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3 to 4 day Sierra Trip advise

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3 to 4 day Sierra Trip advise

Postby chrisdiercks » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:29 pm

I already owe this site one TR (and as soon as I figure out my photo problems I'll get it up), but this is the kind of trip I am not very good at; a nice trip. My daughter is going to start college this fall, so this will be the "last" family trip so to speak. Now for the constraints.

1) It will be the four of us; myself, my wife, daughter, and the dog. Needs to be dog friendly.

2) Needs to be fishing, basically all on trail (except for possibly day hikes), and in the Sierra.

3) Perhaps the worst constraint of all, this will have to be over the Labor Day week.

4) 2 or 3 nights max. Could be as simple as an in and out with a day hike. If there was some possibility of nice easy friction climbing that would be cool as mom and daughter have recently gotten into climbing.

5) My wife gets altitude sickness ( nausea, headache) around 7000ft and needs to acclimatize. This is a drill we all know well now. Therefore, we will probably stay 2 or 3 days in the Lee Vining area and do some day hikes (hike high, sleep low) up Lundy Canyon, Saddlebag Lake, or somewhere else close by. Doing this has seemed to help my wife acclimatize in the past, but altitudes of over 10 or 11K are probably out given our time frame. (Although we may try to go up to Conness Lakes and beyond if we are feeling up to it.) This part we play by ear and see how she does. Because of this, flexibility in the route is a plus.

Scenic, with trees and enough water to support trout is what the girls want. I was thinking maybe something up in the Desolation wilderness as I do want to take them some place new in the end. I prefer to start on the east side as it gives us a better chance to acclimatize will hotel access. However, any option suggestions are much appreciated and will be considered as there are many places I know nothing about.

Oh yea, our group as a whole is not comfortable on class 2 with backpacks on. I am quite comfortable with class 3 w/backpack, but previous experience has shown me that we need to stay on trail w/ backpacks for everyone to be happy. Nice, beautiful, uncrowded (?), and relatively easy. Simple, right?

Chris



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Re: 3 to 4 day Sierra Trip advise

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:39 pm

What about the Minarets out of Mammoth, good fishing, outstanding scenery, and
most of the best lakes are below 9900 ft. Plenty of TR's to the area here on HST
so you can pick lakes accordingly.
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Re: 3 to 4 day Sierra Trip advise

Postby SweetSierra » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:41 pm

I'd suggest Cottonwood Lakes or Rocky Basin Lakes. The latter won't be crowded but the former likely will be. You'll need to tank up on water for the Rocky Basin Lakes hike as Big Whitney Meadow will likely be dry. I don't know about fish at the lakes at either of these locations.
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Re: 3 to 4 day Sierra Trip advise

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:31 pm

Cottonwood Lakes hare high elevation. I think you start at 10,000 feet. Why do you need to start on the east side? There are nice hotels/motels/B&B's on the west side too. What about simply walking in very slowly, instead of two days at a motel acclimating?

Hoover Wilderness- Green Lake
Hoover Wilderness - Twin Lakes to Peeler Lake
Emigrant Wilderness - Crabtree TH to Buck Lake (and lots of other lakes) - 2 days in
Yosemite - Ten Lakes (kind of high elevation)
south of Yosemite- TH (?? name), 1 mi west of Clover Meadow- to Stanford, Lillian Lk and others
Courtright (Maxon Meadows TH) - Hobbler Lk first night, Dissapointment Lk 2nd, day 3- fish all the surrounding lakes, Day 4 walk out.

Given the fires this year, you may want to have several Plan B's depending on where the smoke is.
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Re: 3 to 4 day Sierra Trip advise

Postby tim » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:21 pm

If you want something low on the East side but very pretty, how about Iva Bell Hot Springs via the Fish Creek trail? The highest point on the entire hike is the trailhead at Reds Meadow, and it's all below 8000ft. The first couple of miles are nothing special (burn area) but after that it's really nice, much of the hike on open granite above the San Joaquin canyon. Staying at the hot springs probably won't be crowded mid week. You can either wander up Fish Creek Valley or go to Lost Keys Lakes as a day hike depending on how ambitious you feel.

