Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you | High Sierra Topix  

Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Re: Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you

Postby quentinc » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:41 pm

Daisy makes an interesting point about conditions affecting how nice a place seems. I often find that being on-trail vs. off-trail makes all the difference. I realize that a lot of times unpleasant trail routing is intended to protect natural features, like meadows, but there are trails that I swear were designed purely to minimize your enjoyment!

Like Humphreys Basin -- taking the trail straight through it is kind of dull, but every time I've wandered off-trail it's been magic. In lower Humphreys, I try to follow Piute Creek as much as possible and it's beautiful; the trail seems determined to keep you as far away from the creek as possible.

Same thing with the stretch from the JMT to Sawmill Pass. I found the trail absolutely dreadful, until I started going x-c along the stream and around the lakes and then it became one of my favorite spots in the Sierra.

The Upper Kern area also really exceeded expectations, except for the time I tried to cut back over to the trail, and realized it was designed to keep you away from all the sublime scenery.

The trail up into Miter Basin is just OK until you actually get there, but the cross-country route from Soldier Lake is lovely the whole way. And I'm sure I could think of many other examples if I really thought about it.



User avatar
quentinc
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 890
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you

Postby kpeter » Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:55 pm

Exceeded: Sabrina Basin. Obviously I must think so since I keep going back. I particularly like Dingleberry, the outlet falls below Moonlight lake, and Baboon Lakes when flowers are blooming.

Exceeded: Sapphire Lake. I had no expectations, but found it the most picturesque of all the lakes in the vicinity of Muir Pass, at the time I was there.
IMGP2100.jpg
Sapphire Lake outlet in mid morning during July runoff

Exceeded: Upper LeConte Canyon. I like the closed-in feel and the waterworks spewing from all directions at the time.

Exceeded: Minarets-Ediza-Garnet-Thousand Island. Because I like photography. And no photographer can fail to appreciate this region, no matter how high the expectations are raised.

Exceeded: Jack Main Canyon. I was there during a massive runoff and the water was beautiful and the rumble was awe inspiring.
IMGP1342.jpg
Falls Creek in Jack Main Canyon in June 2010

Exceeded: Lyell Canyon. The color of the stream through the green meadows framed by dark trees and waterfalls was picture perfect.

Exceeded: Upper Tyee Lakes/Burroughs Mountain. I was just passing through on a loop with no particular expectations, and found it very engaging. The effort/reward is sky high, given that almost no one goes there and it is four miles in. But you have to get past the lower two lakes, which are pretty ordinary.

Disappointed: Cottonwood Lakes/Army Pass area. I was there in a drought which may have reduced its scenic beauty, but I found it more open and drier than I prefer. If I fished I probably would have liked it, since I saw schools of fish congregating in the lakes.

Disappointed: Charlotte Lake. It was a good central location, but not particularly special, and much less picturesque than the whole Kearsarge chain we bypassed to get there.

Disappointed: The Beehive. I had low expectations to begin with, and the experience went lower still, when I emerged from a burn zone to enter into a swamp.

Disappointed: Desolation Lake. It seemed kind of...desolate...to me. Although I saw someone made a fabulous ice skating video there. That looked more interesting!
Last edited by kpeter on Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
kpeter
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 555
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:11 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you

Postby frisfraser » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:06 pm

I was very disappointed with Yosemite trail conditions this last summer because of all the messy, careless backpackers in the area. It was my girlfriends first backpacking trip in yosemite. We went down the Lewis Creek and it was very very beautiful. Just, within the endless gardens of wildflowers there was exposed toilet paper here and there.

The Parker Pass area in Yosemite exceeds my expectations every time I visit; summer, winter, or fall. Perfect skiing slopes in spring and cross-country in the summer.

Upper Basin of the South Kings R was totally unexpected. I thought it was going to be hot and grueling. But I walked up Mather in the rain, so it was very different. Exploring the little ponds and lakes in that basin was easy and worth the cross-country.
Upper Mono Basin is a refreshing look that has kept me wanting to go back for spring flowers.

In general, I huge disappointment for me is have to scale a 11,000ft pass only to walk down to the 5,000ft Kern in under like 5 miles. (Rattlesnake, Sawtooth pass, Chagoopa, etc) Terrible.

I can say that my most difficult and worst experiences in travels have only made me appreciate more. If there weren't any challenges or disappointments, I would not be backpacking.
User avatar
frisfraser
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:09 am
Location: huntington beach, ca
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you

Postby markskor » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:21 pm

Like most here, it all depends -
IMHO, Almost every major trailhead sucks initially - those first few miles.
Somehow, one day in makes all the difference; one day in and off trail - now we are talking!

There are some specific trails though that do stand out in my mind's eye as just plain miserable for their aesthetics. Most of the trails originating out of Reds Meadow area seem to fit this bill as they are worn, dusty, and unspectacular in their bleakness - at least those at the start. That stretch of the Muir Trail, south of Reds to Virginia, just sucks in all ways.

Been through the Kaweah Basin a few times - once spectacular with a cacophony of early season wildflowers and once late fall where I couldn't wait to get out. Humphrey Basin, the same...just depends when you go.
Snow Creek trail down, while spectacular for distant scenery, disappointed me as ugly - a truly ugly trail...needs major work - will not do it again.
Always wanted to camp at the lake at Merced Pass (south Yos.)...walked on by after a brief viewing - bit of a bog.
Kennedy Meadows in the south also is not my cup of Sierra tea...always looks worn out.
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2048
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:36 pm

I agree that Deadman Canyon exceeded my expectations. Although containing some of the worst mosquitoes ever it's beauty is worth any of the troubles to get there.

