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Yosemite backpackers' campgrounds

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Re: Yosemite backpackers' campgrounds

Postby markskor » Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:12 am

Last year spent most of the season in and out of Tuolumne. On countless occasions I hung with the PCTers and saw the constant resupply process going on...(On the two picnic tables...Pre-sent boxes from home picked up from the Tuolumne store...Rangers milling about...food stuffed right into packs...no cans used)... and even asked a Ranger why no cans seen/needed/required by these thru hikers?
Response - "We just leave them be."

Sigh...A double standard?
Mountainman who swims with trout



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Re: Yosemite backpackers' campgrounds

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:58 am

Doesn't this tempt one to simply procure a thru-hike permit each season and break the rules? Many thru-hikers drop out early anyway and who is going to make you prove you are on a thru-hike?

Inconsistent enforcement of rules definitely breeds contempt of rules. I realize the park service is not staffed enough to chase down all rule breakers, but to just sit there watch and do nothing?

I have always felt that Tuolumne needs an equivelent to Camp 4 - a walk in group site that is not tied to backpacking permits. That would leave the backpakcer's campground to true backpackers.

Camp Curry showers are open to the public, you just have to pay if you are not a registered guest. The showers are now located at the swimming pool and include use of it. So, bring a swim suit too! What the Camp Curry staff frowns upon is you sneaking into the shower without paying.

I always carry some money in dollar bills to cover these small fees. When I used the "free" shower at Tuolumne Lodge I simply gave the tip to the fellow who was on site cleaning. There are no amenites, so I had to dry off with my bandana! If you go to the regular pay shower, you can get a towel. In the big picutre, it is a small price to get that priceless hot shower.

BTW, when in Bishop the cheapest shower is to simply go to the public swimming pool, as long as you do not mind group showering. I usually just put on a bikini and wash up. The fee includes swimming, and it is also really fun to swim for a few minutes too.
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Re: Yosemite backpackers' campgrounds

Postby balzaccom » Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:54 am

I never wear a bikini when showering...:^)
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Re: Yosemite backpackers' campgrounds

Postby hikerchick395 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:42 am

In 2008 I was asked for my permit at the Tuolumne BPr's campground. Just happened that I was at the fee tube the same time as a ranger. My permit got a double look...it was handwritten as the power was out when I got it.

Alas the showers in Tuolumne were closed that year, too.
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Re: Yosemite backpackers' campgrounds

Postby oldranger » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:25 pm

Balzacomm,

I did not need that image! :(

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Re: Yosemite backpackers' campgrounds

Postby freestone » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:23 pm

"We just leave them be."


Trail Magic!!
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Re: Yosemite backpackers' campgrounds

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:23 pm

I don't think it's too bad to just let them be in Yosemite because the journey through Yosemite for a typical PCT thru hiker is only one or two nights in the back country.
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Re: Yosemite backpackers' campgrounds

Postby markskor » Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:04 pm

RoguePhotonic wrote:I don't think it's too bad to just let them be in Yosemite because the journey through Yosemite for a typical PCT thru hiker is only one or two nights in the back country.


Unfortunately, the Sierra’s “Bear can required areas” include many more trail miles than the few day spent crossing Yosemite.
http://sierrawild.gov/bears/food-storage-map
Regulations also mandate having cans for parts of the Whitney Zone, large sections of SEKI, and all the trails around Reds Meadow…maybe 80 miles out of the JMT’s 210 mile total.

I too believe that the current “Trail Magic…Let them be” attitude now being used works, but there is a double standard in place.
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Re: Yosemite backpackers' campgrounds

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:07 pm

It is a bit two-faced for on one hand, the hiker's association is sueing the NP for not enforcing the same regulations for commercial horse packers vs backpackers. This is the topic of an ongoing thread on this forum. Now, if a small contingent of backpackers (thru-hikers) feel they are entitled to waiver from regulations, is not that being a bit hypocritical? We are beginning to sound like all the polititians! :eek: Regulations are for everyone but us!
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Re: Yosemite backpackers' campgrounds

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:37 pm

There are also lockers along the JMT at regular intervals - and the JMT happens to overlap the PCT quite a lot, and also it is the corridor where the bears are at their worst.

Which is not to say I'm terribly happy about the double standard, or that PCTers use the lockers religiously.

I do think that better and consistent food storage is the only way to go and hope the thrus are actually making use of the lockers.
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Re: Yosemite backpackers' campgrounds

Postby snusmumriken » Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:28 pm

Back to Elizabeth's questions:
1. The only thru hikes in the yosemite "rule book" is the JMT and the PCT. If you are on one of those you can stay at the backpackers campground in Tuolomne because those two trails (essentially the same trail) goes through Tuolomne. If you have a permit for one of those you do not need a specific Yosemite permit.
If you are on the PCT and want to diverge from the route and hike down to Yosemite Valley you are supposed to apply for a separate permit for that. In the past most people didn't comply. Now however, you need to get that permit if you want a Half Dome pass, so the PCT hikers are quietly lining up at the Tuolomne permit center to get their Yosemite Valley permits.
If you are just using a Tuolomne Meadows as a resupply point and hiking multiple hikes all starting from Tuolomne Meadows then you are not considered a thru hiker. Instead you should apply for a permit for each trip, and as an extra bonus you get to stay the night before and the night after your trip at the Tuolomne Meadows backpackers camp.

2. Do the backpackers camps ever fill? Theoretically not, every backpacker is supposed to be accomodated by squeezing in to the camp sites. You pay $5 per person, all sites and all bear boxes are shared. Now how this works in practice involves a bit of diplomacy and finesse, but in general it does work.

3. The backpackers camps do not have parking. If you are truely on a thru hike and got your permit outside of Yosemite then your car should be parked at the trail head outside of Yosemite as well. If your thru hike is ending in Yosemite and you have parked your car there then it should be at the trail head.

4. I did half a dozen trips to Yosemite last summer. The ranger patrols were a lot more frequent then I remember. Each night I spent in a backpackers camp a ranger or a volunteer ranger came by to check permits and the $5 campground payment. Not only that but each time I was close to the front country I would run into a ranger asking to see permits, check bear canisters and asking about planned camp sites. I was happy to see this as it means the rangers are being paid to be out there in the back-country, a good thing for them and us!
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Re: Yosemite backpackers' campgrounds

Postby apeman45 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:08 pm

2 summers ago I had my permit and use of a bear canister checked 3 times between TM and Donahue pass. I was kind of surprised but actually glad they were checking. My permit was from TM to Devils Postpile. I assumed they were checking everyone the same. Bear canisters are working and should be enforced on everyone. I've gotten used to them and I no longer have to search for a suitable tree and who wants to camp in the overused bear box camps.

I've stayed in the backpackers camps but it's been a couple years. I remember how at sunset the camps seem to be less than full but at night the population doubles and there are bodies scattered everywhere when you need to answer the call in the middle of the night you have to maneuver through an obstacle course of people. At first light everyone magically is gone. I think that is why the rangers come by at midnight now. I've never been bothered but always post my permit in a prominent location.
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