggested, 20 lakes basin, trips out of Mammoth come to mind) but there are other alternatives to the N and S of Yosemite.

I think most of us familiar with the Sierra are a bit dumbfounded that you would travel from the e. coast and plan to spend only 3-4 nights in the Sierra. Of course we do not know what restrictions you have on your travel time. I think we might also agree that anytime spent anywhere in the Sierra is time well spent. As you can tell by the posts definitions of best places are almost as numerous as the number of posts! Truth is it is all good!

have fun!

Mike
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Re: east coast newbs

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:57 pm

I think Yosemite DOES have some outstanding backpacking but if I had only one trip to do in the Sierra, that represented the "high Sierra", it would not be in Yosemite. But for those of us who have backpacked in much of the Sierra south of Yosemite, Yosemite offers a lot of new country to see. I do a lot of off-trail travel and it is the little nooks and crannies off the main trails that are the true treasures of Yosemite - Hutchings creek lakes, upper Lyel Fork of the Merced, Stubblefield Canyon, Matterhorn Canyon, Shepherd Lake, McCabe Lake, Cherry Creek to name a few. And the two major canyons- Yosemite Valley and the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne are incomparable. BUT, mid July would not be my choice for these lower elveation trips this year since it looks like a dry year. I actually avoid Yosemite Valley in the summer - too crowded, too polluted, too hot. However, there is NOTHIING like a hike up the Merced River at peak flow in May to early June.
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Re: east coast newbs

Postby sparky » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:12 pm

I prefer seki, but to say its better....is a stretch
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
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Re: east coast newbs

Postby Mike M. » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:17 pm

To really appreciate Yosemite, you have to see it in the off season. Fall and spring are ideal times to visit. If you have no choice and must come out in July, you might think of taking a day-long swing through the valley (with the zillions of tourists) see the major (awesome) sights (waterfalls, towering granite walls, girthy redwoods), then drive through the park via the Tioga Road (Hwy. 120) and venture south to one of the east side trailheads south of Mammouth. These traiheads are all high and put you almost immediately into the high country. The Mono Pass trailhead, outside of Tom's Place, is a favorite. The trailhead starts at almost 10,000 feet; you can hike up to Ruby Lake and do a number of dayhikes, or you can continue over Mono Pass and explore the Mono recesses and Pioneer Basin. This area tends to be under utilized compared to some of the other east side trailheads.

Other favorite options include Bishop Pass (Dusy Basin is spectacular), Piute Pass, Kearsarge Pass (Kearsarge Lakes are beautiful and easily accessible), and Cottonwood Pass. Of these options, Kearsarge is probably the most crowded, followed by Bishop and Piute. Crowded is relative -- nothing compares to the overuse you would see in parts of Yosemite in high season.

All of these traiheads have quotas; Kearsarge, Bishop, and Cottonwood all have very generous quotas. If you do not have a reservation, you can almost always obtain permits (at the ranger station in Bishop) on any weekday; weekends (Fri and Saturday) can be problematic.

Approaching the high country from the west usually takes a little longer, since the trailheads tend to start at much lower elevations. The west side gets more moisture and the range ascends gradually and supports huge areas of remote forestland; the east side is more arid and the range rises abruptly. Because of nature's obstacles and a lot of luck (plus some foresight) no roads bisect the Sierra from east to west between Yosemite and Bakersfield. This means that once you hike over a pass, you're in a true wilderness, clear of any road ends and away from crowds.

Coming from the Appalachians, the country will look and feel quite foreign to you. Very little humidity! The Central Valley is hot (usually 95+ degrees every day in a typical summer), but it's a dry heat. Along Hwy 395, on the east side, it can get hot too, but as you get to elevation (near the trailheads), the temperatures are almost ideal -- in the 60s and 70s during the daytime and quite cold at night (anywhere from 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night).

Enjoy!

Mike
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Re: east coast newbs

Postby lambertiana » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:53 pm

As has already been said by others, good luck getting permits for anything decent in Yosemite. However, I prefer SEKI/Ansel Adams Wilderness over Yosemite, and there are many beautiful areas that are easily accessible, and you have a much better chance of getting a permit. A lot of good suggestions have been given - Minarets/Thousand Island Lake, Dusy Basin, Kearsarge Lakes, to name a few. You just can't go wrong in that part of the Sierras.

If you want a deep canyon that is very similar to Yosemite Valley, with zero people and no quota at the trailhead, check out Tehipite Valley.
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Re: east coast newbs

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:35 pm

Do not send those poor inocent souls down to Tehipite Valley mid July!

All othe suggestions are fabulous.
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Re: east coast newbs

Postby balzaccom » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:03 am

lambertiana wrote:As has already been said by others, good luck getting permits for anything decent in Yosemite.



Huh? Glacier Point/Illilouette is almost completely open. Glen Aulin has huge windows of availability, May Lake and Mono Meadows are wide open, so are Nelson Lake, Ten Lakes and Young Lakes. And as others have noted, it's even easier to get permits for Twin lakes, Virginia Lakes, etc.

Just because you can't hike up the mist trail wearing your backpack doesn't mean the trailheads are all full.
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