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The Sierra's Best Campsites

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Re: The Sierra's Best Campsites

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:34 pm

Some of my favorites I have documented/talked about elsewhere, and it does not matter that I did because of all the work to get there, its remoteness, and the cross-country. A good example is the Kern-Kaweah and Kaweah Basin ares, just brimming with great camps. Like Picket Creek Lake for example, about three days to get to the area and another to get to the remote basins and that lake. I guarantee you, that area remains looking untouched despite the few regular visitors.
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Re: The Sierra's Best Campsites

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:24 pm

The whole idea of "best campsites" is bogus. What each of us deems as "best" differs. My tastes in campsites may be far removed from yours. Many of my "best" campsites do not even have a water source - I had to carry water up to them. I really am not a one-campsite desination backpacker.

That said, I would bet that wait a few years and you will see another feature article with the "best 10 campsites" and they will be different. Alas, once a place is put on a "best" list, it no longer is pristine. I am glad the Sierra did not make the "cut". By the way, what were their best 10? I do not read backpacker magazine.
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Re: The Sierra's Best Campsites

Postby markskor » Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:40 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:The whole idea of "best campsites" is bogus. What each of us deems as "best" differs. My tastes in campsites may be far removed from yours... Alas, once a place is put on a "best" list, it no longer is pristine. I am glad the Sierra did not make the "cut".

Wise words from a topic expert.

As to the Sierra not making the cut, I find very few "Best Campsites" Sierra would fit their two criteria of:
- only 7 miles in
- no crowds.
Maybe once upon a time, but the crowds/pristine thing today makes Best impossible when nice places become common knowledge and are so close to roads.
Indeed there are a few choice ones known - intentionally un-named - but for me the adventure always starts on the second day in anyway. "One step farther than you can go in one day" separates me from most of the crowds.
Then, as WD so succinctly mentions, the rest is subjective.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: The Sierra's Best Campsites

Postby lambertiana » Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:58 pm

My favorite spots are all off trail and well over seven miles in.

If you want spots that meet those criteria - no more than seven miles, no crowds - I can think of a few out of Mineral King. One is the second Mosquito Lake. Only half a mile off trail above the first lake, where the trail ends. It does receive some visitation (there is a light use trail), but both times I have been there I didn't have to share it with anyone outside of my group. Great campsites at the outlet or the inlet ends, with expansive views to the north from the outlet. And two more very nice lakes above it, too.
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Re: The Sierra's Best Campsites

Postby Ikan Mas » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:04 pm

I read Backpacker regularly and there is definitly an unintentional silly side to it. This month's America's best campsites is no exception. The photos for two of their best sites, Powell Plateau and Cape Kiwanda, show a tent inches from the edge of a cliff. If one were to get up a bit too early for that "call of nature," that first step out of the tent would be a dusy! :p Assuming the cliff at Cape Kiwanda didn't collapse on you during the evening's high tide.

I was suprized there wasn't the obligatory photo of somewhere in Yosemite in there somewhere. They seem to push Yosemite hard at least once or twice a year. I guess it remains a dream trip for thousands of frustrated easties. To me its just another overpeopled Disneyland with rocks. Personally, I wish they would ease up on CA. I've ran into any number of dazed noobs on the trails, seemingly entranced by a Backpacker article and I'm surprised more don't wind up on the rescue logs.

Like others here, almost anywhere can be a favorite camp, and there is so much to see, I really don't want to go back to any site.

Backpacker also suffers from being a National mag. Its had to make a trail in Georgia look good when its next to an article about anywhere on the west coast.
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Re: The Sierra's Best Campsites

Postby sparky » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:29 pm

The best campsite for me is there when I need it. Im not out there to camp in specific places. Its all about the hike for me....i camp for rest, so i can keep moving.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
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Re: The Sierra's Best Campsites

Postby SSSdave » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:40 pm

Like giantbrookie I know of quite a few superb places less than 7 miles in though most are off trail AND there is likely no adjacent fishing or lake. And as wanderingdaisy noted, one may need to camp a bit away from water sources. The percentage of backpackers that almost always camp next to Lake This and Lake That is significant and when they are not it is probably because they are on their way to yet another lake and they are just there as an approach. Additionally almost al backpackers camp ontop of water sources 98% of the time. Loose those two behaviors and a vast amount of Sierra country opens up just one day in. When one looks at maps of the Sierra in regards to strong possible landscape perspectives there are really a lot of excellent perspectives that most photographers haven't even considered. And like giantgbrookie if such places are not already publicly known, I'm not about to post such information on the web or media. That such places exist for those that make an effort to discover them has value.

I've given a couple examples above and here is another that I think is ridiculous because it is so close to the Sabrina trailhead. Yet about the northwest end of Table Mountain in utterly acres of soft granite sands, late August in most years one is not likely to see anyones footprints. Look at the topo and consider the view. The landforms are very similar to the Buttermilk Peabody boulders.
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Re: The Sierra's Best Campsites

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:45 pm

My favorite spot is the one I'm in when you ask me. :p

Somewhere between Sonora Pass and Farewell Gap... between 8,000 - 12,000 feet... off trail... probably in granite.
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Re: The Sierra's Best Campsites

Postby rlown » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:11 pm

granite is a good start. 8k to 12k another clue. :D hate to say it but, duh. we all go where we go for our own reasons. nice post, AT
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Re: The Sierra's Best Campsites

Postby TehipiteTom » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:04 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:The whole idea of "best campsites" is bogus. What each of us deems as "best" differs.

Ummm...isn't that what makes the discussion interesting?

Not bogus at all, IMO. YMMV.
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Re: The Sierra's Best Campsites

Postby rlown » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:17 pm

no, it's pretty bogus. again, why would I say "camp here." it is what it is when you get there and there is subjective.
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Re: The Sierra's Best Campsites

Postby quentinc » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:41 pm

A better topic would be "good campsites in surprising places" (or surprisingly close places). And I must have been confusing in the description of mine -- it's in the general area east of Big Whitney Meadow/Siberian Basin, not further north as people have been guessing.
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