Image
User avatar
RoguePhotonic
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1668
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:52 am
Location: Bakersfield CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you

Postby sparky » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:38 pm

Hmm interesting point mark.

Avalanche Pass has to be the most anti climactic...I struggled scrambling here and there to get the view that was trying its best to remain hidden. And its quite the slog on top of it. But I will do it again and again for my own secret reasons.

Image
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
User avatar
sparky
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 880
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:01 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:55 pm

I struggled scrambling here and there to get the view that was trying its best to remain hidden. And its quite the slog on top of it


I thought the view was easy to find. You top the hill where rocks mark KC and then turn North cross country on a mostly level stretch of terrain until it takes you to a talus field and you can over look the valley below.

I see you went South though so that view is harder to get i'm sure.

Image
User avatar
RoguePhotonic
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1668
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:52 am
Location: Bakersfield CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you

Postby maverick » Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:07 pm

Like most folks here a lot depends on the conditions, mood, and other numerous
variables that can make a mediocre place look out of this world, and a usually
fantastic location less than desirable.
On a whole, anything away from the first couple of miles from the trailhead, and
then once off-trail, all is good.
My personal belief is that it is up to the individual backpacker to make his/her
experience as challenging or fun as possible, otherwise the backpacker should be
disappointed with him/herself and not the location!
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
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8049
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you

Postby Cross Country » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:17 pm

My pleasantest surprise was the view looking up from the base of Grinnel Meadow. A light coating of snow covered the meadow and with the ridge in the background, was breathtaking.

My biggest disappointment was North Guard Lake. Because of it's relatively low elevation (10004 more or less) made me anticipate good fishing like I always got at Sphinx (higher elevation). Also, North
Guard lake is about as scenic as my foot.

Sphinx is gorgeous. This pic is only a tiny part of the Lakes and doesn't do it ANY justice.
Attachments
Sphinx fish.jpg
Cross Country
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1119
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:16 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you

Postby TehipiteTom » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:23 am

Exceeded expectations:
  • Kid Lakes, especially the long narrow lake below Mungoat Pass and the lowest lake (which has kind of a Japanese rock garden feel to it)
  • Lake 10554, below Emerald Peak
  • The westernmost Swamp Lake, on the Monarch Divide
  • Upper Goddard Creek valley
  • Lots of other places that are off the beaten path and not well known, so I hadn't seen tons of photos of them before actually being there.

Disappointed:
  • Woodchuck Country. Just not that attractive at all, IMO.
  • Little Yosemite Valley. Kind of pretty at the eastern end, but further down it's just nothing special...and way too crowded. The campground is kind of a pit--might as well be car-camping at that point.
  • Blayney Meadows. See above re campground.
  • Lowest Graveyard Lake. Pretty enough as far as it goes, but it's so overused that it's impossible to ignore how beaten up it is.
User avatar
TehipiteTom
Founding Member
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:42 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you

Postby oldranger » Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:51 am

I've never been to a place that didn't meet my expectations. Generally don't have any or have a good Idea of what it will be like. Skeeters, people, trash etc. may not be pleasant but those are things you should be aware of and should not allow you to be disappointed at what mother nature provided. Not to say that I haven't been disgusted with trash, TP, and garbage--that is not the fault of the land.

I'm not sure whether the places that provide the most pleasure are the most esthetically pleasing or simply emotion evoking. To this day the most awe inspiring sight from year to year is entering Yosemite Valley. Yes I know there are people and cars but if you can't get beyond those things and admire and appreciate the grandeur that is your problem. It gives me goosebumps still and I have been viewing the valley from time to time since the early 50s.

In the backcountry three places will certainly give me goosebumps. A stroll up either Deadman or Cloud Canyon and a view across the upper Merced from any viewpoint will bring an emotional reaction, sometimes to tears, that I can't explain. Bad weather or skeeters can't change that.

I do agree with Mark, that first day--the first six miles can have unpleasant human impacts. But that is why we go farther than that.

I guess I am a little off topic but the concept of exceeding or disappoint places in the backcountry is just foreign to me. It is what it is.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
User avatar
oldranger
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2173
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:18 pm
Location: Bend, Oregon
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Places that exceeded your expectations - or disappointed you

Postby BSquared » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:41 am

I have to agree with Mike about disappointment. For me, it's almost always been that the disappointment was inside, rather than outside. My second JMT trip was a real disappointment because we had to bail and because I never really felt especially good anytime on the whole trip. But the times I managed to get out of my own funk, I realized I was in a bunch of pretty cool places!

But for exceeding expectations, I have to put in last year's trip to SE Yosemite. My expectations were very high for this trip because of all I'd heard (thanks, Doyle, Mike, and many others!), but the scenery—and the trip as a whole—exceeded them. What a fantastic area! The disappointment for that trip was coming down to the Valley, where we were first greeted with the signs about the sad bozos who had gone over the top of Vernal a few days before, and then the bumper-to-bumper hikers on the trail from the junction of the Mist Trail all the rest of the way down (and it seemed like 20 miles at that point...). But of course we expected that, and the trip was still wonderful.
—B²
User avatar
BSquared
Founding Member
 
Posts: 871
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Jericho, VT
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

PreviousNext

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSNbot Media [Bot] and 12 guests

cron