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Experts: best hike for beginner to intermediate hikers?

Backpacking and camping basics and other general trip planning discussion for the uninitiated. Use this forum to learn where to look for the information you need, and to ask questions, related to the beginner basics of backpacking and camping, including technique and best practices.
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Experts: best hike for beginner to intermediate hikers?

Postby jambuckley » Sun May 04, 2014 4:02 pm

Hi all - I'm planning to take 8 teens (12-15) on a 5 day trip during the 3rd week of June. I'd like to go in around 108/Sonora Pass, because we're bringing two llamas. We have beginners and intermediates. I am an experienced backpacker -- but mostly in Yosemite and Desolation.

any suggestions on a good look or in and out trip that will get us to granite - I'm thinking 8.5 to 10Kft ?

I'd appreciate any advice you might have?

thanks, Julie :)



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Re: Experts: best hike for beginner to intermediate hikers?

Postby rlown » Sun May 04, 2014 4:35 pm

Welcome to the HST!

In the upper right hand corner, you'll see a search function. enter llamas.

We had a discussion on Llamas a while back at viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3748&start=1 and it was a little dark midway through.

It's always best to come here with a little more of a plan for fine-tuning.

What was your plan with 8 teens and 2 llamas when you started to plan this trip? 8 teens are a handful let alone taking care of the llamas. What about grazing, feeding, etc on the animals? is the expectation that the kids load up the llamas with their gear, cuz that's probably not the best approach. The teens have to carry something.

Please describe your initial trip thought/planning please.

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Re: Experts: best hike for beginner to intermediate hikers?

Postby Tom_H » Sun May 04, 2014 5:04 pm

I used to guide professionally with exactly the type group you are describing. I guided in 6 states. Here in CA my trips were all in Desolation and Emigrant/Hoover via 108. I know that I can certainly help you, but I need some information.

1. I need you to find out exactly where llamas are legal.

2. How much experience do you have with llama packing?

3. What route logistic do you want: in and out via the same TH, Loop from same TH, Point to Point via different trailheads? The latter requires either multiple vehicles or someone not on the trip to do some driving for you.

4. How much experience do your participants have?

5. Do you have all the gear you need for all these kids and animals?

6. You want to reach some granite; can you elaborate? Do you plan to do bouldering, climbing, rappelling? Do you have the gear, training, experience for this as well as experience as a climbing instructor with adolescents, or do you mean you just want them to have some nice vista of granite? Other than granite, you obviously also will need grazing for the animals.

Let me know.
Tom
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Re: Experts: best hike for beginner to intermediate hikers?

Postby jambuckley » Sun May 04, 2014 6:46 pm

Thanks for the prompt replies. OK, I *did* a search of llamas, but clearly there was user error. I'll definitely go back and dig further.

Let me see if I can provide much more detail, in order to get the best support from the community!

First, 8 teens sounds crazy, but I should say, 4 sets of siblings. Does that reassure or scare folks, further? 6 of the 8 have packed before - several trips along the AT, but only day hikes in the Sierras.

The two who have not are my two daughters, so I have a good sense of what they will be able to tolerate in terms of weight and distance and sheer "sticktoitiveness." I have known all these kids since birth.

Here's my plan re llamas. I have not packed with llamas, so it will be a new adventure. I love the animal, though, and have spent some time around them. The rationale for llamas is twofold: one) I want the experience, and 2) I know I'll need to support for some gear for myself, if I expect to keep up with these kids. They row, play lacrosse, swim. They are used to hard work. I plan to rent from a reputable packer. I have read up and will also receive an intro from the packer. I expect to have to stake the animals and I understand about protecting the wilderness, even from light hooved animals like llamas.

here's my sense on a route: I have hiked into Emigrant through Kennedy Meadows before. I think a reasonable goal for the first day would be Relief, and if we made it further, all the better. But given the water situation, I am thinking that water source (lake) to water source must be decision #1.

In terms of granite, I was far too vague. My apologies. What I meant was that I'd like to reach an elevation high enough where day hikes from a basecamp would be possible, i.e., like a hike to Lewis Lakes from Summit Creek, for example. Not like climbing or summitting 13s or 14s.

Um, what else?




All the kids will carry their own gear, water, and clothing.
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Re: Experts: best hike for beginner to intermediate hikers?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun May 04, 2014 7:10 pm

In the past I lead 30-day NOLS courses with 13-16 year olds. Some had never walked off a city sidewalk. They ALL started with full packs - including 10+ days food. And this was when gear was quite heavy. With the newer lightweight gear, I do not see why your teens could not carry all their gear and food and no need of llamas. What were you planning on to put on the llamas? The llamas are an unknown since you have not done it before. I would want to keep the "unknowns" to a minimum. Perhaps do some trips by yourself with llamas and become an expert before taking them on a trip with a bunch of teens. Personally I would focus more on getting the teen's (and your) pack weights down while still carrying all needed supplies. The advantage of a large group is that group gear can be spread out. One first aid kit etc. I would have cook groups of 4 people per stove. Even without the lightest (and expensive) gear, the base weights should be easy to keep at about 20 pounds. Add 1.5-2 pounds food per day. Just take it slowly. First day to Relief Reservoir is a good plan. I see llamas as a potential to just cause problems.
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Re: Experts: best hike for beginner to intermediate hikers?

