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Returning to the same place

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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby kpeter » Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:42 am

In California, I have always done new areas with two exceptions. I have returned repeatedly to the Sabrina Basin. And I have returned twice to the Ediza/Thousand Island region. These two areas are certainly worthy of repeated visits.

In 1974, when I was 15, I hiked with my father across the Sawtooth range in Idaho. In 2008 I returned to repeat the trip on my own. What WD said is absolutely true. Every place seemed familiar to me but nothing really had the same emotional impact as 34 years earlier. Some places seemed bigger, some smaller, one or two places were just as I remembered them. It is fascinating to observe how the perspective of time and circumstance so dramatically changes the impressions of a place.

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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby SSSdave » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:30 am

An older timer would never ask that question haha. Exploring new areas though it might be a key goal for many backcountry visitors, more generally is not the prime directive nor was it for Captain Kirk.

Fishermen return to remote backcountry lakes where large trout lurk. Peakbaggers and climbers return to peaks where they experienced enjoyable climbs. Naturalists return to areas where they had seen exceptional wildflife and plant species. A couple returns to a pleasant campsite at a remote lake because they remember it was a great experience and know it will be the next time. There are numbers of reasons people return to places they previously visited regardless of the effort.

Despite being a 8-5 m-f Hi Tech working urban person living a few hours away all my adult life, I've averaged nearly 5 backpacking trips a year for 4 decades with nearly all in the Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Nevada is, 400 miles long and an average of 70 miles wide, however much of that width on its western slopes are low elevation populated areas and wide areas of logged second growth forest. Regardless just considering areas of mid elevation public national forests and parks above, areas are far more vast than any working person would have a chance to thoroughly explore in their lifetime.

For 3 decades have been as a serious landscape photographer strenuously lugging heavy gear so I've had a focused interest in seeing its most aesthetic locations especially when they are at their best. The range has some of the most impressive features and terrain on our planet but the majority of areas are more modest. Accordingly that considerably narrows where I have an interest in going.

An issue with landscape photography is some of the best subjects require special weather or vegetation conditions. Thus one may need to visit some locations multiple times and often at narrow difficult to predict times of year or at short notice while monitoring weather information. Also the more accessible and famous a location is the more likely other photographers have already captured images far better. Thus a person standing at Tunnel View in Yosemite Valley has almost no chance of capturing an image that will stand out from the crowd unless they return many times. Since we are talking about the backcountry, that is less an issue. Regardless there are many world famous Sierra backcountry icons and some I've had to visit several times over the years before I managed some of the shots one can see on my website.

So yeah for those reasons I often return to places in our wilderness areas I've already visited in the past. But it isn't just publicly known icons as there are significant numbers of features in the backcountry just as worthy as the so called icons that I've seen and not adequately captured. Places publicly virtually unknown. Places I'm as close lipped about as fishermen would be about a remote lake with 18 inch golden trout. Places that a person cannot read about in some guidebook or search on the web for much less get a GPS location for. Places that require personal exploration which since these are mountainous areas, a lot of effort, often strenuous effort. Explorations more often than not comes up with little worthwhile but a few find pure gold. Something no amount of money can buy which is unique in our world and something a peon like this person savours.

In a couple weeks for 9 days I will be visting SEKI over Sawtooth Pass an ugly 3900 foot climb lugging nearly 70 pounds, a zone I've visted twice before. I've captured some fine images there and seen more others with potential that I simply noted. Some of those places I'll be revisting while I've scratched out on my topo other dayhikes to nearby areas I've not tread.
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby sekihiker » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:23 pm

SSSdave wrote:I will be visting SEKI over Sawtooth Pass

Well put, Dave, and you are visiting an area I have chosen to return to several times. I hope you get the pics you are looking forward to.
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:20 am

I get chastised from a friend because we keep going back to the Sierra--the same old place--rather than head to North Cascades or southern Utah. But we feel we've hardly seen the Sierra.

