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Returning to the same place

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Returning to the same place

Postby BigMan » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:57 am

When choosing a destination, I find myself leaning towards places I haven't visited, or perhaps visited very briefly (i.e., speeding through them on the JMT).

There are only so many hiking years left and I want to see "as much" as I can.

I say "as much" in quotes because I believe that revisiting a place and spending more time there can be as much of a new experience as visiting a previously unseen area.

Just wondering what others think of this. Are there areas you've returned to multiple times? Places you've really taken the time to become intimate with?

(and if you don't mind, what are the places?) :)
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby rlown » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:28 am

i'm a habitual returner.

In the 90's- 00's it was out of Tuolumne Meadows. Either towards the Matties or towards Evelyn Lk and beyond. We alternated N/S every other year.

The last 3 years, it's been Piute Pass to the Glacier Divide or thru Humphreys basin and then the French basin.

There is a lot to learn from just one basin. It's hard to find the time, but it does make planning easier to expand knowledge of a certain area.

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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby paul » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:42 pm

I love to visit new places, but I also enjoy returning to a place I have visited before, especially if I can do it at a different time of year. I have found that the conditions under which I experience a particular spot can make a huge difference in how I like it. I recall going through the Canyon of the South fork San Joaquin on the JMT in 1993 on a very hot afternoon and thinking it it was basically a hellhole. 16 years later I went through with my son in much nicer weather, camped down there, and thought it was really cool. The fact that it was the only bug-free night out of two weeks may have helped me enjoy it. Had I never gone back it would have stayed in my mind as an unpleasant place.

The best is to visit a place you know from the summer when it is completely snow-covered. (or vice versa) A familiar spot is transformed into a completely new place.
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby lostcoyote » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:05 pm

it's always great to return to a place already visited - brings back memories - besides... it's all the same place, really - your back yard.
so do not worry if you cross paths with older trips.
(at my age it makes no difference anymore)
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby hurricaniac » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:44 pm

I can second paul's comment on going back to the same place in winter. When I went over Shepherds Pass and into Milestone Basin on skis, I was mind-blown at the solitude, dramatic frozen cliffs, and beautiful snow-laden bowls. What had been ordinary was now spectacular.

There is nothing like the contrast of winter ice against the Sierra's beautiful granite peaks in the backcountry. You are one of the Chosen Few if you get to see this.
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:36 am

The Sierra with snow is definitely a different beast, but if you're not a skilled skier, you can still get some of the same effect simply by going out in early season (see the trip reports that Tomba and I filed from early June or any number of early season reports from prior years). A big advantage of catching things during the melt is that you avoid those long, cold nights of winter. Sure, it's not quite the same as winter camping (I've only done winter twice, so it's a very limited sample), where the silence (yes, no sound of running water; few animals and everything is muffled by the snow) is unforgettable.
But, snow is not for everyone, so there still are gobs of places that I've been to repeatedly, and many more to which I plan to return: Hamilton Lake (on the high sierra trail) was the first big lake I saw in the Sierra and I've been back to or past it a dozen times. Thousand Island Lake is featured on postcards for good reason. It's big, busy and gorgeous. On our last trip, we saw Grinnell Lake for a 3rd time, and I doubt I'd tire of it after another 10 visits. The same is true of more obscure spots like Kaweah Basin, Amphitheater Lakes Basin, Ionian Basin, etc. But, Evolution Valley and Basin are readily accessible and jaw dropping. Ditto for Ediza (beneath the Minarets) or Dusy Basin. Heck, the view from Kearsarge pass is fabulous, and it's among the easier routes into the backcountry from the East. I could go on, but basically it's just a matter of getting out there!
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby balzaccom » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:50 pm

With us it's a little bit of both. We often find that we've enjoyed a trip, and look for other sights to see in the same area--so we never do the same trip twice, but we've certainly hiked out of the same trailhead more than once.

And we often hike out of a different trailhead to see the other side of the mountain....just like the bear who climbed over the mountain!

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby schmalz » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:06 pm

With so much of the Sierra to explore, I always try to see something new if I can. I figure I'll have plenty of time to return to spots when I'm older, but I'd be saddened to have my hiking career cut short while having missed so many areas of the Sierra.
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby sekihiker » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:19 pm

Later this week, I'll be returning to the same area for the fourth time this year. It started with a day hike on May 26, then a three day trip June 1-3, and a two day trip June 18-19. There is a method to my madness. I'm trying to document as many flowers as I can in the Woodchuck Creek watershed which until recently had no observations in any flower database. At times during the trips, I have felt rushed and I've wondered what on earth I'm doing it for. When I get back and look at the photos, it feels like I've done something worthwhile and the mosquitoes and cold nights are forgotten.
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby soquelca » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:47 pm


I am always excited to visit new areas and I think the element of surprise plays a big role. I then like to take my family or friends to the new area and share the surprise with them. I have always scouted out a area first then returned again for a second look at what I may have missed.
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