Postby jambuckley » Sun May 04, 2014 7:47 pm

Good advice, Mz Daisy. I hadn't thought about the weight distribution with all the teens.

My last trip was a few years back, after not having packed for about 15 years. Two of us set out from the Tom's Cabin TH at 1 in the afternoon, with full packs and little acclimbitizing. Time was not on our side, so we just pushed right out on to the trail. I wouldn't call the next 24 hours "fun". I'm hoping not to recreate that experience

@ Tom - re my planned route. I don't care if it is in and out of the same TH, a loop or pt to pt. We have enough drivers to do a pt to pt. I am intriqued by Hoover....I've never been in there and I've heard it is beautiful.

One more side note - I'm thrilled to have found HST!
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Re: Experts: best hike for beginner to intermediate hikers?

Postby Tom_H » Sun May 04, 2014 9:39 pm

I have to hit the sack for tonight, but will respond more tomorrow. I did not work for the same outfit as WanderingDaisy (NOLS), but the national director of my outfit and the man who trained me was a graduate of NOLS' 39 day mountain leadership program. I practice the exact same procedures, methodologies, philosophies that she does. Everything she said above is exactly on target. You do not want to learn about llamas at the same time you take a bunch of novice teens into the wilderness. She is also right about weight. The trips we did back in the 70s required much more weight than is needed today, although I want to know more about this place from which you're renting gear. It could be old heavy stuff. Ditto on Daisy's sharing gear, first aid, repair kit, stoves. Can you give me info re. who it is you're renting this gear from? I Will plan to exchange info. with you Mon. p.m.
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Re: Experts: best hike for beginner to intermediate hikers?

Postby Tom_H » Mon May 05, 2014 7:53 am

Couple more quick questions:

-Of these several vehicles you have available, is at least one of them high clearance four wheel drive (not just all-wheel drive)? One of the trailheads that would enable the number of days you want would require this, although there are other ways to create a route without it.

-Where do you live?
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Re: Experts: best hike for beginner to intermediate hikers?

Postby tim » Mon May 05, 2014 10:28 am

Beware of bugs in mid June. That will likely be the peak of the skeeter season this year, especially at 8.5-10K ft. Another good reason to think carefully about the llamas, which might force you to camp near grassy (damp and buggy) meadows.

Persuading beginners to be inspired by the Sierra is hard if confined to the tent by a cloud of mosquitoes. My kid trips are generally either late (mid July onwards should be fine this year) or early (Memorial Day in drought years, late June in the very snowy year of 2011).
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Re: Experts: best hike for beginner to intermediate hikers?

Postby jambuckley » Mon May 05, 2014 9:29 pm

hi all -

Tim- you are the second person to warn me about skeeters at that time of the season. All these kids are available in mid July, too, but the llamas aren't. Seems to me that I should listen to your good advice, stick to llamas on a trip by myself or with one other person, as a training hike.

Tom - the kids who need to rent will rent from a reputable sports store - either Sonoma Outfitters (why pay less ;-)) or REI.

Um, so, based on those plans, I'm still open to suggestions on hikes?

Thanks! Julie
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Re: Experts: best hike for beginner to intermediate hikers?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue May 06, 2014 6:33 am

I would take them out to Courtright Lake and start at the Cliff Lake trailhead, and hike them to Cliff Lake day one, over the ridge to Dinkey Lakes, camp at Swede or South lake, let them swim and fish and do an easy side jaunt up to Rainbow Lake, hike around the loop and back up to First Dinkey then over the hill to Coyote Lake, onward to Brewer and Tocher, and exit over on Kaiser Pass Road.

Although, as this is all National Forest wilderness area, one should have a firm grasp of how to use a map, as the less used trails can get faded or washed out. There are volunteer trail crews scheduled to head out there this summer.
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Re: Experts: best hike for beginner to intermediate hikers?

Postby Tom_H » Tue May 06, 2014 9:19 am

I'm going to send you a PM. I am very familiar with the place you want to go. I have some secret swimming holes and camping locations that almost no one knows about. I have about a dozen possible routes of the length you want in this area already mapped out in my inventory on CalTopo. I can send you links to the maps and we can discuss them. Some are point to point, some loops, some are in and out with swimming, day hikes, etc. The in and out we can do in your time frame. Most loop and point to points would require longer days of hiking or one or two days more than 5. There are loops less 5 days, but they tend to be at lower elevation, not in scenic granite that you want.

Questions:

Where do you live? Never mind. I see-Fairfax.

Are any of the vehicles high clearance 4WD?

REI is good. I will have to check Sonoma Outfitters and see what they offer. I actually have close to a dozen sleeping bags and backpacks myself. Some are new and light, some old and heavy. I will PM you tonight.
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