This year I plan to go back to a couple of places in the Sierra I haven't been to in decades, where I first went backpacking. It will be interesting to see if they are as awe inspiring as in memories.
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby SweetSierra » Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:11 pm

I've returned to several places. Thousand Island Lakes (3 or 4 times), Sunrise Lakes, Dusy Basin (twice), Sawtooth Pass, Timber Gap (twice), multiple times on different trails in the Golden Trout Wilderness, and Grinnell Lake and over Bighorn and Shout of Relief passes (twice) but on the whole I've backpacked twice a year on 9-day trips and several other shorter trips each year (when I worked full time) to areas that I've never seen. As others have said, when I see the same place, it's always different than the last time I saw it. I think it's because I've changed and so see a place through a different lens. It's all beautiful to me. A "bucket list" makes me edgy :) I would feel as though I'm checking off places without really seeing them. I love being spontaneous. If you love a place, then it calls to you. That's all the reason anyone needs, I think, to go back and back.
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby lostcoyote » Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:03 pm

SweetSierra wrote: If you love a place, then it calls to you. That's all the reason anyone needs, I think, to go back and back.


i couldn't have said it better myself
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby The hermit » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:33 pm

Los padres NF. Keeps calling me back year after year. Maybe accessibility or weather. Dont know. The sierra are too vast for me to have gone to many places multiple times. Not that I don't plan to!
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Re: Returning to the same place

Postby rcymbala » Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:36 am

1.) Starting to realize that mountaineering takes a lot of discipline, so, returning to the same place can put one more in touch with those inner processes that increase one's skills (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) versus getting jazzed on seeing something new and exciting every time, the goal being to have the skills to see new and exciting ;
2.) Peter Potterfield (wrote two "25 best" hikes coffee table books) gave a talk at REI and highly recommends that each hiker find a place on the globe that (s)he will return to on a regular basis ;
3.) While hiking alone, over the decades I occassionally have had the same type of experience where, how can it be put, I am on a steep slope and when I stop and look around something "clicks" and it seems like I am standing on a planet I've never been before where I will either fly or walk up into the sky or sink down to some unknown location, so, in order to try and put the pieces together and figure out what that experience is all about, I will probably be returning to the massive talus field that parts the green stuff on the 7.5 min. topo map that covers the west side of Sphinx Crest, on the other side from the Sphinx Lakes and facing Roaring River;
4.) The S.A.R. rescue people are at a disadvantage b/c they likely don't know the area where they will be sent, "we," on the other hand, have the numbers to create a list of places that "we" know like the back of the hand, and if a handful of independent/solo hikers decide to systematically cover the area over Taboose Pass where, coincidentally, Larry Conn was lost, then it's just a random bunch of hikers doing their usual thing and nobody could stop "us"... ;
5.) On a more practical note(?), I can only hike on weekends and must be back at the bus depot at the scheduled time or I get a miss-out and the bus system is thrown a tad out of whack, and due to the limited time frame I've pretty much settled upon the Eastern Sierras as my "backyard" because it's only 4 hours from L.A. and the canyons south of Mt. Whitney are divine: Tuttle Creek, Diaz Creek, Lubken Creek, Carroll Creek... (that last one is private and must contact DeLaCour Ranch for permission to enter), I am discovering new and interesting ways to bag Langley and Whitney ;
LASTLY, 6.) If I go to a new area and find true wilderness solitude and something happens, I can be in deep trouble, versus returning to a general area (see #5) where I am familiar with approaches and exits and simultaneously there are new wilderness areas I've never seen within reach, so, my style is "casting the net" further and furth out from the same starting location (highway 395: Cartago, Olancha, Lone Pine and maybe Independence) -- it's way cool to sit in the Lone Pine McDonald's, look out at the 2nd steepest escarpment in the continental US and go, "I've been up there.. and over there, and over there is this interesting ... hanging rock in North Fork Lubken Creek..." CHEERS !
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