The only issue is that the hike in and out is quite a long day (12 miles), but if you only got to Island Crossing (9 miles, 6200ft elevation) for your campsite and didn't manage the last 3 miles of climbing to the hot springs then you could visit them as part of your day hike. Plenty of fishing in Fish Creek, as the name indicates, even in this dry year, so camping at Island Crossing wouldn't be too bad.
Last edited by tim on Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 to 4 day Sierra Trip advise

Postby chrisdiercks » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:05 am

Thanks for the replies. All these give me a good start for picking a spot and some backups given this year. :nod: Cottonwood and Rocky lakes are just a little too high at over 10K ft, and anything near 10 or 12 mile days, will probably be too much for us as a group. For something that high, we would probably need a few more acclimatization days on trail than I am given. The mileage has some leeway, but as the miles go up, I will need to compensate with additional weight distribution on to myself. People sensitive to altitude seem to respond better with less stress (lower carrying weights) put on their bodies. I need to go through the rest of these options with a find tooth. Its nice to see areas I am unfamilar with! Thanks again.
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Re: 3 to 4 day Sierra Trip advise

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:17 am

Finally remembered the trailhead in southern Yosemite - Fernandez TH. There are reports of bad road to the TH, but I drove it 2 years ago in a Toyota Camry.
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Re: 3 to 4 day Sierra Trip advise

Postby balzaccom » Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:55 am

I agree with Daisy here. Why not start a little slower and easier...and work your way into more higher elevations. Crabtree Cabin to Deer, Buck, or Wood Lake would be a nice way to do that in the Emigrant Wilderness. You could also leave from Kennedy Meadows, which is under 6,000 feet.

Some of those other trails start high...and I would think that you would want to avoid that at the beginning, to give you wife a chance to adjust a bit.
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Re: 3 to 4 day Sierra Trip advise

Postby SweetSierra » Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:14 pm

Ah, I didn't see that the high elevations were out, given your time frame.
I agree with Wandering Daisy about the Fernandez Pass trailhead and the lower trailheads. It was years ago, but the road was well-graded dirt and we did it in a Toyota Corolla.
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Re: 3 to 4 day Sierra Trip advise

Postby chrisdiercks » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:21 am

I admit I am predisposed to head up from the east side of the Sierra, but in this case I am truly open and considering any access point. At this point in time, my wife is only interested in a maximum of 3 nights without showers and bathroom facilities. She is pretty firm on this; 2 to 3 nights. There was a time when I could get her out for 7 days. But now for those length of trips it needs to be hut to hut as in the alps. For the altitude issues, you can try to acclimatize as you go, or you can try to pre-acclimatize. Even with pre-acclimatization, you are still acclimatizing as you go backpacking on a normal length trip. What I have found with my wife is that she is so sensitive that if we just head in backpacking and we go slow, but get over 7000 feet, she is mildly nauseous the whole time. This ends up making the trip not so enjoyable for her. But, if we push those boundaries first(day hiking at some altitude over 8000ft for a few days) and have a pleasant place to stay (bed, bath, food, ect.) while doing this, THEN go on a short trip, the symptoms do not show on the backpacking trip and the whole experience is better for everyone. We have done this a few times. With pushing these boundaries first, I find it is also easier to mitigate any altitude issues. Just go slower, and/or turn around and lose elevation. Going fishing (with my daughter) supplies us with another acclimatization option where all my wife needs to do is sit and read, which she enjoys. And she loves helping eat the results! Not as much true wilderness experience for sure, but more overall time in the range of light.

Thanks again for all the suggestions! I genuinely appreciate the help.

Chris

ps sounds like for the Fernandez TH, all I need is a Toyota. So I'm set if I go there. ;)
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